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Old 02-22-06, 01:08 PM   #1
velonomad 
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any interest in a BF group tour on ATA/C&O?

There has been several people on the forum lately interested in riding the ATA and C&O trails from Washington to Pittsburgh(330 miles). I intend to ride it myself this year. I would be interested in putting together a group ride if several people are interested and can commiit the time. Other than late June and mid August my schedule is flexible. I would prefer to tour self supported and camp. any interest?

Rick
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Old 02-22-06, 04:43 PM   #2
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Possibly.

Do you know if they are still planning to open the Savage Tunnel this year?
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Old 02-23-06, 08:49 AM   #3
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I might be interested, too. The first week of July would work out well for me. I'd prefer to ride from Pittsburgh to DC.

According to the www.atatrail.org website, the Savage Tunnel is supposed to reopen in April.
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Old 02-23-06, 08:56 AM   #4
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Pittsburgh to DC would be my preference too.

I guess my question isn't as much the tunnel as the trail on each side of it. Aren't they supposed to finish and open that segment this year?
I don't mind the road detour at the unfinished segment, but I'd like to avoid the mountain climb if possible.
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Old 02-23-06, 09:53 AM   #5
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The trail will be open the whole way in late April - early May when the winter doors on the Savage tunnel are open. There are two incomplete sections on the Great Allegheny Passage (Pgh - Cumberland):

On the west end, between the Hot Metal Bridge and McKeesport. map
On the east end, between Woodcock Hollow and Cumberland map

For myself, (I live in Pgh) I'm quite leery of recommending the Pittsburgh start - every time I've done this I just start in McKeesport. Another rider who does this annually recommends starting in Boston. The Pgh-McKeesport road route is crowded and not bike friendly. So, FWIW, IMHO, I'd like to suggest you start in McKeesport or Boston. (Boston is where the true trail conditions start).

The slope of the hills (focus on this phrase: Eastern Continental Divide) makes Pgh to DC more friendly than DC to Pgh, IMO.

2006 will be the first year that the Meyersdale - Frostburg trail will be open, with the tunnels etc. available for riders. There's one bridge crossing a road that's going to be out for part of the summer, but they'll have a path built down to the road, and up to the path on the other side. This is going to be a great year for Pittsburgh to DC!

My major resource for trip planning is: AtaTrail.org. In the Trail Merchandise section, you'll see a book, Linking Up, by Mary Shaw which is the essential read, and another book TrailBook2005 which is mostly advertising but contains a wonderful Tyvek map of the trail - the cost of the book is justified by the map. Or, send them a donation and they'll send you a paper trail map.

We rode this in three days in 2004 - here's a trip report , but three days was a bit fugly, so this year (late June early July) we hope to do it in four days.

This year we'll see a lot more riders out there, and then the communities will see a payoff for supporting the trail. Adventure Cycling is leading two tour groups (already filled up) along the route in May, if that goes well I'm sure it'll become a regular offering.

There are a lot of very isolated areas on this ride, it's probably better to ride in a group. Enjoy!

EDIT : Here's a link to our current planning for this year's ride.

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Old 02-23-06, 10:13 AM   #6
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Interest? Sure! Not sure if it is possible with me but I'm interested. How many day? How many miles per day?
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Old 02-23-06, 01:22 PM   #7
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I'd love to go! Interested in a self-supported trip with about 60 miles per day. That would give enough time to do sightseeing , sleep in (it's a vacation afterall) and set up camp and cook while it's still daylight.

I'm open for most of the summer from mid-June to mid-Aug with a few weeks blocked for classes. If there's enough interest this could be a large group having some fun for a week! Waddyasa?
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Old 02-23-06, 04:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velonomad
There has been several people on the forum lately interested in riding the ATA and C&O trails from Washington to Pittsburgh(330 miles). I intend to ride it myself this year. I would be interested in putting together a group ride if several people are interested and can commiit the time. Other than late June and mid August my schedule is flexible. I would prefer to tour self supported and camp. any interest?

Rick
I'd be interested too. I'm available anywhere in that time period assuming I have enough advance notice.
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Old 02-23-06, 07:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velonomad
There has been several people on the forum lately interested in riding the ATA and C&O trails from Washington to Pittsburgh(330 miles). I intend to ride it myself this year. I would be interested in putting together a group ride if several people are interested and can commiit the time. Other than late June and mid August my schedule is flexible. I would prefer to tour self supported and camp. any interest?

Rick
Rick,

I'm not far from you - Rosendale. I'll go, providing someone babysits my newborn for a week or two and donates their summer income to me

Considering the likelihood of that, I'll be merely staying here with green jealousy in my heart and simply ride the local rail trails.
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Old 02-23-06, 08:24 PM   #10
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I talked it over with my wife to be sure I can commit to doing the tour. Between June 30 and August 18 works for me.

Sarah suggested riding about 60 miles a day. Though I usually ride more ,60 miles IMO would be a reasonable compromise which would allow time to explore, socialize and ride a comfortable pace.

Ed makes a good point about riding out of Pittsburgh. depending on the logistics of getting from DC to Pitts we could start in McKeesport or Boston. Personally I would like to start in Pittsburgh and do the whole distance, but it isn't that important to me. Someone I spoke to rode the ATA trail last summer , They started in Pittsburgh at Point State park early on a Sunday morning and encountered almost no traffic to McKeesport.

