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Old 10-25-08, 08:05 PM   #1
spinnaker
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Bike Forums GAP/C&O tour

Much of the gang gets together for the Covered Bridge Ride each year.

I'm just tossing around an idea of doing a Bike Forum's Great Allegheny Passage / C & O Tour next year.

I live just 2 miles from the Montour Trail which connects to the GAP. We could use my place as a launching point. I haven't yet figured out what that would entail, but depending on the number of people, out of town folks could crash here or I could provide a list of cheap motels nearby.

Is there an interest?

If so, what month? I was thinking June.

Would you be interested in a side trip to the Cannodale plant? This would take us about 30 miles out of our way. It would most likely be off of the trail.

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Old 10-26-08, 08:25 AM   #2
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Since I am planning on doing that route as my first tour next year, I might be in, depending on how the details fall out.
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Old 10-26-08, 11:05 AM   #3
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Tell me more. Where is it? Where would someone from California fly into? How long is it? This sounds fun. How about mid-June (for teachers who won't be finished with school until then - like me?)
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Old 10-26-08, 04:02 PM   #4
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Tell me more. Where is it? Where would someone from California fly into? How long is it? This sounds fun. How about mid-June (for teachers who won't be finished with school until then - like me?)
I was thinking mid June anyway.

The trail goes from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC.

You would fly into Pittsburgh and either fly out of DC or come back to Pittsburgh with the locals and fly back from there (maybe to come back to Pittsburgh to pick up bike luggage or whatever).

Depending on the "out of towners", you could just stay here first night and last night should you come back to Pittsburgh.

If there are only a couple of people flying in, then I can act as Sag airport to the airport. Hopefully the trail from the airport will be finished by then and it will be an easy and safe ride to my place.

If there are only one or two people that want to pre-ship their bikes then I can help there too. If there are more than that then maybe we could get a group rate at the local Trek shop or even at REI.

It is about 358 miles from Pittsburgh to DC but add another 10-30 miles from my house (depending on which way we go to join the GAP).

It is an old railroad right of way, so it is an easy ride. The steepest grade will be 3%. It can be done in 4 days. But I was thinking more like 6-7 maybe 8 days, to allow for side trips and transportation back.

More info can be found here.
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Old 11-08-08, 08:12 PM   #5
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I thought I would give this a bump. Anyone else interested?
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Old 11-09-08, 11:32 AM   #6
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I would, but:

A. ) most of the other riders would be too fast for me to keep the pace;

and

B. ) I'd wear out my welcome, if I haven't already.
 
Old 11-09-08, 03:15 PM   #7
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Historian,

You are always welcome to stay here.

But (and no offense) I think riding at your speed would probably drive me crazy after a couple of days. But I'm sure I drive my buddy Dave crazy (you have not meant him). I think I probably ride too slow for him but he rides so fast I don't see how he sees anything. We went zipping right through a number of nice little towns in Italy. They kind of looked like a flash, I really don't like moving that fast.
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Old 11-09-08, 04:24 PM   #8
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Historian,

You are always welcome to stay here.

But (and no offense) I think riding at your speed would probably drive me crazy after a couple of days. But I'm sure I drive my buddy Dave crazy (you have not meant him). I think I probably ride too slow for him but he rides so fast I don't see how he sees anything. We went zipping right through a number of nice little towns in Italy. They kind of looked like a flash, I really don't like moving that fast.
No offense taken, Spinnaker. I hope you get some interest in your tour, because its a spectacular trip, and you are a good companion for such a journey.

Late afternoon sun on the Potomac near Williamsport, MD.

 
Old 11-09-08, 10:18 PM   #9
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I could be interested. How many days of actual riding do you think? It's pretty easy for me to take a bus to Pittsburgh and a train from DC, so most of the logistics automatically get taken care of for me.
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Old 11-10-08, 07:55 AM   #10
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I could be interested. How many days of actual riding do you think? It's pretty easy for me to take a bus to Pittsburgh and a train from DC, so most of the logistics automatically get taken care of for me.

Info is above, just a few posts from the top.

Hopefully you can get together with another BF member and rent a car. I understand Greyhound can be a real "experience".
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Old 11-10-08, 08:36 AM   #11
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Info is above, just a few posts from the top.

Hopefully you can get together with another BF member and rent a car. I understand Greyhound can be a real "experience".
I did the 'hound back in my 400 pound days. Once. Never again.
 
Old 11-10-08, 01:19 PM   #12
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Tosh, Greyhound is just fine. I've ridden it lots of places and it's always been pleasant, cheap, low-fuss, and relatively on-time. Renting a car would make me into a bundle of nerves!
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Old 11-11-08, 11:38 AM   #13
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I've read much about this route and its on my to-do list. It would certainly be more fun in a group.

