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  1. #1
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    First Tour This year?

    Considering going on my first tour this year. Nothing long and nothing far and will have to motel it since I have a CPAP.

    I know there are a few tourists (not sure thats the right name) people here so suggestions on where to go are more then welcome.

    I know NOTHING AT ALL about touring. But as I am reading "Over the Hills" I am dying to try a short tour.

  2. #2
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    Look at the C&O Canal Towpath and the Greater Allegheny Passage, which combine to connect DC to Pittsburgh. Combined they give you about 500 miles with no automobile traffic. The towpath is dirt and will be muddy a few days after a rain. The GAP is crushed limestone, so pretty decent. Quite a few people on BF have ridden this; you'll find a variety of advice regarding appropriate bike/tires.

    This website has nice info on the towpath, including lodging: http://bikewashington.org/canal
    This has to be a tie between re-frozen slushy uneven dirty ice stuff just right of the nicely plowed pavement, and super-glassy ice with a dusting of fresh powder - SalshShark

  3. #3
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    on the GAP, have you ridden it? Is the limestone bumpy?

  4. #4
    Bulky Bullet Sayre Kulp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    on the GAP, have you ridden it? Is the limestone bumpy?
    The GAP is pretty easy peasy. The limestone is pretty fine, fairly smooth, and drains pretty well. The C&O is a whole other story.
    "Obstacles don't like me very much. I make them look bad."

  5. #5
    invisible friend seenoweevil's Avatar
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    chef - there's a group going down the GAP starting June 1. PeterC is one of the initiators I believe, and I'm working on the details of dragging my self up for the trip as well. Most of the guys are riding trikes and pulling trailers, so it's definitely a "slow down and smell the roses" trip, not for the hammerheads at heart. The invitation was open, so I don't think anyone would mind me extending an invitation your way!

    OOPS! Here's a link to the bent riders forum discussing the ride:http://www.bentrideronline.com/messa...ad.php?t=79486
    Last edited by seenoweevil; 02-26-12 at 02:34 AM. Reason: add link
    Faster than a sundial.

  6. #6
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    I kinda looked at the Florida trip to the Withlacooche Trail to be "touring" I got a motel room 100' from the trail and did several 20 ish mile rides a day. Not an epic journey but I'm easily entertained. I liked doing this as I had a confortable base, no support problems and didn't have to ride a preplanned distance.

  7. #7
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by seenoweevil View Post
    chef - there's a group going down the GAP starting June 1. PeterC is one of the initiators I believe, and I'm working on the details of dragging my self up for the trip as well. Most of the guys are riding trikes and pulling trailers, so it's definitely a "slow down and smell the roses" trip, not for the hammerheads at heart. The invitation was open, so I don't think anyone would mind me extending an invitation your way!

    OOPS! Here's a link to the bent riders forum discussing the ride:http://www.bentrideronline.com/messa...ad.php?t=79486
    I think Iron Chef would fit in. They need someone to cook anyway.

  8. #8
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    Have someone drop you off in Philly or take Patco. Ride to New Hope, PA on a Friday. There is a Best Western on U.S. 202 up the hill from the center of town. Saturday, ride into town, cross the bridge into NJ and ride up the trail along the river to Frenchtown/Milford and back. There is also a trail on the PA side, but it's in bad shape in places. Ride home Sunday. Don't know what you consider long. Philly to New Hope is maybe 50 or so miles IIRC. Bikely deleted all my routes when they "improved" the site.

  9. #9
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    on the GAP, have you ridden it? Is the limestone bumpy?
    The GAP's surface is like that of the trail you rode with Sayre in July:





    Iron Chef on the Schuylkill River Trail north of Hamburg, Sayre Kulp on the GAP south of Confluence.

  10. #10
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    As stated earlier in the thread, I am doing my first tour this year, and a group is doing the GAP from Homestead to Cumberland (I am doing the round-trip). The group is planning to take about 3.5 days to do one-way, and I'm thinking 4 days or so to do the return leg. While most of us will be on trikes (with trailers), all are welcome to join. It will be a smell-the-flowers kind of ride.

    While we are planning to camp (I use a BI-PAP, and am going to do without, but will be bringing it in case we get power somewhere), you could easily motel it and just ride with us as you like (might be more comfortable to do your first 'tour' with others around?). For example, I will probably be cruising around 5-7mph at a guess.
    Peter_C
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  11. #11
    Neil_B
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    Another look at the trail surface:






  12. #12
    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
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    The GAP and the C&O are a great ride, it's nice to ride for days without having to deal with cars. The C&O can get a little bumpy but it's no biggie...I did it solo in 2010 with 26x1.6 tires. There are lots of great low price and or free camping spots along the way. I highly recommend Husky Haven and also suggest buying this book if you are considering http://www.atatrail.org/store/prodde...1&CategoryID=3

    I am also doing it with a small group starting in Pitt the Fri. before Memorial Day. So far two solid riders and a 3 more on the fence, open invitation here also.

  13. #13
    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    Another look at the trail surface:





    Your pics are making me want to hit the GAP Neil.

