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Pike2Bike - Abandoned PA Turnpike experience

Old 05-24-20, 03:07 PM
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Bill in VA
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Pike2Bike - Abandoned PA Turnpike experience

We have been considering doing this ride for a few years.

Is this a ride suitable for road bikes? Is it possible on 25's or 32mm road tires. I know you need good lights for the tunnels. A friend has done it and she said she has seen some road bikes, but her response was really more cautionary than a recommendation based upon broken roadway..

I ask because the wife's bike is limited to 28mm road tires. I can go up to 35 cross tires easy and 38 Rene Herse road tires with closer clearances.
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Old 05-26-20, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill in VA View Post
We have been considering doing this ride for a few years.

Is this a ride suitable for road bikes? Is it possible on 25's or 32mm road tires. I know you need good lights for the tunnels. A friend has done it and she said she has seen some road bikes, but her response was really more cautionary than a recommendation based upon broken roadway..

I ask because the wife's bike is limited to 28mm road tires. I can go up to 35 cross tires easy and 38 Rene Herse road tires with closer clearances.
I've ridden the Abandoned Turnpike 3 times, all on 700x35 tires. The last time was in the autumn of 2018. The road surface is tired asphalt, cracking in some areas, heaved up in others, and completely peeled in others, but it was possible to find a decent line. It isn't a fast ride as a result. The surfaces in the tunnels are pretty good. I'd do it on 32's but I'd be hesitant on 25s. I'd think it would be a bone-jarring ride on the narrower tire. You already know that good lights are a necessity - make sure they are freshly charged or new batteries (depending on what you are running).
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Old 05-26-20, 06:47 PM
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I posted a couple of ride reports on these threads:

Abandoned Pa Turnpike Tunnels
Abandoned Turnpike - Central PA

The threads contain some good info.
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Old 05-26-20, 11:18 PM
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Thanks for the links. I did a search, but did not come up with those. We may have to await next year.
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Old 05-27-20, 05:19 AM
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I did it a few years ago on 28mm tires, no issues. It was fun, but a long way to go from here in MD for a fairly short ride. Definitely echo the "bring good strong lights" comment.
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Old 05-27-20, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
I've ridden the Abandoned Turnpike 3 times, all on 700x35 tires. The last time was in the autumn of 2018. The road surface is tired asphalt, cracking in some areas, heaved up in others, and completely peeled in others, but it was possible to find a decent line. It isn't a fast ride as a result. The surfaces in the tunnels are pretty good. I'd do it on 32's but I'd be hesitant on 25s. I'd think it would be a bone-jarring ride on the narrower tire. You already know that good lights are a necessity - make sure they are freshly charged or new batteries (depending on what you are running).
Did it fully loaded in 2013. I agree with the above. Friend did it a few years ago lightly loaded during a credit card tour. I suspect he had 28c tires. He survived, but it wasnít the smoothest of rides.

I recommend some cool weather upper clothing, such as a windbreaker. Something more if itís cold out. The ambient temperature remains relatively cool in the tunnels. When I rode it, it was very warm and humid for a September day. The tunnels were a welcome relief.

At the time you could still see the faint remnants of median stripes in the tunnels. I used them for orientation. There is a crown near the east end of the easterly tunnel, so you cannot see the light at the end until you get closer to its east portal.

Bring a picnic lunch. I rode it on a Tuesday. Saw one young couple out for a walk. That was it. I think it could make a cool place to stealth camp as long as itís not near the tunnels. There was ample evidence of beer parties there.
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Old 05-27-20, 11:57 PM
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Thanks all for your info.

We are thinking of moving to PA, so this might be an add-on for a real estate trip in the fall..Like the Animals used to sing, "We gotta get out of this place..."
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Old 05-28-20, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I recommend some cool weather upper clothing, such as a windbreaker. Something more if itís cold out. The ambient temperature remains relatively cool in the tunnels. When I rode it, it was very warm and humid for a September day. The tunnels were a welcome relief.
That's a good suggestion. I rode it once in May and it was a warm day so the time in the tunnels felt good - depending on the wind, you can feel the cool air blowing out of the tunnels for a fair distance. A cool day might make a light jacket feel good, especially if you dismount and explore the interior "art" work a bit.
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Old 05-28-20, 03:09 PM
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Not great on the tires because of the rough terrain but doable
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Old 05-28-20, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
That's a good suggestion. I rode it once in May and it was a warm day so the time in the tunnels felt good - depending on the wind, you can feel the cool air blowing out of the tunnels for a fair distance.
Heh. When I exited the second tunnel back into the heat and humidity I didn't want to keep going because standing close enough to the portal felt like standing in front of an air conditioner.
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Old 05-29-20, 04:08 AM
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Years ago (2004 or 2005) I did a three day solo bike tour from York PA to Cumberland MD mostly via PA Bike Route S. On the second day, I was going from Fayetteville PA (near Chambersburg) to Breezewood and there must have been some recent organized ride shortly before my ride because there were spray painted turn directions on the road that pretty much matched my route on PA Rt. S.

When the road I was on ended at a T, my route was a right turn to climb a very steep hill to get over to Rt. 30 down into Breezewood. On the ground at the T (something like Mountain Chapel Road?) was spray painted:
  • <--- Tunnel
  • Hill --->
I thought the Tunnel smiley face was a joke, I turned right and had to push my loaded bike up parts of this monster hill. Years later I found out it was for real!
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Old 05-29-20, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Heh. When I exited the second tunnel back into the heat and humidity I didn't want to keep going because standing close enough to the portal felt like standing in front of an air conditioner.
I haven't witnessed it myself, but I've read when conditions are right, fog can form at the mouth of the tunnels as the cold air hits the humidity.
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Old 06-07-20, 03:44 PM
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Sounds like a neat place. It's been mentioned over the years on here.

140 Miles to an abandoned road, or 150 to the beach........
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Old 06-08-20, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by StarBiker View Post
Sounds like a neat place. It's been mentioned over the years on here.

140 Miles to an abandoned road, or 150 to the beach........
Less traffic at your destination point with the Abandoned TP.
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Old 09-20-21, 07:00 AM
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Update - on the way back from Carlisle PA, I thought I'd sneak in a Pike 2 Pike ride. The eastern end now seems to end in private property with a "Trail Parking $2" sign and a "Not Responsible for Accidents" sign. The western/Breezewood end has a small parking area and the path up the hill is now paved but some folks coming back said there was a fence over the tunnel entrance. I didn't verify that, gave up and headed home.

Googling a bit found this - looks like it has gone backwards since I rode that stretch 10 years ago.
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Old 09-21-21, 02:41 PM
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Hmmm, this is an interesting turn of events. I was thinking about riding it again in October. We last rode it in mid-November 2020 on a perfect, unseasonably warm autumn day. The tunnels were open then.

-Edit-
Alltrails website has some very recent entries without mention of the tunnels being blocked. AllTrails on the Abandoned Turnpike Trail

I don't know what's going on with the eastern end - it felt a little hinky in November. We always start/end at the Breezewood side.

Last edited by Altair 4; 09-21-21 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 09-21-21, 07:37 PM
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Hmm.

Rode it again west to east last September. Encountered 3 walkers in the east tunnel.


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