Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

GAP and C&O Questions

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

GAP and C&O Questions

Old 05-06-15, 08:15 AM
  #1  
dwrz
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 35
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
GAP and C&O Questions

Hoping to ride the GAP and C&O in early June, Pittsburgh to DC.

Would appreciate any general insight or advice, but also have a few specific questions:

1. I'm on a budget, so I'd like to avoid eating out. On the other hand, I'd also like to avoid having to carry the stove/pots/fuel, if I can. Is this possible? Are there enough supermarkets along the trail?

2. I'll be riding a Surly Troll, 26" wheels. I've got Marathon Mondials (26x2.15, tread, heavier) and Marathon Supremes (26x2.0, minimal tread, lighter). I'm guessing the Supremes will be the better option?

3. Do any campsites have outlets? If so, which ones?

4. What can I expect in terms of weather?

5. It seems most try to aim for 60 miles a day. Would 80 or more be possible, while still taking the time to stop for photos? I've done a couple of 200K brevets and was fine riding the day after.

I'm sure a few more questions will come up. Thanks in advance!
dwrz is offline  
Old 05-06-15, 08:44 AM
  #2  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,661
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1320 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 45 Times in 29 Posts
Originally Posted by dwrz View Post
Hoping to ride the GAP and C&O in early June, Pittsburgh to DC.

Would appreciate any general insight or advice, but also have a few specific questions:

1. I'm on a budget, so I'd like to avoid eating out. On the other hand, I'd also like to avoid having to carry the stove/pots/fuel, if I can. Is this possible? Are there enough supermarkets along the trail? You can always eat cold food. Connellsville has free camping and a grocery store 1 minute away. There are plenty of places along the way to buy food.

2. I'll be riding a Surly Troll, 26" wheels. I've got Marathon Mondials (26x2.15, tread, heavier) and Marathon Supremes (26x2.0, minimal tread, lighter). I'm guessing the Supremes will be the better option? Supremes will be fine, but install fenders for the C&O. I also have a Troll, and it is the perfect bike for the trip.

3. Do any campsites have outlets? If so, which ones? Connellsville does. Hiker/biker sites on the C&O don't.

4. What can I expect in terms of weather? Probably hot and humid, but possibly cool. It was 50F at night last July 4 in Connellsville. The GAP is going to be cooler than the C&O due to elevation.

5. It seems most try to aim for 60 miles a day. Would 80 or more be possible, while still taking the time to stop for photos? I've done a couple of 200K brevets and was fine riding the day after. Depends on you. I can do 90 a day no problem, but it's a lot of miles. 60-80 should be no problem for most.

I'm sure a few more questions will come up. Thanks in advance!
See above.
alan s is offline  
Old 05-06-15, 10:44 AM
  #3  
motorapido
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: harrisburg, pennsylvania
Posts: 337

Bikes: 1976 Schwinn Super Le Tour, tricked out with modern components. Shimano Alfine 11 internal gear hub. Dynamo hub. Titanium racks and bottle cages. Mercier Kilo Wide Tire dropbar singlespeed

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
advice from four-time GAP/C&O solo through-tourist

I ride a 39 year old traditional steel sports touring frame. I can fit a 38mm tire up front and a 35 in back. That is excellent for the rougher C&O section. I have ridden it with 32s front and back. Do not run heavy tread. If the C&O is very muddy (count on it), you will kick up too much mud. You will be fine with minimal tread. I will be riding the entire trail in June, too. I will probably put a 35mm Panaracer t-serve in front and a 35mm Vittoria Randonneur Trail in back. When riding Pitts - DC, you ascend the continental divide in a more pleasant way than when riding in the reverse directly. You will feel the incline mainly between Ohiopyle and the summit. Then you will fly like a rocket downhill past Frostburg, and keep rolling easily to Cumberland.