The big issue I always saw was how to get back to your starting location. Any ideas on how you'd do that we a group? I'm open to just about any time, though I always find early Sept great. With school started, tourist levels dropped way off no matter what/where you go and the weather tends to be warm and dry.

So put me down as a want to go.

vtbmwgs at hotmail dot com

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Old 11-11-08, 01:00 PM   #14
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I might be interested, I believe i can Amtrak from my place to Pittsburgh. Drop me a PM when this is more fleshed out.
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Old 11-11-08, 02:49 PM   #15
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Depending on the interest, we could rent a truck (for the bicycles) and possibly one or two cars to get from one end of the trail to the other.
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Old 11-11-08, 03:31 PM   #16
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It the trail very bumpy? I ask because I have an older mountain bike with a front suspension that I would 'tour/commuter-ize' over the winter if it would be a better ride on the trail, compared to a rigid one.
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Old 11-11-08, 06:58 PM   #17
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I'm going to do it on a Trek FX. It does not have any suspension. Many others have done it with closer to "road bike" configuration. I think the main issue is going to be the size of the tires.
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Old 11-11-08, 11:17 PM   #18
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I'm going to do it on a Trek FX. It does not have any suspension. Many others have done it with closer to "road bike" configuration. I think the main issue is going to be the size of the tires.
That's a good choice, Spinnaker. I did it twice this year with a Trek 7.5 fx with 32s commuting tires. In a few places I would have liked more tread, but usually my smooth tires were OK.

Surface conditions on the trails range from pea gravel (Montour, GAP, C & O near DC) to packed dirt with rocks and tree roots (much of the C & O). If it rains, the GAP will drain, but the C & O will become very muddy.

If you use a trailer to carry gear, go with a single wheel design, since much of the C & O consists of two tracks with a grassy median.

Also, bring lights for Big Savage, Brush, Borden, and Paw Paw tunnels. Big Savage and Brush are now lit, but even with lights it's very dark. Also, fog forms in the middle of Big Savage.
 
Old 11-11-08, 11:25 PM   #19
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I might be interested, I believe i can Amtrak from my place to Pittsburgh. Drop me a PM when this is more fleshed out.
I'm not involved in organizing this trip, but....

Amtrak will usually allow bikes at any location that they accept checked baggage for, provided you box your bike. Along the trail, that means DC and Pittsburgh, and no where in between.

Amtrak's Capital Limited arrived in Pittsburgh from DC about 11:45 PM during the week. Eastbound from Chicago it arrives, if I recall correctly, at an unGodly time of the morning.

Pittsburgh is also serviced by the Pennsylvanian from New York and Philadelphia, but the cross PA train doesn't allow checked baggage, so no bikes.
 
Old 11-12-08, 07:31 AM   #20
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This sounds very interesting. I'd most likely drive down to Pittsburgh to meet up with the group. Just need a place to leave the car

Not sure which bike, most likely the Surly LHT, but perhaps the Dahon Speed TR.

I assume we'll be camping along the trail, eating out some meals/cooking others at camp?

Timeframe- Ideally, if we could leave on a Sunday and return on a Sat to PA, that would leave the first Sat for getting to PA, and the last Sunday returning home from PA. But whatever you decide, I'll see if I can swing the time off.

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Old 11-12-08, 07:39 AM   #21
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This sounds very interesting. I'd most likely drive down to Pittsburgh to meet up with the group. Just need a place to leave the car
Inexpensive long-term parking is available in McKeesport, at a lot run by the borough.
 
Old 11-12-08, 07:26 PM   #22
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My plan is to use B&Bs or hotels along the way. I am not sure I would want to camp. I have not been camping since I was a kid. I might pick up some gear and if I can get out for a couple of weekends, then I might change my mind. But there is no reason why we could not have a hotel group and a camping group.


If we leave from my house, you can park here. I live in a town house complex. Even if we get a number of people that want to park, there is a lower "overflow" parking lot that is available.

I would think it would be best to leave on a Saturday if that is doable but a Sunday might work too.

I'd have to do the math and the interested parties would have to figure how many miles they want to do in a day. I was thinking 75 miles average. If so that is 5-6 days from Pittsburgh to DC. It would be nice to have at least part of a day to see DC. I have not been there in years.
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Old 11-12-08, 10:19 PM   #23
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I'm interested though I have no idea about my schedule that far in advance. Where I live I could ride to Spinnaker's house as an extra day of riding and meet everyone there.
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Old 11-13-08, 02:56 PM   #24
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I'd definitely be interested, been thinking of doing that ride for a couple years now.

Hardest part seems co-ordinating lodging and return transportation, depending on the number of people. I'd opt for a Saturday depart and maybe 5-6 days riding, but whatever ride leader thinks works. I'd be coming out of Cleveland, so point me to a cheap hotel Friday night and I'm set.
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Old 11-13-08, 03:08 PM   #25
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I think I would fall into the the hotel group, as I too have not been camping for a VERY long time.
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