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Old 03-16-03, 01:26 PM   #1
Braumeister
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C & O Towpath on a Touring Bike?

Will probably be riding the C & O in its entirety some time this spring or summer. Between a few websites and a search on this BB, I still have a few other questions that I'd like some help with:

1. Is there any recent beta available on towpath conditions? The NPS site's info. is dated 2000.

2. Is it possible to do this ride on a dedicated touring bike w/ 32mm tires or is the surface demanding of a MTB? Note: we'll be camping and self-supported, hence the desire for using the touring bikes.

3. Can anyone suggest a good mapset/guidebook?

4. Any advantage in riding from Mile 184 to Mile 0 (downhill!)?

5. Any good beer emporiums/microbreweries along the way?

6. Any other info. you can provide would be much appreciated!



B.
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Old 03-16-03, 06:12 PM   #2
P. B. Walker
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Quote:
Originally posted by Braumeister
Will probably be riding the C & O in its entirety some time this spring or summer. Between a few websites and a search on this BB, I still have a few other questions that I'd like some help with:

1. Is there any recent beta available on towpath conditions? The NPS site's info. is dated 2000.

http://bikewashington.org/canal/index.htm

That's a good site about C&O Canal. Plus, I think it links to you other C&O websites.

Quote:
2. Is it possible to do this ride on a dedicated touring bike w/ 32mm tires or is the surface demanding of a MTB? Note: we'll be camping and self-supported, hence the desire for using the touring bikes.


Yes, I would say it's do-able on a touring bike as long as you have good sturdy wheels with good rims. 32mm tires should be good to go. NOTE: I am assuming you'll be doing this on a dry day and it hasn't rained in the last day or two. I have ridden this path in the rain and just after heavy rains... in those situations, it's iffy on doing this ride without a mountain bike.

Quote:
3. Can anyone suggest a good mapset/guidebook?


That website above.

Quote:
4. Any advantage in riding from Mile 184 to Mile 0 (downhill!)?


Yes. I've mostly done rides starting in DC and going upward. It doesn't gain much altitude, but it is noticable. I would say you will average at least a mile or two (possibly three) faster coming toward DC compared to going away from DC.

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5. Any good beer emporiums/microbreweries along the way?
[b]

No idea, sorry.


Good luck and have fun.

PBW
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Old 03-17-03, 11:21 AM   #3
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I did this ride in Nov. and posted a bunch of info on this thread. Scroll through it and you should find some of what you need.

Also, to answer your specific questions:
1. Generally good, they were redoing some spots when we went, so there was soft dirt. Also, it had rained a good bit the week before so there was mud and puddles in places. I was glad I ran fenders

2. I used an old road bike w/ 35mm tires (they actually measure 32mm) - works fine, but we were moving fast and hauling a lot of gear with tires pumped rock hard means you feel every pimple in the trail.

3. Best map is the one the Park service puts out. Another good source is a Boy Scout booklet on the Canal (184 miles of Adventure?), not sure where to get it, it was given to me as a gift.

4. Yes. Start in Cumberland and end in Georgetown.

5. Not really, but Bill's place at least had Yingling Porters and there is a good Pizza Place in Shepardstown, WV that has a few good taps (Hop Devil) and good pizza. The price on pitchers was pretty good.

6. See earlier thread. Make sure you follow the detour at Dam #4 (or was it #5?) - it's well marked and necessary. The detour at Great Falls is not necessary, but it was a bit tough portaging our loaded bikes over the rocky path. Worth it for the views alone though.


Have fun and take a camera.
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Old 03-18-03, 10:41 AM   #4
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I did the C&O trail with another 4 cyclists last year in August and it was very easy to do. Three of us had touring bikes, one had a mountain bike and I had a recumbent. I do believe though it could be messy following heavy rain as well as sticky for narrow tires.

On one stage of the trail three of us ran into multiple flats, turned out it was small bits of glass on the trail. It is somewhat tedious after a while with not much variation in scenery unless you get off and visit the small towns in the area but it certainly was easy cycling and kept us away from vehicles.

Last edited by bentrider; 03-18-03 at 10:47 AM.
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