    Here is a slideshow from my 2010 trip.I didn't have the best or lightest equipment but had a great time.

  14. #14
    Neil_B
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    Maryland Eastern shore. Flat, scenic, and mostly bikeable. And the crab is great!


  15. #15
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by iforgotmename View Post
    Your pics are making me want to hit the GAP Neil.
    How do you think I feel? I haven't been on it since 2010. And I'll be out of commission much of 2012. :-(

  16. #16
    Neil_B
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    The Pine Creek Gorge Rail Trail in PA. Park in one of the trailhead lots, ride up to Wellsboro Junction, ride the few miles into Wellsboro, spend the night at a motel or B & B, ride back to the car. The trail runs 64 miles from Wellsboro Junction in the north to Jersey Shore in the south. The trail follows Pine Creek, allegedly the largest "creek" in the US, and passes 17 miles through Pine Creek Gorge, which is nicknamed "Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon."









    Then when you are done riding, drive to one of the overlooks at the edge of the canyon. Here's a photo with some guy I met up there.... I can't remember his name. If you look closely at the creek you can see the trail next to it.


  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Your place to the shore. 75 miles or so one way.

  18. #18
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    Neil: Would love to talk with you more about some options. I think I would like to try my first one solo so I do not slow down the group or anything so perhaps the GAP or???? I dont know. I am very clueless when it comes to this.

  19. #19
    Neil_B
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    Lehigh Valley Rail Trail. Park at White Haven, ride the 26 miles down to Jim Thorpe, stay at a motel or B & B, ride back. Spend the morning of the return day walking around Jim Thorpe, a beautiful little town on the mountainside. When you get back to the truck, drive to nearby Hickory Run State Park and see Boulder Field.



    Are you ready to ROCK!?! Boulder Field.....


  20. #20
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    Neil: Would love to talk with you more about some options. I think I would like to try my first one solo so I do not slow down the group or anything so perhaps the GAP or???? I dont know. I am very clueless when it comes to this.
    Touring isn't like the sort of riding you do, Iron Chef. The fact you are concerned about "slowing down the group" shows you have to change your thinking a bit. Touring isn't about the destination, but the journey. If you think it's about going as fast as you can from point A to Point B, or C, or Z, you won't like it.

    I suggest you do an overnight first, to see if you like touring by bike, and so you get a handle on packing and become used to carrying extra weight. Solo or with others is your call. My first tour was an overnight from Neilfein's home to Red Bank, NJ, and back. 90 miles round trip. It was an adventure if only because we hadn't done something like it before.

    Make your trip an adventure too. Pick a place a day's ride away, ride there, stay, ride home. Make your night stop a motel, hotel, B & B, or a friend's house. Keep the distance shorter so you can spend time at your destination and in case you have a problem.

  21. #21
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    Thanks Neil. I know I need to make a mind shift and I would like to work on that. It will take some time for me to do that but touring, after reading Over the Hills, is something I would love to try. Basically because it doesnt have to be about getting on a plane and taking a vacation. It can be just what you said, about the journey. I am trying not to get wrapped up on the speed or distance and I will continue to work on that.

  22. #22
    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
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    The group I am going with will do the GAPCO in about a week...definitely smelling the roses.

  23. #23
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    Neil: Would love to talk with you more about some options. I think I would like to try my first one solo so I do not slow down the group or anything so perhaps the GAP or???? I dont know. I am very clueless when it comes to this.
    I hear you about solo. But honestly, it would be more likely that *I* would slow you down Sir. My suggestion (if timing works for you) is simply to do yours at the same time as I am - that way you can split off or ride with us as you like. Just an idea - as a real city boy, I am more comfortable not being 'really alone' on my first try. But no worries either way, but I do think the GAP is a great first tour - either one way, or round-trip.
    Peter_C
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/ <-- My Photos

  24. #24
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    peter: are you starting in Pitt?

  25. #25
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
    I hear you about solo. But honestly, it would be more likely that *I* would slow you down Sir. My suggestion (if timing works for you) is simply to do yours at the same time as I am - that way you can split off or ride with us as you like. Just an idea - as a real city boy, I am more comfortable not being 'really alone' on my first try. But no worries either way, but I do think the GAP is a great first tour - either one way, or round-trip.
    I suggest an overnight somewhere, and especially if you are camping. Having gear you can trust, and knowing what to do, is a big plus. For instance, it took Neilfein and I three hours to break camp on our first camping trip. I was down to 30 minutes or less on the GAP.

    As for 'city folk' like you and the Iron Chef, stretches of the GAP will blow your mind. On the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath, most of the time you are near Ohio's largest cities - Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and their suburbs. The 21 miles between Confluence and Rockwood is without cell phone service, water, food, and runs through heavily forested areas. The 28 miles between Connellsville and Confluence passes through a forested state park. Some of the places marked on the GAP maps are road crossings, and that's it - Deal, for instance. The selling point of the GAP is Nature; if you aren't into it, this ride isn't for you.

    Iron Chef, recall the trail ride we did with Sayre Kulp in July of last year? That was twelve miles long. Well, the GAP is that ride multiplied by 11.

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