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CMtrekker
05-03-2011, 12:41 PM
Hi everybody,

I just made a significant investment in a new bike and feel obliged to put it to major use. I think the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) fits the bill. This is a continuous, paved path which goes from the Pittsburgh area to Cumberland, Maryland (about 150 miles). From Cumberland you connect directly into the C&O Canal Towpath which goes another 185 miles into Washington, DC. (Most, if not all this route, is car free!)

I'd like to bike all of GAP and a substantial part of C&O, if not the whole way back to DC. I thought it might be cool to share this adventure with someone or a small group of someones. This will take about a week to do and I suppose we'd be averaging about 50-75 miles per day.

I don't consider myself a "high octane" cyclist and usually ride at a somewhat casual pace (though of course long distance rides do require a certain amount dedication, fitness and maintaining some minimal speed). There's also the challenge of figuring out how to get you and your bike to Pittsburgh.

Anybody interested? Let me know and we can talk about potential logistical and planning details.

Chris
cmx113@yahoo.com

Dirt
05-03-2011, 12:46 PM
Hey Chris. Great idea. I've been trying to fit this into my summers for the last 3 years. I haven't been able to yet. This year doesn't look good either. We'll see.

Best wishes,

Pete

CMtrekker
05-03-2011, 12:59 PM
Hi Pete,
Looks like at this rate you may not ever squeeze this ride into your summer schedule. Maybe we'll develop enough interest in this ride to inspire some creative scheduling on your part. :-)
At any rate, thanks for the encouragement!

Cheers,
Chris

Dirt
05-03-2011, 02:47 PM
I do have some consolation. I'll be riding in Colorado, the Sierra Nevadas, Costa Rica, France and New Jersey this year.

Sorry. I had to say that. ;)

I might try and wedge in a 3-day sprint from Pittsburgh to DC over a long weekend this summer. We'll see. It's all downhill, right??? ;)

CMtrekker
05-03-2011, 04:41 PM
Wow! All I can say is ... nevermind. haha Sounds like an incredible itinerary. I've actually never cycled overseas before, which is precisely why I bought a new bike which I can disassemble and fit into a suitcase. I can't wait to get out to Europe at some point, but in the meantime I'm ready to put some serious mileage behind me in the states. I visit Central America quite a bit. I'd love to hear about the biking in Costa Rica (hopefully a lot better than some of the roads are for cars).

CCrew
05-04-2011, 05:30 AM
I'll be running it week of the 16th (May). Starting in Pittsburgh and running it south.

Oh, and Dirt... the 60 miles from Ohiopyle to Big Savage is this annoying, constant 1-1.5% uphill grade the whole fricking way....Far from all downhill!

The 22 miles of downhill into Cumberland almost makes up for it however...

Dirt
05-04-2011, 08:45 AM
Oh, and Dirt... the 60 miles from Ohiopyle to Big Savage is this annoying, constant 1-1.5% uphill grade the whole fricking way....Far from all downhill!
I love/hate that section. :D

@CMtrekker: Costa Rica will be fun. I have friends that live in the La Fortuna/Arenal area and the mountain biking there is pretty dang good. Road riding is pretty risky most places in Costa Rica. I'm taking the mountain bike this year. I'll explore the possibilities of riding a road bike there while I'm tooling around on this trip.

JimF22003
05-04-2011, 12:26 PM
Also I understand the GAP is not "paved" either. It's supposed be crushed limestone. It's a better surface than the C&O, but still not paved.

I rode about 50 miles of the C&O from the Cumberland end south last summer on a cross bike with 700/35 tires, and was still pretty beaten up.

CCrew
05-05-2011, 04:33 AM
. It's supposed be crushed limestone. It's a better surface than the C&O, but still not paved.
.

Oh, it's in much better shape than the C&O. "Beat up" would not an issue on the GAP, although I'd still stay away from narrow road tires just for the comfort factor. I intend to run it on my Salsa Vaya with 38's and pulling a BOB trailer. Have run it on my Cross bike with 32's on it and was about like riding on the road.

JimF22003
05-05-2011, 06:04 AM
Sweet! There's a century out of Cumberland in August that I did last year. I took the day off the day before to ride down to the Paw Paw tunnel on the cross bike the day before. If I do it again this year, I'm definitely heading up the GAP.

CCrew
05-06-2011, 01:16 PM
Sweet! There's a century out of Cumberland in August that I did last year. I took the day off the day before to ride down to the Paw Paw tunnel on the cross bike the day before. If I do it again this year, I'm definitely heading up the GAP.


You''ll enjoy it. the 22 mi grind up and out of Cumberland gets a bit tedious, but hitting the Big Savage tunnel and the Continental divide make it worth it. Go a bit further north toward Meyersdale and the windmill farms area and the viaducts are cool too.

