(To return to the map, click here.)
You are out for a short bike ride on the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Trail, or maybe a long one, or maybe even an overnight adventure, and all of a sudden you realize that there’s something you need: your stomach is telling you it’s lunchtime, your bike is developing a problem that you can’t fix with the tools you brought. You’ll need to leave the trail and go into the wider world to solve your problem, but just where should you go? This map shows establishments that might be welcome, and accessible, to bicycle tourists traveling along the D&L.
Using the Map
The map page is split into two parts, the map itself on the left and a list of trail access points on the right. When it’s first opened, if the map can determine your location it will zoom there and mark it with a green pin, otherwise it will zoom to the Sand Island trailhead in Bethlehem. The map can be panned by dragging the mouse pointer, and zoomed with the scroll wheel or by pressing the plus/minus buttons at the top left.
Hovering over a trail access point (the red stars), or amenity (any of the other icons on the map) will show the name and some information about that item, while clicking on it will cause the list (on the right) to expand to show more information about that item.
You can scroll through the list of access points, and clicking a trailhead’s “Show” button will cause the map to zoom to and temporarily highlight that trailhead; the list entry will also expand to show the amenities associated with that trailhead. Clicking any amenity’s “Zoom To” button will cause the map to zoom to and temporarily highlight that amenity.
What are “Amenities?”
“Amenity” is used here to mean “something available and useful for cyclists,” usually food or drink or access to a bathroom, or possibly overnight lodging. Amenities on the map are the places or establishments where you can find these useful things, grouped into four categories:
- Food/Drink – places where a cyclist might get something to eat or drink, from convenience stores and supermarkets on up through pubs and fancy restaurants. Gas stations are also included, since many have attached mini-marts (as well as restrooms). Food/drink amenities are represented by yellow circles on the map.
- Lodging — campsites, hotels and motels, bed & breakfast places. Lodging establishments are represented by blue squares on the map.
- Outfitters — bike stores, sporting goods and camping equipment stores, places where you might be able to get a new tube or other spare parts. Outfitters are represented by orange diamonds on the map.
- Services – trailside facilities, like bathrooms and water fountains, and the occasional public bike repair stand. Beware: the bathrooms and water fountains are usually only seasonally available. Services are represented by white triangles on the map.
Establishments form a sort of hierarchy, and are usually only listed by their most important, most inclusive amenity: restaurants almost always have restrooms, and hotels often have dining facilities (and bathrooms) — though some hotel restaurants are listed separately if it seemed like a good idea.
Caveat: I have seen the outside, at least, of all the establishments on the map, but cannot verify the quality or characteristics of every one; much of the information shown is gleaned from their websites or what they look like from the outside. Also, and this is especially true in this COVID era, places may not be open for business, or even in business anymore. (On the other hand, new establishments may have opened since I last checked an area.) I try to keep up, but I guarantee nothing.
What is “Accessible?”
Accessible basically means “reachable,” reasonably easy to get to from the trail. What counts as “accessible” can differ from person to person, but on the map an amenity is considered accessible if it’s within a half mile of a trail access point. (This distance is not measured “as the crow flies,” but along the roads and paths a cyclist would be able to use, like residential streets or sidewalks.)
For lodging and outfitters, the distance (to be considered accessible) is increased to a full mile, since people might be willing to travel a little further to get to one.
Finally, an amenity is also considered accessible if it’s a member of a group of amenities near to each other, where at least one amenity in the group is within a half mile of the access point. This basically allows business districts that straddle the half-mile limit to show up on the map.
I any case, there are no amenities shown that are more than a mile from a trail access point.
What are “Access Points?”
Access points are the places where the trail intersects some part of the wider world’s road network. These include official trailheads, but access points can also be road intersections, side trails, pedestrian bridges, or basically anywhere one can conveniently get on or off the trail without trespassing.
There are literally hundreds of access points, official and unofficial, but this map only shows the ones that can be used to get to the given accessible amenities. Access points are represented as red stars on the map. Hovering over an access point will give information about that access point, including parking available for trail users.
Legal (and Acknowledgements)
Hopefully the information shown on this map is helpful, but I make no guarantees that the information is useful or is accurate.
The base (background) map is the Landscape map from Thunderforest, the map is copyrighted by Thunderforest and is shared under the Creative Commons “Attribution-ShareAlike” license. The base map is based on data copyrighted by Openstreetmap users, made available under the Open Database License. The access/amenity data, compiled and processed by me into its current form, is copyrighted (© 2018-2021 Don Kelly), and is likewise made available under the CC “Attribution-ShareAlike” license.
The preparation of this map made heavy use of Openstreetmap: many amenities were originally found by consulting the OSM database, and the roads for the network analysis came from there as well. The network analysis (that is, “how far by road, from trailhead to amenity?”) was done using QGIS, the results were further processed using PostgreSQL with PostGIS, and the final map built using the Leaflet web-mapping library. Many thanks to all these open-source projects: they made this map possible, and brought me many hours of geeky fun.