You will need to carefully plan your food supply. I have not been cooking lately on tour, and instead have been eating in restaurants when that is convenient and buying non-cook items to eat in camp when I can do that. Along the GAP, after you pass Ohiopyle, you will start to encounter fewer reliable food options. You have Rockwood up at the top of the divide. A couple restaurants and a store or two where you can buy food. Then Frostburg. Then Cumberland. You then hit a long stretch with few options if any. Do as much planning in advance as you can. Nothing is worse than going hungry in camp. Water is no problem on the GAP/C&O, but food planning is important.
motorapido is offline  
Old 05-06-15, 01:31 PM
  #4  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,794

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1235 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
I do not know you well enough to guess on your capacity for miles. I did not see a lot of power outlets for camping, we camped one night at a park next to YMCA in Cumberland, they probably would let you plug in for a charge if you ask. Food, of course you can eat food without cooking it and without restaurants, but you might get tired of peanut butter sandwiches. Weather? - It depends on when you go, I like the long range forecasts on WUnderground.com but I do not trust any forecast out more than about 7 days.

Cumberland, Maryland (21501) Conditions & Forecast | Weather Underground

Three of us did it in May 2013, I had 50mm wide tires (Schwalbe Dureme front, Extreme rear), one in our group had 47mm wide tires and one had 37mm wide touring tires. All three of us concluded that our tires were just fine. We had a lot of rain and some parts of the GAP were pretty soft from that but the C&O seemed to have a more firm base.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg
20IMGP4213.jpg (73.8 KB, 61 views)
File Type: jpg
20IMGP4222.jpg (100.8 KB, 60 views)
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 05-06-15, 01:56 PM
  #5  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 22,457
Mentioned: 163 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8590 Post(s)
Liked 338 Times in 215 Posts
Did the GAP a few years ago as part of a cross-PA tour.

Got a hoagie at the bar in Boston.

As AlanS notes, there is a large supermarket within sight of the free camping place along the trail in Connellsville. The camping area is nice. Tables, drinking water, a vault toilet and two Adirondack shelters.

Rockwood had a small dollar store, but no real grocery store. I ended up getting two cans of white beans and having them with pasta I was carrying. There are a couple of places in town to get prepared food, including what looked like an inexpensive bar/restaurant at the east end of town. I camped at Husky Haven in Rockwood. It's right along the trail. The center of town is a short walk or ride across the river. The camping fee for Husky Haven entitles you to free firewood and to use the amenities of their bunkhouse in town. Showers, bathroom and indoor recreation area. I am pretty sure I charged my phone there. (AlanS confirms that I seemed to remember getting power at Connellsville.) No water at the campground, but there are gallon jugs outside the bunkhouse. You can fill one/some, bring it back to camp and leave it there when you leave. The owner will drive it back to the bunkhouse. If you camp there, I highly recommend ear plugs due to train noise. Here is the video I made. Turn up your computer's volume to get the realistic effect:



BTW...Rockwood is not at the top of the divide. It's at least 12 miles more to the divide.

I didn't see a grocery store in Cumberland, but I didn't look for one. I would bet there is one. There are also numerous places to eat out.

As for mileage, I started at Point State Park in PGH and rode to Connellsville the first day. That was maybe 65 miles or so. It was enough. Keep in mind that it's a net elevation gain all the way to the divide east of Rockwood. The gradual up hill along with a headwind much of the way made the day more taxing than I thought it would be. But keep in mind that I was carrying a full load, including a good amount of cooking gear.

Have you looked at the GAPs official web site? It contains a map showing the locations of various services.

Last edited by indyfabz; 05-07-15 at 05:06 AM.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 05-06-15, 02:03 PM
  #6  
Altair 4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Along the Rivers of Pittsburgh
Posts: 994

Bikes: 2011 Novara Forza Hybrid, 2005 Trek 820, 1989 Cannondale SR500 Black Lightning, 1975 Mundo Cycles Caloi Racer

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Weather? - It depends on when you go, I like the long range forecasts on WUnderground.com but I do not trust any forecast out more than about 7 days.
This made me recall my GAP trip in July 2011, over a Thursday thru Saturday ride. The Wednesday evening weather forecast on all outlets (National Weather, Weather.com, Accuweather, etc.) to a one called for perfect weather for our ride days (upper 70's to low 80's, no rain). We got started in Homestead and by the time we got to McKeesport, the sky was getting overcast. It rained off and on from Boston to Connellsville, our first night's stop. Okay, so not too bad.

