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Old 05-12-08, 11:06 AM   #1
marathon_affe
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Riding 23s on the Great Allegheny Passage?

Over Memorial Day, I'm doing a ride (my first multiday!) from home in the DC area up to Ohiopyle State Park. A partner would like to join me for the final segment, roughly in the Rockwood - Ohiopyle stretch. The bike she has available is a road setup running your standard 700x23 setup.

I've never been on the GAP trail, but from the sounds of it the surface is considerably better than the C&O canal. In my mind, I'm equating it to the Georgetown Branch Trail (aka the unpaved portion of the CCT) for those of you familiar with DC trails which is rideable on 23s.

Is this rough assumption correct?
What are the worst conditions like on this stretch of the GAP? In dry weather? In wet?
Have any advice / past experiences with skinny tires on the GAP to share?

Thanks in advance for any tips / guidance you have to share.

Tyler

PS: If you're wondering about me... I'll be on my trusty Surly LHT w/35mm Marathon Supremes. I took it out w/full touring load and did 55mi on the C&O yesterday afternoon from Brunswick to DC (yes, in the pouring rain) so I'm definitely prepared for anything short of Moses' second plague.
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Old 05-12-08, 11:33 AM   #2
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Most of the GAP trail surface was excellent last year (in the dry weather my friend & I enjoyed), though there were parts north of Ohiopyle which were surprisingly narrow. The trail from Rockwood to Ohiopyle was 100% excellent. The surface was similar to the better part of the Georgetown Branch Trail (the part they re-surfaced last year a bit east of the trestle. Perhaps not quite as good as that, but pretty close.)
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Old 05-12-08, 11:38 AM   #3
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Wow, I never would have thought the Georgetown Branch Trail would ever become a standard for trail surfaces. Have a good ride.
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Old 05-12-08, 01:21 PM   #4
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Wow, I never would have thought the Georgetown Branch Trail would ever become a standard for trail surfaces. Have a good ride.
Of course, I was only talking about the part they re-surfaced last year with finely crushed stone. The idiot who selected the coarse stones for the Georgetown Branch trail between Jones Bridge road and the trestle (and a little bit on the east side of the trestle) ought to be forced to ride that awful stretch of trail on a narrow-tired racing bike every day of his or her life until they replaced it with a proper surface!
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Old 05-12-08, 02:05 PM   #5
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Can you ? probably - Personally I think it would be much more comfortable enjoyable ride to get a little more volume in the tires. Another consideration is if there would be a lot of rain just before or during your trip a wider tire would definitely help with a softer tread. YMMV

Shog
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Old 05-12-08, 02:33 PM   #6
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I'm planning to ride the "wrong" way from Confluence to McKeesport and I will be on 25's. I'm riding the Bike PA S route from east to west starting this week, I figure I'll be in the Confluence area by Monday (?)I do have a plan B (and C) if I decide to find another route to Pittsburg, but using this part of the GAP just seems too alluring. Since I'm going east-west I'm going downhill, it will be a welcome break from traffic, ample camping & food choices, plus Fallingwater is on my must see list. Only issue is the trail itself and my preference for riding the bike I have with its limits on tire size.

If I have to go with plan B or C, it will be tough since it looks pretty hilly outside of the trail itself and I hear some of the nearby roads are not great for bicyling.
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Old 05-12-08, 06:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marathon_affe View Post
Over Memorial Day, I'm doing a ride (my first multiday!) from home in the DC area up to Ohiopyle State Park. A partner would like to join me for the final segment, roughly in the Rockwood - Ohiopyle stretch. The bike she has available is a road setup running your standard 700x23 setup.

I've never been on the GAP trail, but from the sounds of it the surface is considerably better than the C&O canal. In my mind, I'm equating it to the Georgetown Branch Trail (aka the unpaved portion of the CCT) for those of you familiar with DC trails which is rideable on 23s.

Is this rough assumption correct?
What are the worst conditions like on this stretch of the GAP? In dry weather? In wet?
Have any advice / past experiences with skinny tires on the GAP to share?

Thanks in advance for any tips / guidance you have to share.

Tyler

PS: If you're wondering about me... I'll be on my trusty Surly LHT w/35mm Marathon Supremes. I took it out w/full touring load and did 55mi on the C&O yesterday afternoon from Brunswick to DC (yes, in the pouring rain) so I'm definitely prepared for anything short of Moses' second plague.
I'll be heading out the C&O on Saturday morning if you want to ride with a couple people part of the way. That being said it will be the first loaded tour for my friend and I so we might just slow you up.
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Old 05-12-08, 07:46 PM   #8
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I appreciate all the informative replies--and the comparison for a good point of reference. Here's hoping that May got all the rain of its system in the past few days!

anomaly, thanks for the offer but I'm taking Friday off and heading up then. For those curious, my schedule is roughly:
Day 1: Falls Church -> Clarke's Gap (via W&OD) -> Brunswick MD -> Hancock MD: 115 miles
Day 2: Hancock -> Frostburg: 75 miles
Day 3: Frostburg -> Ohiopyle: 50 miles

Leaving a Sunday afternoon and Monday to enjoy Fallingwater and other sights around Ohiopyle.

Happy trails,

Tyler
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