Because I thought I could
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Wash DC Metro
Bikes: November, Trek OCLV, Bianchi Castro Valley commuter
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Problempoker - I've done the C&O towpath twice with scout groups; either bike will work, although the MTB may be slightly more comfortable, esp. if it rains and the towpath gets muddy. My 1st full-length ride was on a hardtail MTB with a rigid fork. The second time I rode it on a Jamis Coda (flat bar 700c wheels) but used 38mm tires. Can you find some packed dirt/gravel roads and see how the bike feels on the 32s?
Also, remember you'll need to carry the bike up a circular staircase onto the pedestrian path on the rr bridge at Harpers Ferry to get across the river and into town.
jo, after several days on the towpath, everyone's hands felt beat up. I started using my handlebar bag as erzatz aerobars just to give my wrists a break. The W&OD/C&O combo is a fun ride and I did something like that last year. I took the W&OD to Leesburg, briefly up 15 to White's Ferry, and then up the towpath to Point of Rocks where I met a friend and his scout group. We rode to G'town (even found the elusive mile marker zero) and I bummed a ride with them back into NoVA. I used the Jamis for this. I think there's a version of that ride at bikewashington.org. They also have a ride that goes thru the Antietam battlefield a few miles upriver from Harpers Ferry. Another fun ride.
Do you guys know about the COTowpath group on Yahoo groups
? Lot's of good info there about towpath conditions, equipment recommendations, lodging, etc.