Thursday, we wake up to sullen skies. it rained steadily, with bouts of lightning, from Connellsville to somehere way past Confluence. We were actually getting really cold and begged for trash bags from a restaurant in Ohiopyle to fashion into makeshift ponchos. The last ten miles into Rockwood, the threat of rain hung over us, keeping the air really humid and muggy. The payoff was when we got started on Saturday morning in Rockwood, the sky was a crystalline blue. The humidity had dropped to next to nothing and the temperatures got into the 80's - perfect summer day. It was a great trip and we had fun, but the rain did make the trail slow and messy. We made a lot of Young Frankenstein jokes -

Bottom line - never trust the forecast in the mountains of Pennsylvania. I now pack a large green trash bag along on my long trips. Weighs next to nothing and can be used for a variety of things, like makeshift raingear.
Altair 4 is offline  
Old 05-06-15, 02:14 PM
  #7  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,490

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3345 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 27 Posts
Weather was is going to depend on when you go. I will assume you are not from the area so I would advise not to start your trip before May or after end of September. While it can be very pleasant outside those dates it can also be miserable cold.

All the free sites will not have electricity. Evan the paid sites do not have outlets at the site unless you pay for it. Husky Haven does not have electricity at all that I know of.

Look me up if you need help in Pittsburgh.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 05-07-15, 09:12 AM
  #8  
bktourer1
Senior Member
 
bktourer1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Western Ma.
Posts: 792

Bikes: Diamondback "parkway" Spec. "expedition

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
When I did the GAP I found a $10 guide book that covered both the C&O & the GAP. Try Rails to Trails site
bktourer1 is offline  
Old 05-07-15, 09:34 AM
  #9  
tarwheel 
Senior Member
 
tarwheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 8,906

Bikes: Waterford RST-22, Bob Jackson World Tour, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Soma Saga, De Bernardi SL, Specialized Sequoia

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 194 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I rode the GAP-C&O trails last June and planning a sequel in mid-May. We stayed in hotels/inns along the way and ate out at restaurants the whole way (except the B&Bs that included breakfast). However, there were reasonably priced options for restaurants at nearly every stop, and frankly eating out was some of my fondest memories of the trip.

We all rode touring bikes. My bike had 32 mm Panaracer Paselas, which were wide enough but I would have preferred more tread in muddier sections of the C&O. This year I will have Clement LAS 33s, which should be just about right in terms of tread and width, and are also reasonably light weight (350 g).

The weather is almost totally a crapshoot. Temperatures shouldn't be an issue, but rain is totally unpredictable. We got lucky last year and only got rained on twice -- once a brief 5-minute shower, and the other a thorough soaking in the last hour of riding one day. I brought a rain jacket last year and will bring it again this year. I also brought a vest, leg and arm warmers, and long-fingered gloves for colder mornings. Elevations are fairly high when crossing the Continental Divide, so you could encounter cool temperatures then as well.

We averaged about 60 miles/day, which was about right for our group. We could have ridden as much as 80 (and did one day), but that would have left less time for exploring towns, eating out, taking photos, etc. We averaged about 12 mph for the whole trip, about 4 mph slower than typical road tours. The gravel surface (as well as mud and dirt on the C&O) and loaded panniers will slow you down. Check this website for details on stores, lodging, campsites at each town along the way.

Great Allegheny Passage & C&O Canal Trail Trail Maps, Businesses, Events, Mileage, and more

Last edited by tarwheel; 05-07-15 at 02:04 PM.
tarwheel is offline  
Old 05-07-15, 10:56 AM
  #10  
Flog00 
Senior Member
 
Flog00's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Milan, Ohio
Posts: 1,483

