Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg)
Reload this Page >

Any Clydes ever ride the GAP?

Notices
Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

Any Clydes ever ride the GAP?

Old 04-14-22, 02:39 PM
  #1  
a_d_a_m
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
a_d_a_m's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Ohio
Posts: 439

Bikes: 2021 Kona Sutra, Ragley parts-cycle

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 118 Post(s)
Liked 1,019 Times in 268 Posts
Any Clydes ever ride the GAP?

Hi there. I'm thinking of riding from Cumberland to Pittsburgh next month, since I can't do the long Empire State Trail tour I was planning on. Figured I could knock the GAP out a lot quicker.

Have any Clydes/Athenas done the trail westbound? I ask specifically because I'm curious as to just how difficult you perceived the elevation change to be. I know it's railroad grade so it shouldn't be really steep, but 25 miles of climbing doesn't exactly inspire confidence...

Again, asking for perspective from the thicc cyclists of the forum.
a_d_a_m is offline  
Old 04-14-22, 03:43 PM
  #2  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 25,719

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 138 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5157 Post(s)
Liked 2,702 Times in 1,598 Posts
Originally Posted by a_d_a_m View Post
Hi there. I'm thinking of riding from Cumberland to Pittsburgh next month, since I can't do the long Empire State Trail tour I was planning on. Figured I could knock the GAP out a lot quicker.

Have any Clydes/Athenas done the trail westbound? I ask specifically because I'm curious as to just how difficult you perceived the elevation change to be. I know it's railroad grade so it shouldn't be really steep, but 25 miles of climbing doesn't exactly inspire confidence...

Again, asking for perspective from the thicc cyclists of the forum.
Did it in 2015 at the end of my Lake Erie tour on the bike below.



The ride from Cumberland to the Eastern Continental DivideÖthatís so cute!Öisnít all that hard but it is long. The bit from Cumberland to Frostburg seemed steeper than the later part.

__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 04-14-22, 08:18 PM
  #3  
exercion
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Central PA
Posts: 89

Bikes: Cannondales: Synapse 5 Carbon and F5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 24 Posts
Originally Posted by a_d_a_m View Post
Hi there. I'm thinking of riding from Cumberland to Pittsburgh next month, since I can't do the long Empire State Trail tour I was planning on. Figured I could knock the GAP out a lot quicker.

Have any Clydes/Athenas done the trail westbound? I ask specifically because I'm curious as to just how difficult you perceived the elevation change to be. I know it's railroad grade so it shouldn't be really steep, but 25 miles of climbing doesn't exactly inspire confidence...

Again, asking for perspective from the thicc cyclists of the forum.
Yep! I solo'd that exact ride in October. Did it credit-card fashion on my trusty carbon Synapse. The climb from Cumberland did not trouble me at all, I don't describe it as hard, but rather as "relentless" in that it is a constant. Plenty of great photo ops, which are convenient for rest too. I made one rookie mistake which I know better than doing, but did it anyway and did not have a snack/lunch with me. Thought I'd just stop in Frostburg, but found out the trail doesn't actually go into town, but rather there is a climb to get there. Short version, after refilling my water at the trailhead, I decided that if I was going to climb, I'd do it in the direction I was headed, lol and thus I did.

Anyway, I loved the trip, want to do it again. I did it in 3 days, overnight stays in Meyersdale and Connellsville. One thing I learned early too was that trying to fill my camelback from the water fountains didn't work well, so I kept a water bottle with me to make it easier.
exercion is offline  
Old 04-14-22, 09:07 PM
  #4  
a_d_a_m
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
a_d_a_m's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Ohio
Posts: 439

Bikes: 2021 Kona Sutra, Ragley parts-cycle

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 118 Post(s)
Liked 1,019 Times in 268 Posts
Appreciate the responses, folks.
I noticed the thing with Frostburg and the switchback to get in/out of town, and I'd like to avoid THAT if at all possible. Which means packing plenty of food for day 1, which will take us to Rockwood, PA (about 45-50 miles)
a_d_a_m is offline  
Old 04-14-22, 10:24 PM
  #5  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 25,719

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 138 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5157 Post(s)
Liked 2,702 Times in 1,598 Posts
Originally Posted by a_d_a_m View Post
Appreciate the responses, folks.
I noticed the thing with Frostburg and the switchback to get in/out of town, and I'd like to avoid THAT if at all possible. Which means packing plenty of food for day 1, which will take us to Rockwood, PA (about 45-50 miles)
The switchback is easier than just going straight up the hill. Itís actually not that bad. The campground is a bit of a bad joke. Itís on top of the hill up a long ramp with a lot of stairs. Not really bikeable so you have to schlep all your gear to the campsite, schlep down to the hotel to use the bathroom/shower, and schlep all your stuff back down the hill. I opted for a hotel room at the bottom of the hill.