How about getting there? Amtrak's Capital limited goes from Washington to Pittsburgh, It has a baggage car so boxed Bikes are allowed, the boxes are huge so all you have to do is remove pedals and turn the bars paralell to the frame. Tickets are $49 each the bike box is $10 additional. The hassle is the train gets into downtown Pittsburgh at 11:30pm so we would need to get a hotel room(s)

Alternately we could car pool, Pittsburgh is 250 miles from Washington by car. I have a fullsize van I can bring that will hold up to 8 touring bikes and gear inside, It has only two seats so at least one more vehicle would be needed.

what do you all think? what other suggestions do you have and what have I missed?

Rick
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Old 02-23-06, 08:29 PM   #11
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Rick,

I'm not far from you - Rosendale. I'll go, providing someone babysits my newborn for a week or two and donates their summer income to me

Considering the likelihood of that, I'll be merely staying here with green jealousy in my heart and simply ride the local rail trails.
I have inlaws in Woodstock so I often drop my wife off and I drive over to Rosendale to ride the Walkill trail from end to end. we could ride down to New Paltz for a beer. and pretend it's a tour!
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Old 02-23-06, 09:41 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by velonomad
...Ed makes a good point about riding out of Pittsburgh. depending on the logistics of getting from DC to Pitts we could start in McKeesport or Boston. Personally I would like to start in Pittsburgh and do the whole distance, but it isn't that important to me. Someone I spoke to rode the ATA trail last summer, They started in Pittsburgh at Point State park early on a Sunday morning and encountered almost no traffic to McKeesport.

How about getting there? Amtrak's Capital limited goes from Washington to Pittsburgh, It has a baggage car so boxed Bikes are allowed, the boxes are huge so all you have to do is remove pedals and turn the bars paralell to the frame. Tickets are $49 each the bike box is $10 additional. The hassle is the train gets into downtown Pittsburgh at 11:30pm so we would need to get a hotel room(s)

Alternately we could car pool, Pittsburgh is 250 miles from Washington by car. I have a fullsize van I can bring that will hold up to 8 touring bikes and gear inside, It has only two seats so at least one more vehicle would be needed...
I've been looking at a Pittsburgh to DC ride for a couple of years, and you've pretty well summed up the logisitics of it. The timing of the train stinks, but it's the only one that goes here-to-there.

A few years ago, some of the riders in my local club rented a van one-way, drove to Cumberland, MD, dropped off the van and started their C&O ride from the rental office.

60 miles a day sounds a little light, unless you're planning lots of side trips or lots of siteseeing. I was thinking about 4 days 80 - 90 miles each. Makes for overnights at around Confluence, PawPaw and Harper's Ferry

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Old 02-24-06, 01:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velonomad
I have inlaws in Woodstock so I often drop my wife off and I drive over to Rosendale to ride the Walkill trail from end to end. we could ride down to New Paltz for a beer. and pretend it's a tour!
Good idea. Maybe on the next 50 degree weekend? I ride everyday, but that's the best day for a nice ride.

That trail is pretty torn up right now and muddy. Riding Springtown to NP is also a nice ride, albeit not a rail trail.
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Old 02-24-06, 01:18 PM   #14
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This is an interesting proposition, but one I just have too many obligations to undertake this year. Two summers ago, our Scout Troop rode the C & O from West - East. A nice ride, but I have a couple cautions. There are a couple places along the way where trail conditions were unfavorable - and this from the perspective of someone riding a MTB. There was one stretch of trail in particular where it was paved with largish rocks (2" - 4" chunks) for 2-3 miles. On a tourer, I'd much prefer to walk that stretch. Aside from that, expect to go over lots of roots, branches, and patches (from small to immense) of mud.

The other point is access in DC. Picking up at the very end of the C & O is not an act to be attempted with a sizeable vehicle if you're going to be finishing during daylight hours - especially if its on a weekday. Backtracking several miles to a more reasonable extraction spot is a much saner prospect.
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Old 02-24-06, 03:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by cc_rider
60 miles a day sounds a little light, unless you're planning lots of side trips or lots of siteseeing. I was thinking about 4 days 80 - 90 miles each. Makes for overnights at around Confluence, PawPaw and Harper's Ferry
If it's 330 unpaved miles and I'll be carrying camping gear, I wouldn't want to do it in fewer than 5 days, personally. One obvious problem with trying to organize something like this is the vastly different riding styles, preferences, and abilities we probably have.
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Old 02-24-06, 04:09 PM   #16
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A five day trip would work with overnights around Ohiopyle, Frostburg, Hancock and Harper's Ferry.
That's probably more realistic.

I regularly ride the C&O 50 to 60 miles at a time, although that's unloaded, out-and-back daytripping, and single days. I'm trying to picture a 4 or 5 day ride with gear.
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Old 02-24-06, 06:01 PM   #17
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I am going to agree with keeping it at around 60 miles a day. It just makes more sense for those of us who typicaly ride more mileage to ride 20 miles a day less than to ask others to ride 20 more. It is 330 miles so it amounts to only one extra day. This tour should be as much or more about comradarie and having a good time than distance covered.
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