Bikes: Tomii Touring

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 156 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
I rode the GAP-C&O trails last June and planning a sequel in mid-May. We stayed in hotels/inns along the way and ate out at restaurants the whole way (except the B&Bs that included breakfast). However, there were reasonably priced options for restaurants at nearly every stop, and frankly eating out was some of my fondest memories of the trip. We all rode touring bikes. My bike had 32 mm Panaracer Paselas, which were wide enough but I would have preferred more tread in muddier sections of the C&O. This year I will have Clement LAS 33s, which should be just about right in terms of tread and width, and are also reasonably light weight (350 g). The weather is almost totally a crapshoot. Temperatures shouldn't be an issue, but rain is totally unpredictable. We got lucky last year and only got rained on twice -- once a brief 5-minute shower, and the other a thorough soaking in the last hour of riding one day. I brought a rain jacket last year and will bring it again this year. I also brought a vest, leg and arm warmers, and long-fingered gloves for colder mornings. Elevations are fairly high when crossing the Continental Divide, so you could encounter cool temperatures then as well. We averaged about 60 miles/day, which was about right for our group. We could have ridden as much as 80 (and did one day), but that would have left less time for exploring towns, eating out, taking photos, etc. We averaged about 12 mph for the whole trip, about 4 mph slower than typical road tours. The gravel surface (as well as mud and dirt on the C&O) and loaded panniers will slow you down. Check this website for details on stores, lodging, campsites at each town along the way. Great Allegheny Passage & C&O Canal Trail Trail Maps, Businesses, Events, Mileage, and more
What did you budget for food and lodging? East to west?
Flog00 is offline  
Old 05-07-15, 02:06 PM
  #11  
tarwheel 
Senior Member
 
tarwheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 8,906

Bikes: Waterford RST-22, Bob Jackson World Tour, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Soma Saga, De Bernardi SL, Specialized Sequoia

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 194 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Flog00 View Post
What did you budget for food and lodging? East to west?
We didn't really set a budget, but my share of the total expenses was probably $400-500 for hotels, food and Amtrak ticket from DC to Pitt. Not bad for a week-long trip with no camping.
tarwheel is offline  
Old 05-07-15, 04:40 PM
  #12  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,490

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3345 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 27 Posts
Originally Posted by bktourer1 View Post
When I did the GAP I found a $10 guide book that covered both the C&O & the GAP. Try Rails to Trails site
IMHO the guide book is a great read if you want to learn a bit of the history of the trails but a pretty poor guide book for planning. The websites are far better.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 05-07-15, 05:14 PM
  #13  
bktourer1
Senior Member
 
bktourer1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Western Ma.
Posts: 792

Bikes: Diamondback "parkway" Spec. "expedition

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The book also has a great map of both trails included
bktourer1 is offline  
Old 05-07-15, 05:45 PM
  #14  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,490

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3345 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 27 Posts
Originally Posted by bktourer1 View Post
The book also has a great map of both trails included
The big map is really nice but the free handouts will suffice.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 05-08-15, 03:51 PM
  #15  
dwrz
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 35
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Just want to thank everyone for their input so far. Very grateful for all the assistance.

I've got another question: is it worth bringing a lock? If so, how heavy duty? U-lock? Abus Bordo? Cable lock? Knog Milkman?

My bus is set to arrive in PGH around midnight. I figure I'll probably get on the trail and ride to the Davos campground. Or... is that not a good idea?

FYI: will run Supremes, ordered the trail book, found some useful PDF maps, going to shoot for 80 miles, will pick campsites and then mark places to restock on food.

If I had a 700c dynamo wheel, I'd take my cross bike and run 32-35's. Alas...
dwrz is offline  
Old 05-08-15, 04:39 PM
  #16  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,794

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1235 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by dwrz View Post
...
I've got another question: is it worth bringing a lock? If so, how heavy duty? U-lock? Abus Bordo? Cable lock? Knog Milkman?

My bus is set to arrive in PGH around midnight. I figure I'll probably get on the trail and ride to the Davos campground. Or... is that not a good idea?...
If it was me and if the bus station was open all night, I would get my bike assembled, panniers packed, then snooze on a bench in the station until sunrise.

I always take a lock. Bring what you want based on how comfortable you are that your lock will be good enough. I use a steel cable, about 6 feet long and it coils up nicely when not in use, use a separate padlock on it. If I am staying at a hostel, bring a spare padlock in case they have lockable lockers.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 05-08-15, 07:43 PM
  #17  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,661
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1320 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 45 Times in 29 Posts
I bring a lock because I sleep with ear plugs and probably wouldn't hear someone. BTW, ear plugs can come in handy, as the trains run through the same route. There are areas where you are away from them, but some camping areas are very close to tracks.
alan s is offline  
Old 05-08-15, 10:00 PM
  #18  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,490

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3345 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 27 Posts
Originally Posted by dwrz View Post
Just want to thank everyone for their input so far. Very grateful for all the assistance.


