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Thread: Touring Bike Swap or Rental?

  1. #1
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    Question Touring Bike Swap or Rental?

    Greetings all,

    My boyfriend and I are preparing to ride to Pittsburgh this fall, and I was curious as to whether anyone had any recommendations for a place where I could rent a touring bike and kit (i.e. panniers). I love my bike (I have a Specialized road bike), but it's just not built for this sort of undertaking. Alternatively, would anyone who owns a touring bike be interested in doing a week-long bike swap? In terms of frame size, I'm a 5'7" female, but I don't necessarily need a perfect fit, I just need some wheels.

    Thanks!

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    Sounds like you’re off for a C&O and GAP adventure. Bike and Roll has bikes that have a rack on them already but looking at the daily rental cost it might make more sense to just buy something off of Craigslist.

    If you’re taking the C&O, please be aware that there is a major washout south of Brunswick and the trail is impassable unless you want to carry your bike in waist deep water. Steve O and Emm took a road detour around it a few weeks ago, but Emm was not a fan of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    Sounds like you’re off for a C&O and GAP adventure. Bike and Roll has bikes that have a rack on them already but looking at the daily rental cost it might make more sense to just buy something off of Craigslist.

    If you’re taking the C&O, please be aware that there is a major washout south of Brunswick and the trail is impassable unless you want to carry your bike in waist deep water. Steve O and Emm took a road detour around it a few weeks ago, but Emm was not a fan of it.
    My girlfriend and I rode the GAP and C&O down from Pittsburgh 8/28-9/1. We heard a lot of comments and recommendations from other riders about the washout near Brunswick (including this video someone posted https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhDNlqPGyuk - his suggestion for an easier crossing starts around 2:39). Based on that feedback, we decided to try crossing the creek. I'd definitely assess the water levels before doing it again, but the day we crossed it was pretty manageable (see photo).

    We went down the creek away from the collapsed section of trail because the very muddy banks were less steep and the water was not as deep downstream. Since we were camping, I packed a pair of Keens and carried all the gear and both bikes across by just walking through the water. It seemed easier than trying to balance on rocks. Even though it had rained the night before, the water was about ankle deep. I crossed back and forth 4 times (2 sets of bike bags & tent, 2 bikes) in about 15 minutes.

    Maybe the water gets a lot deeper some days, even downstream, so definitely be careful.

    The C&O website (https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/conditions.htm) also lists two companies (one in Shepardstown, WV and one at the campground near the washout in Brunswick) you can pay to shuttle you and your bikes around the closure.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    If you’re taking the C&O, please be aware that there is a major washout south of Brunswick and the trail is impassable unless you want to carry your bike in waist deep water. Steve O and Emm took a road detour around it a few weeks ago, but Emm was not a fan of it.
    The day we went people said the washout was waist high in water (the people we met were pretty soaked from going through it), and it took 40-50 minutes to ferry your stuff across the water, go back, and then get your bike across. So we took the road route. I strongly recommend finding some people on the path and asking how the washout is. If it's only as deep as dbehrend's experience, it's probably worth walking your bike and gear through it.

    The road route was a pain, BUT I think part of my dislike of it was it was uphill, 90 degrees out, and during the start of rush hour. Cars were really nasty to us on it--honking, passing really close, and otherwise just being total jerks. If you hit it earlier in the day, I don't think it will be so bad. There was a quiet gravel section on the road route that was AWESOME though, so it had some good and really fun parts I'm happy to share the route if you want to see what we did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emm View Post
    The road route was a pain, BUT I think part of my dislike of it was it was uphill, 90 degrees out, and during the start of rush hour. Cars were really nasty to us on it--honking, passing really close, and otherwise just being total jerks.
    You know it's going to be bad if NPS calls it unsafe for bikes/peds and recommends finding an uber or whatever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emm View Post
    The day we went people said the washout was waist high in water (the people we met were pretty soaked from going through it), and it took 40-50 minutes to ferry your stuff across the water, go back, and then get your bike across. So we took the road route. I strongly recommend finding some people on the path and asking how the washout is. If it's only as deep as dbehrend's experience, it's probably worth walking your bike and gear through it.

    The road route was a pain, BUT I think part of my dislike of it was it was uphill, 90 degrees out, and during the start of rush hour. Cars were really nasty to us on it--honking, passing really close, and otherwise just being total jerks. If you hit it earlier in the day, I don't think it will be so bad. There was a quiet gravel section on the road route that was AWESOME though, so it had some good and really fun parts I'm happy to share the route if you want to see what we did.
    I would recommend checking it out for yourself. We heard so many different experiences and recommendations. The washout is not too far past the sign for the closure.

    The same day we crossed the creek, we met another couple that described wading through waist deep water the day before. In the video I linked, you can actually see the water directly under the washed out trail is about waist deep, but when the guy walks downstream it's pretty shallow.

    The staff at the bike shop in Brunswick, Three Point Cycles, warned us that the traffic on the road route was often hostile and aggressive toward cyclists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbehrend View Post
    I would recommend checking it out for yourself. We heard so many different experiences and recommendations. The washout is not too far past the sign for the closure.
    If you plan to hire one of the shuttles, you should probably contact them to figure out where it is easiest for them to pick you up before you get to the closure. We ran into a couple from Arizona that decided to take the shuttle after arriving in Brunswick. I think they were going to have to wait about 90 minutes for the shuttle to meet them in downtown Brunswick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbehrend View Post
    If you plan to hire one of the shuttles, you should probably contact them to figure out where it is easiest for them to pick you up before you get to the closure. We ran into a couple from Arizona that decided to take the shuttle after arriving in Brunswick. I think they were going to have to wait about 90 minutes for the shuttle to meet them in downtown Brunswick.
    This sounds like a good opportunity to spend 90 minutes at Beans in the Belfry, which I highly recommend visiting in Brunswick. Yummy food, cool building, outdoor seating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    This sounds like a good opportunity to spend 90 minutes at Beans in the Belfry, which I highly recommend visiting in Brunswick. Yummy food, cool building, outdoor seating.
    Definitely! Beans in the Belfry is fantastic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emm View Post
    The day we went people said the washout was waist high in water (the people we met were pretty soaked from going through it), and it took 40-50 minutes to ferry your stuff across the water, go back, and then get your bike across. So we took the road route. I strongly recommend finding some people on the path and asking how the washout is. If it's only as deep as dbehrend's experience, it's probably worth walking your bike and gear through it.

    The road route was a pain, BUT I think part of my dislike of it was it was uphill, 90 degrees out, and during the start of rush hour. Cars were really nasty to us on it--honking, passing really close, and otherwise just being total jerks. If you hit it earlier in the day, I don't think it will be so bad. There was a quiet gravel section on the road route that was AWESOME though, so it had some good and really fun parts I'm happy to share the route if you want to see what we did.
    Thanks for the intel, Emm. I'd definitely be interested in seeing the alternative route, just so we have a Plan B if needed. More pressing, however, is the fact that I have yet to figure out my bike situation. Grateful for any suggestions on that front as well!

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