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View Full Version : Allegheny Passage - contemplating straight through ride from Pittsburgh to DC



Bilsko
05-18-2013, 06:39 PM
Now that the route to Pittsburgh is essentially complete (http://www.thegreatalleghenypassage.com/), it goes on my list of rides to do.

If I can find a weekend later this summer or, more likely, in the early Fall - I'd like to do the ride either as a straight through 24-30 hour ride, or split up as a pair of 165-milers. Trail riding, especially on the C&O, will bring average speed way down, but I think with minimal stops, 30 hours is a reasonable target. Heck, some PBP riders pull off 750 miles in 55-60 hours.

I think the ideal plan would be to sort out how to get the bike on the Amtrak train up to Pittsburgh. Get in around 11PM/midnight, find a place to stay, then start the ride early the next morning.

Riding out to Pittsburgh would also be an option but I'd rather deal with travel logistics before the ride than after.

Dirt
05-18-2013, 06:43 PM
I was thinking of doing out and back in 5 days... the last day being Cumberland to DC. There's a group of locals doing the C&O in its entirety from Cumberland to DC on June 22. I was going to ride with light camping gear and eat in restaurants when I could.

I'm flexible.

TwoWheelsDC
05-18-2013, 06:44 PM
Now that the route to Pittsburgh is essentially complete (http://www.thegreatalleghenypassage.com/), it goes on my list of rides to do.

If I can find a weekend later this summer or, more likely, in the early Fall - I'd like to do the ride either as a straight through 24-30 hour ride, or split up as a pair of 165-milers. Trail riding, especially on the C&O, will bring average speed way down, but I think with minimal stops, 30 hours is a reasonable target. Heck, some PBP riders pull off 750 miles in 55-60 hours.

I think the ideal plan would be to sort out how to get the bike on the Amtrak train up to Pittsburgh. Get in around 11PM/midnight, find a place to stay, then start the ride early the next morning.

Riding out to Pittsburgh would also be an option but I'd rather deal with travel logistics before the ride than after.

I'd like to do it over a long weekend, but your plan sounds insane! What about renting a car one-way? Probably cheaper than Amtrak and easier to deal with the bike. Amtrak requires you to box it, I think.

Greenbelt
05-18-2013, 06:58 PM
I'd like to suggest a weekend tradeoff/car shuffle approach.

1. One group starts in DC on weekend #1 and rides toward Pittsburgh at a leisurely pace during week #1
2. Another group drives to Pittsburgh on weekend #2
3. Group 1 drives back to DC in Group 2's cars on weekend #2
4. Group 2 rides back to DC during week #2

What could possibly go wrong?

Tim Kelley
05-18-2013, 07:11 PM
Total300. I'm in!

Dirt
05-18-2013, 07:23 PM
Total300. I'm in!
Coolness. I'll cut my trip from 5 days to 3 and We'll rock it. 640 miles in 3 days? What could possibly go wrong?

What gear should I select? 44x18 has worked well so far.

eminva
05-18-2013, 07:45 PM
Wow, I don't know what to say . . . I am awed by your excellence in ambition and overachievement!

My husband, kid and I will be the ones you see floating down the Yough, if you happen to look up, in our free time on our one or two week tour. :cool:

Liz

rpiretti
05-18-2013, 09:08 PM
I'm up for it, I'll be paying attn to the thread. I'm doing a C&O run next weekend, the wife is taking a trip down south. Saturday to Antietam from Vienna and staying overnight in Harpers Ferry and then back on Sunday. Should be a good warmup and a good way to get experience on this trail before attempting the whole thing.

Not against anyone joining me next wknd so if you want to join let me know but may want to let the Tea Horse Hostel know to secure a bed, they're running out of room, popular Memorial Weekend!

jopamora
05-18-2013, 09:11 PM
Where do I sign up?

creadinger
05-19-2013, 07:15 AM
I'm interested! I've been meaning to do this trip.

hozn
05-19-2013, 11:33 AM
I was thinking of doing out and back in 5 days... the last day being Cumberland to DC. There's a group of locals doing the C&O in its entirety from Cumberland to DC on June 22. I was going to ride with light camping gear and eat in restaurants when I could.

I'm flexible.

The idea of a non-stop Cumberland to DC sounds like a lot of fun. I was gunned up to do this last year, but one of the group was unable to make it so we did a milder Murderer's Row instead. Maybe I will take a pulse on organizing that for later in the summer (June 22 won't work for me this year).

Tim Kelley
05-20-2013, 08:38 AM
Does someone have a RideWithGPS or Strava file of the whole thing handy?

creadinger
05-20-2013, 01:19 PM
Here's a RWGPS link I found: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1085007

Being all rail-trail and canal it's pretty flat.

Tim Kelley
05-20-2013, 01:44 PM
Interesting. And what is the surface like farther out from DC? I'm familiar with the packed dirt/gravel closer in to DC. Is it like that the whole way?