Coming back that 22mi downhill is nothing short of sweet! :)

CCrew
05-31-2011, 04:34 AM
We rode 65mi on the C&O Saturday... All I can say is that it was a soul sucking mudhole almost the entire way :(

paytonc
09-19-2011, 12:07 AM
This ride has definitely been on my to-do list for several years now. I had planned it as a five-day trip headed down, with 56-90 miles a day, but that was before I actually rode on any of the C&O... might end up taking it slower than that.
1. to Connellsville, 70 mi.
2. Rockwood (stop at Fallingwater en route), 56 mi.
3. Paw Paw, 85 mi.
4. Harpers Ferry, 90 mi.
5. DC, 63 mi.
I've done three day bike tours before, but nothing a week long; it's impossible to plan that many days around weather and other conditions.

The easiest way to get a bike to Pittsburgh would be to check it aboard Amtrak's Capitol Limited train. It's $10, plus $10 for a very generously sized box, and it's a lovely ride up there. Supposedly, this will get even easier in 2012 when roll-on bike service is supposed to be implemented between here and Pgh. That would also allow cyclists to board the train at intermediate stations like Harper's Ferry and Cumberland. I've talked with friends from Chicago who've said that they could join the trip for at least the first half once the roll-on Amtrak accommodations are in place, since Chicago-Pittsburgh is an easy overnight Amtrak ride.

eminva
09-20-2011, 07:35 PM
Supposedly, this will get even easier in 2012 when roll-on bike service is supposed to be implemented between here and Pgh.

Ooh, this would be great news. Did Amtrak announce this? When? Where?

We are starting to research this trip for 2012. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do start planning vacations a year in advance. Doesn't everyone?

Liz

paytonc
10-12-2011, 07:05 PM
Sadly, there's a bunch of "news" from 2010 that indicates that such service would start in June 2011, but it seems to have fallen off the radar and thus might not happen by 2012. There's a reference here:
http://www.thewashcycle.com/2010/07/paternity-link-dump.html

In the distant future, Amtrak recently ordered new baggage cars that in theory could allow many more trains to accept unboxed bikes, but given that sort of track (ha) record...

paytonc
12-11-2011, 01:49 PM
Ooh, this would be great news. Did Amtrak announce this? When? Where?

The Allegheny Trail Alliance has a form letter that you can send to Amtrak to ask them what's happening:
http://www.atatrail.org/calltoaction.cfm

Until then, I'm going to see about blocking off a week in the autumn for the full Pittsburgh-DC run.

cgreenoh
12-11-2011, 02:23 PM
I really want to do this ride. It sounds like so much fun! I love Pittsburgh, so there's a double win. Though I don't really have a bike for this type of trail (the unpaved/offroad section)... how does one solve that problem... hmmm... a new bike, perhaps? :D

CCrew
12-11-2011, 02:23 PM
Yes, as a matter of fact, I do start planning vacations a year in advance. Doesn't everyone?


Late response, but no. Given job pressure and schedules I get about 1-2 weeks to plan and execute.

cgreenh, what are you riding? the GAP trail surface is pretty good (fine crushed limestone, fairly well packed), and short of a skinny tired road bike you can ride most anything on it. We ride it frequently and my first choice is usually a cross bike with 30's.

KLizotte
12-11-2011, 07:06 PM
I really want to do this ride. It sounds like so much fun! I love Pittsburgh, so there's a double win. Though I don't really have a bike for this type of trail (the unpaved/offroad section)... how does one solve that problem... hmmm... a new bike, perhaps? :D

Personally I think the C&O calls for a bike with some sort of suspension to take the edge off the vibration. After 30 miles I'm pretty tired of the bone rattling (and my bike has suspension!).

Greenbelt
04-14-2012, 05:52 PM
We were in Pittsburgh this weekend and took this trip video of a route from downtown to the trailhead in Homestead (and a little beyond). Sort of improvised a route with no traffic. Eventually, the trail will be completed through the waterpark and around the industrial areas. For now, the only real issues are finding the off-road path along the river behind the huge shopping mall area, and getting through the waterpark area. We chose to ride along the rail tracks where possible. On the way home, the back gate of the waterpark was locked, so we had to push along the tracks a little longer distance (fun when a freight train sped past). We ran into a local, who advised that it might have been better to go around the other side of the tracks along the service road... In any event, everyone we spoke with said under no circumstances take the highway -- no shoulder, high speeds, bad sight lines. So for now, the railbed is best.
http://www.strava.com/rides/46kilometers-6685826


http://youtu.be/TGMsMN4kwOg

KLizotte
04-14-2012, 08:18 PM
You are simply beyond intrepid. It's truly a wonder you don't get lost. Did you *ride* down the stairs?!