The ride is pretty much over when you get to the Eastern Continental Divide (itís so cute!). After that just put your feet up and coast all the way to Pittsburgh.
__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is offline  
Likes For cyccommute:
Old 04-15-22, 12:14 PM
  #6  
Sertsa
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 162
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 156 Times in 64 Posts
Thanks for asking this, as the GAP has been on my bucketlist since returning to riding. My hardtail mountain bike probably isn't the best choice, though, mostly in that it can't carry much (and I believe the tires are too large to take the train down, as they're a bit over 2" wide). My plan has been to find a hotel and parking in Pittsburgh, take an Amtrak to Cumberland, then attempt riding back to Pittsburgh in two days.
Sertsa is offline  
Old 04-17-22, 05:03 PM
  #7  
jeneralist 
Senior Member
 
jeneralist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 838

Bikes: Breezer EX Uptown with Bafang controller (e-bike); Cannondale Adventure 400; Bilenky Ti Tourlite

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 22 Posts
Did it in 2010, eastbound. Did it slowly (7 days) and gently, with a mix of camping and motels. Had a blast! Write-up at Another Theena at the GAP/C&O
__________________
- Jeneralist
jeneralist is offline  
Old 04-18-22, 11:14 PM
  #8  
exercion
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Central PA
Posts: 89

Bikes: Cannondales: Synapse 5 Carbon and F5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 24 Posts
Originally Posted by Sertsa View Post
Thanks for asking this, as the GAP has been on my bucketlist since returning to riding. My hardtail mountain bike probably isn't the best choice, though, mostly in that it can't carry much (and I believe the tires are too large to take the train down, as they're a bit over 2" wide). My plan has been to find a hotel and parking in Pittsburgh, take an Amtrak to Cumberland, then attempt riding back to Pittsburgh in two days.
Check Hampton Inn in Pgh. I stayed there so I could catch the train back to Cumberland, but I hear if you're staying a night there, you can park your car til you get back, and it's about 5 minutes by bicycle from the train station. As to carry capacity, depends on what you want to take and how you plan to overnight. I was not camping, so I cobbled together a bag to use as a handlebar mount on my road bike, and between it and the camelback mule that was the extent of my gear.

My travel companion had to get the requisite age/milemarker photo. I'll be looking for mine tomorrow.
exercion is offline  
Likes For exercion:
Old 04-19-22, 04:21 PM
  #9  
Sertsa
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 162
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 156 Times in 64 Posts
Originally Posted by exercion View Post
Check Hampton Inn in Pgh. I stayed there so I could catch the train back to Cumberland, but I hear if you're staying a night there, you can park your car til you get back, and it's about 5 minutes by bicycle from the train station. As to carry capacity, depends on what you want to take and how you plan to overnight. I was not camping, so I cobbled together a bag to use as a handlebar mount on my road bike, and between it and the camelback mule that was the extent of my gear.

My travel companion had to get the requisite age/milemarker photo. I'll be looking for mine tomorrow.
Groovy, thanks! That looks like a nice setup. I'll have to look into a Camelback Mule as I like to keep fairly minimalist.
Sertsa is offline  
Old 04-24-22, 11:26 AM
  #10  
csport
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: /dev/null
Posts: 588

Bikes: Soma Double Cross Disc (2017), red Hardrock FS (circa 1996)

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 191 Post(s)
Liked 105 Times in 70 Posts
Did it several times, totally doable, especially if you start fresh from Cumberland. Last year I did Hancock to Frostburg in one day.
csport is offline  
Likes For csport:
Old 04-24-22, 05:37 PM
  #11  
Ubie
Full Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: 20,000 leagues under the sea
Posts: 417

Bikes: 2019 CO-OP DRT 1.2, 2001 Trek 2200, 2021 Cannondale Topstone 1 Alloy

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked 72 Times in 37 Posts
Local boy scout troop did it 2 years ago, fully carry for 5 days I think (130 or 150mi total). No SAG I mean. Troop leader is 260lbs+ and rides a Jamis MTB that last was serviced during the Obama administration. He was tired, but found it very doable.
Ubie is offline  
Likes For Ubie:
Old 04-26-22, 04:27 AM
  #12  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 35,867
Mentioned: 204 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16470 Post(s)
Liked 11,261 Times in 5,467 Posts
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The switchback is easier than just going straight up the hill. Itís actually not that bad. The campground is a bit of a bad joke. Itís on top of the hill up a long ramp with a lot of stairs. Not really bikeable so you have to schlep all your gear to the campsite, schlep down to the hotel to use the bathroom/shower, and schlep all your stuff back down the hill. I opted for a hotel room at the bottom of the hill.
Heh. I camped there in 2019.