My bus is set to arrive in PGH around midnight. I figure I'll probably get on the trail and ride to the Davos campground. Or... is that not a good idea?
I would not ride the bike path out of town and I live here. Lots of homeless people with campsites along the trail and lots of graffiti, which could be a sign of gang activity. I have seen what I suspect were drug deals going down near the trail during the day. Fortunately it was on the other side of a chain link fence and I just minded my own business. I have not heard of anyone actually getting attack on the trail but then again probably no one is dumb enough to ride the trail at night.

Your problem is going to be were to spend your night. It has been my experience that that the guards at the Greyhound station are total ****** bags and most likely will not allow you to remain in the station. Your problem is going to be were to spend your night. If it is a Friday or Saturday night, I could probably pick you up. But I live on the opposite end of town from the trail so you would lose about a half day or so coming here. I can't think of any place downtown outside of spending +$100 for a hotel room that would be a good place to stay.

Last edited by spinnaker; 05-09-15 at 08:01 AM.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 05-09-15, 06:02 AM
  #19  
Altair 4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Along the Rivers of Pittsburgh
Posts: 994

Bikes: 2011 Novara Forza Hybrid, 2005 Trek 820, 1989 Cannondale SR500 Black Lightning, 1975 Mundo Cycles Caloi Racer

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by dwrz View Post
My bus is set to arrive in PGH around midnight. I figure I'll probably get on the trail and ride to the Davos campground. Or... is that not a good idea?
Technically speaking, the Heritage Trails in Pittsburgh are open dawn to dusk. I haven't looked it up for the other trail councils, but I won't be surprised if they have similar rules of the road.

What Spinnaker says about homeless folks living in some areas near the trail in the urban area is true. Even on early morning rides, I've seen and smelled small camp fires. I've also had a few come out of the woods along the trail right in front of me at unexpected places while riding in the early morning. It's a hard life.
Altair 4 is offline  
Old 05-09-15, 06:20 AM
  #20  
dwrz
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 35
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the local insight, spinnaker and Altair. Sorry to hear about the situation, but good to know -- I'll probably try to see if I can find a host.
dwrz is offline  
Old 05-09-15, 06:29 AM
  #21  
irwin7638
Senior Member
 
irwin7638's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Kalamazoo, Mi.
Posts: 3,017

Bikes: Byron,Sam, The Hunq and that Old Guy

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 79 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm glad the blog posts were helpful. I always carry an Abus Bordo when I travel, because I just don't know what kind of neighborhood I am traveling through. Regarding the comments about the trails in Pittsburgh at night, I rode them at 2am from the Amtrak station to McKeesport to get my car. I had a very pleasant ride with no incidents and the only people I saw on the streets at any location were police officers. I can' t say it's always that way, but that was my experience.

Marc
irwin7638 is offline  
Old 05-09-15, 08:06 AM
  #22  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,490

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3345 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 27 Posts
Originally Posted by dwrz View Post
Thanks for the local insight, spinnaker and Altair. Sorry to hear about the situation, but good to know -- I'll probably try to see if I can find a host.
Try to find a host somewhere on the south side. That would line you up for the bike trail the next day. And riding to south side on the streets should be fairly safe as well as the south side itself. But arriving at 12Am problematic for some hosts.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 05-09-15, 07:40 PM
  #23  
Altair 4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Along the Rivers of Pittsburgh
Posts: 994

Bikes: 2011 Novara Forza Hybrid, 2005 Trek 820, 1989 Cannondale SR500 Black Lightning, 1975 Mundo Cycles Caloi Racer

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
Regarding the comments about the trails in Pittsburgh at night, I rode them at 2am from the Amtrak station to McKeesport to get my car. I had a very pleasant ride with no incidents and the only people I saw on the streets at any location were police officers. I can' t say it's always that way, but that was my experience.

