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Old 05-27-08, 08:43 PM   #1
anomaly
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Pictures of my first tour, C&O canal over Memorial Day weekend

I rode the C&O Canal from DC to Harpers Ferry West By God Virginia, camped along the Potomac river at a beautiful spot, then rode back to DC. It is 60 miles off-road each way, the scenery was ****ing beautiful. After 120 miles of singletrack it was just as beautiful as the start. I rode on a brand new bike (Surly Cross Check) that I had about 7 miles on prior to that as I had built the bike the night before. No mechanical break downs, no wrecks, no flats. It was great.

Lessons learned:
Better to over pack than under (We over packed)
REALLY good riding shorts are a must
Eat a lot
Drink a lot of water

Here are pictures from the tour:

The Bikes (Surly Cross Check which is mine and Lemond Poprad which is my friends)


Turtles


18 or so miles into the trail



Crane


The vast majority of the trail looked like this


Catoctin Aqeduct


Tunnel, where my friend almost got hit by a train while walking through


Looking back on the trail from Harpers Ferry West VA


Looking towards Harpers Ferry
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Old 05-27-08, 08:43 PM   #2
anomaly
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Windsor I found locked up in town, period campy components, gold anodized brake levers etc, also had an Eddy Merckx sticker on it


Finally our campsite
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Old 05-27-08, 09:28 PM   #3
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You got some beautiful scenery down there! Nice pictures!
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Old 05-27-08, 09:41 PM   #4
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i am jealous

care to comment on the never-ending debate of proper tire size for the C&O?
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Old 05-27-08, 10:12 PM   #5
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Wow. I'm planning my first overnight trip for this upcoming weekend, but it won't look anything like that. Great pictures!
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Old 05-27-08, 10:58 PM   #6
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Nice!!!!
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Old 05-28-08, 05:55 AM   #7
ernok1923
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wait, wait....almost hit by a train! intense!
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Old 05-28-08, 06:00 AM   #8
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neilfein and I head out on our GAP/C & O tour in 48 hours. We hope we had as good a time as you did, minus the train near-miss.....
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Old 05-28-08, 06:48 AM   #9
anomaly
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i am jealous

care to comment on the never-ending debate of proper tire size for the C&O?
After mile 20 the trail becomes rougher, but more accepting of skinnier tires. Between mile 20 and DC there are larger pieces of gravel near the lock houses so they can be a bit annoying. We both rode the trail on 700x30s and they were more than acceptable. I wouldn't go skinnier than 28s just due to the volume of air when loaded, anything over 35s seemed like it would just increase drag. The vast majority of people were on mountain bikes which was total overkill.
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Old 05-28-08, 06:50 AM   #10
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neilfein and I head out on our GAP/C & O tour in 48 hours. We hope we had as good a time as you did, minus the train near-miss.....
You are in for quite the ride. Be sure to go into Harper's Ferry, it's beautiful and has a general store near the train station that has tubes/gloves/general bike stuff. There is also a pub/rsturant 2 doors up the hill that has good burgers.

White's Ferry has great chicken fingers and sloppy joes.
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Old 05-28-08, 06:52 AM   #11
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Oh and either camp on the GAP side of Harper's Ferry or plan on riding another 15 miles as you will be sleeping 50 feet from the train track otherwise.
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Old 05-28-08, 07:07 AM   #12
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Hey, the lesson that I learned from my first tour...um 15 years ago, was not to bring too much. I sent excess stuff back to my home by mail. Most of it was a few redundant changes of clothes and a book or two, but I have since kept what I haul to a bare minimum.

How about that train? How did you avoid that one? And why didn't you hear it coming?

Finally how is using a cyclocross bike compared to a touring bike. Twitchy with the bags or not?
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Old 05-28-08, 11:31 AM   #13
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+1 on going into Harper's Ferry. There is some nice historical sites surrounding John Brown's Raid as well as an interesting African American Museum from the same era. Several places have really great ice cream as a reward for your long ride.
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Old 05-28-08, 11:48 AM   #14
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Very nice. I used to live at the top of the hill in HF, by the cemetary above the Shenandoah. Some trivia for wading the Shenandoah, check out the non-native species fishing regs, right before bighead carp.
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Old 05-28-08, 12:59 PM   #15
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wow sounds beautiful. i definitely want to do this ride. so you were just running 700 X 30cm road tires?
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Old 05-28-08, 02:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doraemonkey View Post
Hey, the lesson that I learned from my first tour...um 15 years ago, was not to bring too much. I sent excess stuff back to my home by mail. Most of it was a few redundant changes of clothes and a book or two, but I have since kept what I haul to a bare minimum.

How about that train? How did you avoid that one? And why didn't you hear it coming?

Finally how is using a cyclocross bike compared to a touring bike. Twitchy with the bags or not?
The train sounded quite shortly before it got to the tunnel, really he was in no danger of being hit though the train came pretty close.

The bike was only twitchy when i was standing, but less twitchy than the track bike I ride on a daily basis.

I rode Jones CX tires that were 700x30. I ran about 85psi in the rear as the sides have started to crack due to age. The tires did fine on the trail.
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Old 05-28-08, 09:01 PM   #17
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Chris from Velo Orange suggests the Vittoria Cross Evo XN tires for the C&O and general mixed hardpack use, they're a 32 with not much tread, made for firmer cross courses.
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