Yes. The switchbacks are not bad at all. The ramp up to the camping area is insane. I pushed my loaded bike up it. I felt like I was going to snap my legs off at the knees. No way I was going to try to walk a loaded bike down the next morning, so I had to carry down my gear. And the camping area was not that nice. Some rickety picnic tables, biting bugs, and it needed a mow.
indyfabz is offline  
Likes For indyfabz:
Old 04-26-22, 06:41 AM
  #13  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 35,867
Mentioned: 204 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16470 Post(s)
Liked 11,261 Times in 5,467 Posts
Originally Posted by a_d_a_m View Post
Appreciate the responses, folks.
I noticed the thing with Frostburg and the switchback to get in/out of town, and I'd like to avoid THAT if at all possible. Which means packing plenty of food for day 1, which will take us to Rockwood, PA (about 45-50 miles)
A couple of things:

1. Look at where some of the services are in Frostburg. If you are planning to cook, the grocery store is way down the hill on the main drag. There is decent Mexican not that far from the campground. You can actually walk. There is a back way out of the camping area to get up to the main drag.

2. There is no real grocery store in Rockwood. The closest thing is a small dollar store with a pretty limited selection. The last time I stayed there I already had dried pasta. Dinner was that with canned chili and canned mushrooms. The Opera House has pizza which is I have heard is really good, but note that it is not open on Sundays. Notice the cyclists:

498 Water Level Rd - Google Maps

There are a couple of other places on PA 653, but they are not open every day. The gas station/convenience store on the left right after you cross the bridge into the center of town is another option. Open every day.

3. If you are camping, at Husky Haven you might want ear plugs. I shot this back in 2013 (wait for it):


4. The "climb" up to the divide is not difficult, but you will notice you are heading up hill. Just take it easy. Hopefully, you won't have a strong headwind. I did the time I rode the trail in that direction.

5. The GAP Trail Campground in W. Newton is really nice, but pricey as camping goes, and you have to book and pay on line. It's not difficult to do. The restaurant along the trail above the bike shop was surprisingly good.
indyfabz is offline  
Likes For indyfabz:
Old 04-26-22, 07:15 PM
  #14  
a_d_a_m
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
a_d_a_m's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Ohio
Posts: 439

Bikes: 2021 Kona Sutra, Ragley parts-cycle

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 118 Post(s)
Liked 1,019 Times in 268 Posts
Thanks, indy. The camping tips won't apply this time as we are doing a BNB and two hotels...will keep in mind for future tour purposes.

We are actually dropping the rental near Frostburg, so we aren't technically doing the whole GAP. We'll stock up on food/drink for the day beforehand and just lug it up the Divide with us. Glad to hear the climb isn't TOO bad. If it's a consistent railroad grade, I can survive it...I hope.

The plan is to hit Rockwood on Friday early evening (6ish), hopefully in time to get food at Rock City Cafe (which closes at 8pm) or Trailside Brewing (which closes at 9pm), which is a newer place that may in fact have taken over the dollar store you got your dry pasta at. Aside, Dollar General is open 'til 10pm that night so I can at least find SOMEthing.
a_d_a_m is offline  
Old 04-27-22, 05:01 AM
  #15  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 35,867
Mentioned: 204 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16470 Post(s)
Liked 11,261 Times in 5,467 Posts
Originally Posted by a_d_a_m View Post
Thanks, indy. The camping tips won't apply this time as we are doing a BNB and two hotels...will keep in mind for future tour purposes.

We are actually dropping the rental near Frostburg, so we aren't technically doing the whole GAP. We'll stock up on food/drink for the day beforehand and just lug it up the Divide with us. Glad to hear the climb isn't TOO bad. If it's a consistent railroad grade, I can survive it...I hope.

The plan is to hit Rockwood on Friday early evening (6ish), hopefully in time to get food at Rock City Cafe (which closes at 8pm) or Trailside Brewing (which closes at 9pm), which is a newer place that may in fact have taken over the dollar store you got your dry pasta at. Aside, Dollar General is open 'til 10pm that night so I can at least find SOMEthing.
I saw that brewery on Google Maps. I donít think it was there when I stayed in Rockwood during my 2020 cross-PA tour.

If you want to take a short detour with one very short hill I can show you how to get to the house where Buffalo Bill lived in ďSilence of the Lambs.Ē Itís now a stay experience lodging place that sells Skin Suit So Soft body lotion.


indyfabz is offline  
Old 06-16-22, 12:08 PM
  #16  
a_d_a_m
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
a_d_a_m's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Ohio
Posts: 439

Bikes: 2021 Kona Sutra, Ragley parts-cycle

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 118 Post(s)
Liked 1,019 Times in 268 Posts
I suppose I never followed up on this thread to say I survived the GAP, though Motherf***** Nature really tried to screw us the first day...