Marc
On a warm summer night, with the right lights, I'll bet this would be a pretty fantastic ride! The stretch after crossing the first railroad bridge past Homestead to just before Duquesne would be pretty fun. The steep hillside to your right with the trees arching over top of the trail, the lights from the steel mill glinting on the river....yeah, I can imagine it would be a bit of a surreal experience.

Marc - did the police say anything or even look at you?

Last edited by Altair 4; 05-10-15 at 03:15 PM.
Altair 4 is offline  
Old 05-10-15, 04:29 PM
  #24  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,490

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3345 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 27 Posts
Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
I'm glad the blog posts were helpful. I always carry an Abus Bordo when I travel, because I just don't know what kind of neighborhood I am traveling through. Regarding the comments about the trails in Pittsburgh at night, I rode them at 2am from the Amtrak station to McKeesport to get my car. I had a very pleasant ride with no incidents and the only people I saw on the streets at any location were police officers. I can' t say it's always that way, but that was my experience.

Marc
Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
On a warm summer night, with the right lights, I'll bet this would be a pretty fantastic ride! The stretch after crossing the first railroad bridge past Homestead to just before Duquesne would be pretty fun. The steep hillside to your right with the trees arching over top of the trail, the lights from the steel mill glinting on the river....yeah, I can imagine it would be a bit of a surreal experience.

Marc - did the police say anything or even look at you?
I don't care if 100 people ride that trail and don't have an issue. If you are that 101 and get jumped the numbers don't matter much. In the late spring or summer, you are not seeing much of the river anyway unless you stop and try to look between the trees, and I would not stop.

Take it from someone who lives here, that trail is not safe at night. Too many places were someone can surprise you.

If you absolutely must ride at night then what I would do is to take Grant St to Second Ave. On the city side trail and the south side trail, this is probably the worst Section till you hit Homstead.

Stay on 2nd Ave. The trail will be to your left but stay on the street. Cross the Hot Metal Bridge and make the next left. The bike trail will be on your left.

You will probably be fine till you hit the scrap metal plant and the start of Sand Castle. I would say moderate to low chance of something bad happening here.

Once past Sand Castle, your safety factor goes up a bit. While dangerous Homstead is only a few blocks away, this area has lots of shops, hotels and fairly upscale housing so it is well patrolled. Stay on the main street through the Water Front. Probably safe to take the trail but you are passing behind some pretty expensive housing and you might not want to create a stir late at night.

Just past the apartments the trail comes back out onto the main road. You will see the plastic posts on your left.

Once you get back on to the regular trail from there to Duquense is pretty inaccessible so you will probably be fairly safe in that section unless you happen to come across a gang of kids on bikes.

Eventually you will come to Duquense. You might hear Route 51 to your right and see a street you will cross in front of you. Do not stop anywhere in this area. There is a chain link fence between the trail and the street but as mentioned there is a cross street to contend.

After a mile or so the trail becomes inaccessible again till you hit Mckeesport.

Get out onto the main street as soon as possible. Do not take the bike trail. Instead take Walnut St to the 15th St. Bridge. An option would be to take Walnut into Versailles and cross the Boston Bridge. Probably slightly safer but the other side of 15th Bridge is pretty safe too and you will have a climb on Walnut.

There is a trail behind Walnut but do not take it at night.

If you cross the 15th St. Bridge, you will make sort of a U turn to your left down to River Road (right on River). A mile or so you will see a Jersey Barrier on your right, that is the start of the trail. If they have not fixed it yet, and they were supposed to for the past few years, there may be a large puddle in front of you. If you pass the Jersey barrier just a bit to it's left, you will see a break in the barrier that you should be able to get through.

Last edited by spinnaker; 05-10-15 at 04:34 PM.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 05-10-15, 06:32 PM
  #25  
irwin7638
Senior Member
 
irwin7638's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Kalamazoo, Mi.
Posts: 3,017

Bikes: Byron,Sam, The Hunq and that Old Guy

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 79 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post

Marc - did the police say anything or even look at you?
No, there was nothing in the way of human interaction from Amtrak to McKeesport. It was a nice quiet ride looking at a city and industry asleep.

Marc
irwin7638 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.