Since I'm without a CX bike, is this a carbon road bike with thicker tires on it kinda of ride? Or more of a 29er with slick tires and clip on aerobars kind of ride?

At 15 mph average that's about 22 hours of moving time. Who are we getting to sag us for that long?

Do you start first thing in the morning so that you're riding in the middle of the night when you are most tired, or do you wait until after your afternoon nap to ride in the evening when you are fresh?

jopamora
05-20-2013, 01:51 PM
Interesting. And what is the surface like farther out from DC? I'm familiar with the packed dirt/gravel closer in to DC. Is it like that the whole way?

Since I'm without a CX bike, is this a carbon road bike with thicker tires on it kinda of ride? Or more of a 29er with slick tires and clip on aerobars kind of ride?

At 15 mph average that's about 22 hours of moving time. Who are we getting to sag us for that long?

Do you start first thing in the morning so that you're riding in the middle of the night when you are most tired, or do you wait until after your afternoon nap to ride in the evening when you are fresh?

It is a Bullitt kinda ride. Take turns napping in the box.

creadinger
05-20-2013, 01:59 PM
Interesting. And what is the surface like farther out from DC? I'm familiar with the packed dirt/gravel closer in to DC. Is it like that the whole way? Since I'm without a CX bike, is this a carbon road bike with thicker tires on it kinda of ride? Or more of a 29er with slick tires and clip on aerobars kind of ride?

The C&O condition varies somewhat along the length of it. I haven't been out west of Harper's Ferry in a while, but there was a significant amount of gravelly dirt double track. There's also ~12 miles of lovely pavement near Hancock, MD. I think the rail-trail is a bit like the NCR/YCHT trails between Baltimore and York, PA. It's more finely crushed gravel than the close to DC parts of the C&O so it's a little smoother, but I could be wrong. Due to more users, I thought the condition closer in was worse than the lesser used areas. After rain, there can be large, muddy puddles on the towpath too.

If I was to ride it now, I'd put 35mm tires on my touring bike. 330 miles of gravel sounds like a job for a 29er with slick tires to me.

culimerc
05-21-2013, 08:33 AM
Interesting. And what is the surface like farther out from DC? I'm familiar with the packed dirt/gravel closer in to DC. Is it like that the whole way?

Since I'm without a CX bike, is this a carbon road bike with thicker tires on it kinda of ride? Or more of a 29er with slick tires and clip on aerobars kind of ride?

At 15 mph average that's about 22 hours of moving time. Who are we getting to sag us for that long?

Do you start first thing in the morning so that you're riding in the middle of the night when you are most tired, or do you wait until after your afternoon nap to ride in the evening when you are fresh?

If your just doing the C&O from Cumberland its "only" 184 miles. 12.5 hours of moving time @ 15mph. That is definitely doable. Start at 4 or 5 am, you'd be done before 8 even with stops.

hozn
05-21-2013, 11:08 AM
If your just doing the C&O from Cumberland its "only" 184 miles. 12.5 hours of moving time @ 15mph. That is definitely doable. Start at 4 or 5 am, you'd be done before 8 even with stops.

Yeah, I was contemplating only a single direction. (Would have to find someone willing to drive up and drop off, of course ...) I think the 15mph average may be a little more aggressive than it sounds, but that is the same sort of logic I brought to the equation. As creadinger notes, I've heard that the mud can be pretty intense, which may mean just not doing it if it had rained recently or budgeting more time.

I was gonna ride it with 32-35mm cx tires. My buddy was gonna ride it on a single-speed 29er (with 1.8" tires and gearing that allowed for comfortable spinning at 18mph).

This may not end up being the year for me (baby!) but I definitely want to do this. This seems like a great cycling milestone.

rpiretti
06-14-2013, 08:34 PM
Just to contribute to the conversation - a few weeks ago I did a C&O trip up to Harpers Ferry. Look HERE (http://velohaven.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/tour1-co-ride/), I did a full report of the surfaces, conditions, even some videos. There's a link to my FLICKR stream too on my blog. Had tons of fun.

If you average 15mph for that long of a period of time, that is quite good. But, I found dodging depressions and rocks took a lot of attn away from focusing on speed. But, I wasn't there to focus on speed in the first place.

Bilsko
06-14-2013, 09:00 PM
Quick comment to remind myself to pick up this thread again. Won't be able to do this over weekday as I originally planned, but weekend trip may be in order for July, or August.
Nor sure about timing - originally thought early AM departure from Pittsburgh (because train from DC would get in at about 11PM night before) but afternoon departure might make more sense...

Dirt
06-15-2013, 07:17 AM
Quick comment to remind myself to pick up this thread again. Won't be able to do this over weekday as I originally planned, but weekend trip may be in order for July, or August.
Nor sure about timing - originally thought early AM departure from Pittsburgh (because train from DC would get in at about 11PM night before) but afternoon departure might make more sense...
Arrive Friday evening and leave Saturday afternoon?

One-way car rental might also be a possibility.