We had humidity and fog for the first 15 or so miles of the trip which was, as people have said here, a relentless but doable climb. The sun burned off the fog just outside of Frostburg and it became very, very hot. Then, while taking a break at the trailside pavilion in Frostburg, our phones all alerted that a thunderstorm was fast approaching. Borden Tunnel was 2.3 miles ahead and I thought we could make it if we hustled. That plan backfired and we ended up about a half mile away standing under a tree while it hailed, poured, and tornado sirens sang in the background. Once the hail let off, we pushed into the tunnel which we found freezing. Stayed there for an hour or so while the storm passed, and then continued the next 7 miles up to the ECD. The scenery was nice but overall I would rate the group morale as miserable on Day 1. We were burned out after the ECD and just hauled ass into Rockwood to lick our wounds for the night.

Day 2 from Rockwood to Connellsville was pretty uneventful as the weather was palatable and the scenery was perfect. Good recharge day. Big fan of the Comfort Inn in Connellsville.

Day 3 was not as expected; started out okay but 60 miles was more than I was mentally willing to do - especially once we got waylaid by a detour and maybe almost mugged in McKeesport near a boarded-up plaza whose only open tenant was Subway (hey, the sandwich was decent at least). For all the talk of the GAP being "downhill all the way to Pittsburgh"....well, I guess it's downhill until you get to Pittsburgh, then hills come back. I only had to walk once the entire ride and it was the hill leading up to the 15th Street Bridge off River Ridge Road. Wasn't geared properly. The rain came back shortly thereafter and I had to ask an eastbound tourist if we still were on the right track - must have missed a sign or it just didn't exist - he confirmed we were good. We were soaked and cold by the time we got to Point State Park. I must have been a sight when I checked into the hotel.

I've only done two tours, the GAP and OTET. For the GAP, I like that it's a shorter tour with beautiful scenery and there's really nowhere to get lost other than McKeesport and briefly in Pittsburgh. I did get numb to the 'green tunnel' effect a few times, though. And I definitely needed to eat more, which I would have done if there were more towns convenient to the trailside. Lastly, the climb to start the trail as you ride westbound is a bit challenging. I think that's where OTET has a few advantages. It may not be as scenic but it's fairly hard to hurt yourself - there's always somewhere to stop and eat, resupply, etc. And there are no relentless 23-mile climbs on OTET which is real nice.
a_d_a_m is offline  
Likes For a_d_a_m:
Old 06-17-22, 06:10 AM
  #17  
exercion
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Central PA
Posts: 89

Bikes: Cannondales: Synapse 5 Carbon and F5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 24 Posts
Great trip report, glad to hear you did the ride. Quite a nice accomplishment and it sounds like you came away with memories and stories, so I count it a major success.
exercion is offline  
Likes For exercion:
Old 06-17-22, 10:32 PM
  #18  
csport
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: /dev/null
Posts: 588

Bikes: Soma Double Cross Disc (2017), red Hardrock FS (circa 1996)

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 191 Post(s)
Liked 105 Times in 70 Posts
Originally Posted by a_d_a_m View Post
I think that's where OTET has a few advantages. It may not be as scenic but it's fairly hard to hurt yourself - there's always somewhere to stop and eat, resupply, etc.
What about the campgrounds? I am planning to ride the OTET this year for the first time. What I liked about the GAP is the frequent campgrounds which are right on the trail - Dravo, West Newton GAP Trail Campground, Cedar Creek, Roundbottom, Adelaide KOA, Connellsville, Ohiopyle (not on the trail), Confluence, Rockwood, Meyersdale, Frostburg, Y at Cumberland. C&O has primitive campsites every 5-10 miles. If you cannot make the planned distance for the day you can stop earlier. This was not the case on the Erie Canal (Buffalo to Albany), what about the OTET?
csport is offline  
Old 06-27-22, 06:39 AM
  #19  
a_d_a_m
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
a_d_a_m's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Ohio
Posts: 439

Bikes: 2021 Kona Sutra, Ragley parts-cycle

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 118 Post(s)
Liked 1,019 Times in 268 Posts
Originally Posted by csport View Post
What about the campgrounds? I am planning to ride the OTET this year for the first time. What I liked about the GAP is the frequent campgrounds which are right on the trail - Dravo, West Newton GAP Trail Campground, Cedar Creek, Roundbottom, Adelaide KOA, Connellsville, Ohiopyle (not on the trail), Confluence, Rockwood, Meyersdale, Frostburg, Y at Cumberland. C&O has primitive campsites every 5-10 miles. If you cannot make the planned distance for the day you can stop earlier. This was not the case on the Erie Canal (Buffalo to Albany), what about the OTET?
Definitely not as many on OTET but there are several as linked: https://ohiotoerietrail.org/assets/u...11_11_2019.pdf
Not all are trailside so research accordingly.
The London campsite is popular for all of the right reasons: https://fmcpt.com/london-trailside-camping
a_d_a_m is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.