I'm also looking for recommended routes through and out of downtown Pittsburgh from the Amtrak station. The last time I rode the GAP, we just rode straight down Grant st to the Eliza Furnace trail, across the Hot Metal bridge and out the Steel Valley Trail. This time we want to take a little time to explore the downtown area a little before leaving. Our focus is still on riding the trail and not sightseeing in Pittsburgh. It has been recommended we cross the Smithfield bridge to the Southside but this would still route us down Grant St. ? I'm looking at riding from the Amtrak station down 11th street and catching the trail to Point park. Then crossing the Fort Pitt bridge from the park on the pedestrian walk over to the Duquesne Incline for a quick trip up for a scenic view of the downtown area. Then picking up the Southside trail through Station Square and along the Southside park. I think this will give us the best views of the downtown area as we leave. Any other better suggestions would be greatly appreciated. As of right now I don't have enough posts to send pm's so any correspondence will have to be through regular postings until I hit my fifty posts.
"Never waste a downhill."
Thanks for the mud report. Im doing this mid may and hope its drier!
anyone know what the fastest known Pgh -> DC or DC -> Pgh time is? I saw the tandem pair that did it in about 25 hours a year or two ago. Anyone know of someone whose done it faster?
May has finally arrived!Im looking at long range weather and all it shows is rain.Ive decided to pick a date and just go.If it rains I'll deal with it.Due to Mother's Day I'm leaving the day after.i need a day to drive a car to the Cumberland area ,rent a car and drive to Pittsburg ..So ride day is May 13.
This is my first tour.I bought Ortlieb panniers ,installed and took for a 30 mile test ride.I threw random stuff from my car inside for weight.This is really a different feel on the bike.One close call.I stood up to pedal a steep hill.I felt the bike starting to pop a wheelie because of the rear weight.C aught the bike just in time.This would have been bad being clipped in.
Make that two close calls! When I started from the state park I placed my left foot on the left pedal,threw my right leg over the panniers NOT.My right leg hit the bags and came back down.Left is clipped in ,Im going down hill in the parking lot.Trying to maneuver this wobbly load around a car in my sights.Not just any car a park ranger vehicle.I reacted with a throw the leg over again except higher.It worked.Turned away avoiding a meeting with the ranger.
I asked a couple of people to join me.Had some maybe answers but could not keep any fish on the line.Solo I go.
Are you staying indoors or camping? If the former, you don't need much gear at all. First timers tend to pack way more than they need. If you are planning to camp at Husky Haven in Rockwood I advise bringing ear plugs.
Everyone has his/her own preference, so whatever works for you is all good. I have never bothered trying to stand up on steep hills with my loaded bike. Just sit and spin, you'll get there eventually.
My method for getting on and getting rolling: Don't clip in the left foot. Stand next to the bike facing partly forward, with the right pedal all the way down. Tilt the bike toward you slightly -- makes it a little easier to throw the right leg over all the baggage. While straddling the bike and facing forward, clip your right foot into the pedal and rotate it back to near the top. In one smooth motion, stand up on the right pedal and then sit on the saddle. The push from the right foot will give you some forward momentum, which helps give you more stable steering, and then you can get your left foot clipped in.
You can't win until you're not afraid to lose.
Nice pictures,that's the same route im planning.I have a klunky camera. Too large for touring.i may purchase a small one for the trip.
You can get away with a "clunky" camera. My first tour was from Seattle to Bar Harbor, ME then south to Philadelphia thence on to Ocean City, NJ. I carried a Mamiya 645 (medium format) film camera with a metered view finder and power winder, three lenses for it and a Nikon 35mm with one lens. And, of course, 120 and 35mm film. I would mail home the exposed film and have someone mail me new film along the film.
What is the best way to get across the Potomac to get in to Alexandria, Va from the C&O ?
All the way in to DC and then take the Mt. Vernon Trail ?
Chain ferry at White's Ferry and then down from Leesburg, Va straight to Alexandria ?
Camp in Potomac, Md and cross, where ?
Thanks in advance for the input.
For the views, take Memorial Bridge across the river at the Lincoln Memorial and ride up to the entrance of Arlington Cemetery. You can pick up the Mt. Vernon trail there. To save a few minutes use the 14th Street Bridge to the Mt. Vernon Trail.
If you are just looking to get to Alexandria as quickly as possible, cross the river at Harper's Ferry, Brunswick, Point of Rocks or White's Ferry then work your way to the W&OD (Washington & Old Dominion trail) which ends in Arlington about two or three miles north of Alexandria. I ride in that area all the time but I am not sure which would be the quickest for getting to the W&OD since I am usually up there to hunt hills for climbing stats.
May your tires or beer never be flat.
Some thoughts based on a ride 3 or 4 years ago:
The PIT section wasn't done yet so I started from McKeesport. The West Mifflin Airport (Allegheny County Airport) has a drop off for Hertz if you decide to rent a car. It's a 3 or 4 mile, somewhat unpleasant ride from the airport to the trail.
From there, It was B&B or hotel overnights in Confluence, Cumberland, Hancock and Harpers Ferry. That was average of 60 miles per day with a max of 68 to Confluence and a minimum of 52 to Harpers Ferry. Leaving from Pittsburgh would have changed the equation. Glad I didn't camp as it rained often, though nearly always in front of me, behind me, or on the roof over my head.
