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Tips for GAP/C&O Tour

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Tips for GAP/C&O Tour

Old 04-06-18, 08:46 AM
  #26  
Altair 4
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Originally Posted by tcarl View Post
In terms of history the C&O is the winner - what with the canal itself, along with the Revolutionary and Civil War histories. The Katy has signs and maps along the way marking out locations and events from the Lewis and Clark expedition. The Gap has some history, particularly in terms of the steel and coal mining industries.
There's more to the history along the GAP trail than just the Industrial Revolution and the coal and steel industry. There's a fossil bed just outside of Rockwood (Wymps Gap Fossil Quarry) with marine shells from 330 million years ago. The local municipality sometimes backhoes it a little for folks to find new ones. George Washington walked the GAP prior to the French & Indian War. The Battle at Braddock's Field, where British General Braddock was mortally wounded, occurred just across the Monongahela River. Episodes from the Whiskey Rebellion occurred along its path. And Lewis and Clark started their historic expedition from Pittsburgh.

A comprehensive book about the GAP's past, "Biking Through History on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail," can be purchased on Amazon or through https://gaptrailstore.org/products/b...-passage-trail. I live in Pittsburgh and have an interest in history and I learned a lot about the area from this book. I read it before I rode the GAP for the first time - it gave me a much greater appreciation of it.

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Old 04-06-18, 01:37 PM
  #27  
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Not to be "that guy," but this exact question comes up very often on this very forum. You'll get all the info you want, and then some, with a quick search.
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Old 04-06-18, 11:09 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
A comprehensive book about the GAP's past, "Biking Through History on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail," can be purchased on Amazon or through https://gaptrailstore.org/products/b...-passage-trail. I live in Pittsburgh and have an interest in history and I learned a lot about the area from this book. I read it before I rode the GAP for the first time - it gave me a much greater appreciation of it.
Sounds like an interesting book, thanks. I've thought about riding GAP (1-way) in 2 days but seems better to do 3 50-mile days & have time to really see things.
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Old 04-07-18, 05:15 PM
  #29  
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I’ve ridden the entire Gap-C&O twice, with another trip planned for this coming June. We drive to DC, take the Amtrak to Pittsburgh, and then ride back over about one week. I like both trails but they are very different in many ways. On the GAP, towns are more frequent, the riding surface is better, and the weather might be cooler due to the altitude. The C&O is much more remote with towns less frequent, the riding surface is highly variable, and mud/mosquitoes can be an issue. With the right equipment— wide tires with tread, fenders — the mud is very manageable. The first time my bike had 32mm road tires (Paselas) and they were sketchy in spots with mud or deep gravel. The second time my bike had 35mm cross tires (Clement LAS) and it was a breeze.
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Old 04-09-18, 10:54 AM
  #30  
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Anybody got any updated intelligence on when the Paw Paw tunnel might open? I don't see any predictions on when it might reopen online. It sounds like the biker/hiker detour should be passable, but not ideal. Any suggestions for pavement bypass routes?

One option I see is to cross over to the S side of the Potomac at Paw Paw right before the tunnel and then work our way over to Berkeley Springs on backroads (WV9/Cacapon Rd), then up to Hancock. Maybe stay at Berkeley Springs which sounds like an interesting town. But there's 2300' of climbing and it looks steep.

- Mark
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Old 04-09-18, 11:01 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
Anybody got any updated intelligence on when the Paw Paw tunnel might open? I don't see any predictions on when it might reopen online. It sounds like the biker/hiker detour should be passable, but not ideal. Any suggestions for pavement bypass routes?

One option I see is to cross over to the S side of the Potomac at Paw Paw right before the tunnel and then work our way over to Berkeley Springs on backroads (WV9/Cacapon Rd), then up to Hancock. Maybe stay at Berkeley Springs which sounds like an interesting town. But there's 2300' of climbing and it looks steep.

- Mark
Most of the road options are very hilly. I had to take to the roads one year from Williamsport to DC due to a hurricane and it was very difficult. I did the road bypass on the Maryland side last year, and it was also a hard ride. As for the government, we all know about delays and cost overruns. Wouldn’t count on riding through the tunnel this year.
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Old 04-10-18, 06:31 AM
  #32  
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C&o

FWIW, I rode Bike Virginia one year in which the route followed the C&O for a short while and then the route switched to roads that roughly paralleled the canal into Antietam. It was brutal, with extremely steep climbs and descents. No comparison to the trail. If the Paw Paw tunnel is still closed when we ride through in June, I plan to walk my bike on the official detour. It’s not that long anyway.
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Old 04-10-18, 02:25 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
FWIW, I rode Bike Virginia one year in which the route followed the C&O for a short while and then the route switched to roads that roughly paralleled the canal into Antietam. It was brutal, with extremely steep climbs and descents. No comparison to the trail. If the Paw Paw tunnel is still closed when we ride through in June, I plan to walk my bike on the official detour. It’s not that long anyway.
Not sure the route Bike Virginia took you to Antietam, but I also detoured off the path at Williamsport and took back roads to Antietam. There were a few hills, but nothing too terrible. You can see my route (and write-up) on my CrazyGuy journal at https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...id=178344&v=3E

On the other hand, staying on the road from Antietam to Harper's Ferry definitely took me over a few big hills, and I wasn't happy there.

Likewise, the next day I was again bored of the canal path and took an on-road detour at Point of Rocks. Big mistake there, and there were some very large, rolling hills. See https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...id=178345&v=38
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Old 04-10-18, 09:06 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Philly Tandem View Post
Not sure the route Bike Virginia took you to Antietam, but I also detoured off the path at Williamsport and took back roads to Antietam. There were a few hills, but nothing too terrible. You can see my route (and write-up) on my CrazyGuy journal at https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...id=178344&v=3E

On the other hand, staying on the road from Antietam to Harper's Ferry definitely took me over a few big hills, and I wasn't happy there.

Likewise, the next day I was again bored of the canal path and took an on-road detour at Point of Rocks. Big mistake there, and there were some very large, rolling hills. See https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...id=178345&v=38
The road from Williamsport to Antietam is a piece of cake. Antietam back to the towpath is also easy. I occasionally ride that route instead the towpath to see the battlefield and Sharpsburg. I have bad memories of the road from Sharpsburg to Point of Rocks, after which it gets a bit easier. 40 mph downhill, 4 mph uphill, repeat, repeat, repeat.
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