Summary of tour is at Track My Tour
Riding the GAP and the C&O with my wife and 4 children, ages 3, 5, 11, and 13.
Round trip, Pittsburgh to DC and back. Perfect 600+ mile bike tour with the children on the dedicated bike path, no auto traffic, and bike friendly nature of the DC area. We will be staying in the DC area for 3 or 4 days to explore with the fam. The wife and I were thinking of staying in the Washington DC International Hostel so that our kiddos will get that experience, too.
We were also wanting to reach out and see if anyone might be interested in hosting a family of 6 for a night or two in the DC, Bethesda, Arlington, Alexandria area in mid July. Perhaps 14th-19th window. We are self supported with our own gear. Could even camp in the back yard.
I am also putting this out on Warmshowers.org but wanted to fish on Bike Forums as well.
Thank you all !
Edit: We are also planning to film our trip w/ multiple GoPros to capture different perspectives.
If it works out, may become part of an amateur documentary of sorts...
Last edited by AusTexMurf; 06-22-14 at 12:18 PM.
Just came back from doing the GAP. Cumberland to Ohiopyle & return. the trail was in great shape even with the heavy rain on 2 days. From Cumberland going up the hill for 23 miles on a hot day was an experience I don't want to do with a loaded bike again. I should have taken the train up to Frostburg then continued on.
Husky Haven campground was in great shape. I hammocked there with no problems. Site #9 has the most tree coverage during the rainstorm. The trail from GAP to Kentuck campground in Ohiopyle is a brutal push-yer-bike up-the-hill. Luckily, the Sojourn did not affect my ride. There's a lot of great places to eat in the towns. The Barbeque place in Confluence is closed for awhile. I got my photo at Confluence Cyclery.
Its a great ride everyone should take.
Amtrak is advertising (as of 6/24/14) that the NE corridor will have roll on/roll off "by the end of the year" [of 2014]. We'll see, eh?
Amtrak to Begin Welcoming Bikes on Long-Distance Routes | Streetsblog USA
The issue as it pertains to the GAP and C&O is whether the service that parellels the trails (The Capitol Limited and Cardinal, if IIRC), are considered "long distance trains" and will be outiftted with the news cars. Another thing Amtrak has not been clear on (at least I haven't seen clarification, but my work browser is so old I cannot read the official Amtrak blog) is whether roll-on service will be offered at all/most stops made by trains that have these new cars. That is key. For example, on the ME service where there is currently is roll-on service, it's not offered at all stops. If, despite the new cars, one cannot roll on bikes at Cumberland, MD, the problem that exists today will continue to exist.
The article says this:
"The change will allow Amtrak riders to “roll on” their bikes, rather than disassembling them and transporting them in boxes. "
The burning question is "At what stations can I roll on my bike?" If were are merely getting the convenience of not having to box bikes but are still stuck with the old rules as to where you can board and detrain with a bike, we haven't gained all that much. Boxing a bike for Amtrak is not that difficult. The biggest problem with Amtrak and bike travel is the availability of stations where you can board and detrain with bikes, boxed or not.
Just happened into this thread (I've been keeping away from BF to try and not get the urge to ride outdoors while I'm still recovering from a serious skiing injury).
Last June, a friend of mine and I did a one-day press of the C&O, from Cumberland to DC. We didn't quite do the whole length, skipping the section from Great Falls to the last mile in Georgetown due to fatigue and the fact that we had both ridden said stretch many times before. But it was an epic day in the saddle, for sure!
cycling log: 29 june 2013 (c&o canal end-to-end) | randomduck
FYI: we did a one-way car rental from DC to Cumberland as our means of transporting our bikes and gear to the trailhead. That worked quite well.
I finished It! I did the whole GAP round trip. Started on Wednesday and finished on Sunday. I camped and cooked on the way to Pittsburgh. Then restaurant ate my way back to Cumberland. The trail was great and really nice. The section approaching Pitt had some on street riding but no traffic to speak of. That section was quite a few degrees hotter than the tree shaded sections of Ohiopyle.
I got to the Point Park and came across the park ranger on bicycle. I asked him how to get to Grant St. so I could get to the distillery on Smallman St. He instead rode me down the bike trail along the Allegheny River to the end so I was 2 blocks from Smallman St. How nice was that! After I hit the restaurant row and found a nice food vendor who had "haluski". It was great. Pittsburgh has really improved in the 12 years I was last there.
It rained a couple of times late afternoon or night but posed no problem. I met a lot of people along the way. A guy on a Catrike who had a whole lot piled on his bike. Least he didn't have to worry about tipping over. I did it alone and found that to not be a worry.
Heading out on the trail on October 6th or 7th-- excited to see some fall foliage! Hoping for dry hard packed, fast conditions on the trail. Last summer when I went it was an absolute mud fest. Anyone been out recently? How muddy is the C and O currently?
Last edited by Couloirman; 09-28-14 at 10:45 AM.
I might head out on the C&O for Thanksgiving week. It depends on the weather (dry). I have off the weekend of 11/22 through Wednesday 11/26. I know the well pumps are deactivated for the winter but I know to stop in the towns to get water. May do a 'round trip' on the W&OD.