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-   -   Need a Shuttle Service, DC to Pittsburgh (https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1180426-need-shuttle-service-dc-pittsburgh.html)

robow 08-06-19 10:32 PM

Need a Shuttle Service, DC to Pittsburgh
 
Does anyone have a favorite shuttle service that they have used in the past and could recommend for a trip from DC back up to Pittsburgh. We may only have 5 riders that would be in need and though we do have reservations with Amtrak next month, I would like to see if there are any feasible options out there that might deliver us back to Pittsburgh at a more reasonable hour. As always, thank you for your input.

jpescatore 08-07-19 04:50 AM

I've used Cumberland Trail Connection several years for various shorter shuttles (not all the way to PGH) on the GAP for larger groups of people. Had one year where we needed 2 vans and one driver didn't show up but the CTC owner was very apologetic and discounted the one van we did get. So, overall I've been very satisfied with them.

veloz 08-07-19 06:46 AM

Amtrak ride isn't bad but we arrived in Pittsburgh near midnight. Our solution: Reservations at the Drury Hotel 2 blocks from the station. I think we paid less than $100 and it included an incredible breakfast buffet. They're used to dealing with cyclists.

Rob_E 08-07-19 07:24 AM

You might check here: https://www.nobleinventionbiketouring.com/
They set up hotel and B&B trips along the route, and they have, or hire, a shuttle service. They may be able to set you up or point you in the right direction.

indyfabz 08-07-19 07:27 AM


Originally Posted by veloz (Post 21064043)
Amtrak ride isn't bad but we arrived in Pittsburgh near midnight. Our solution: Reservations at the Drury Hotel 2 blocks from the station. I think we paid less than $100 and it included an incredible breakfast buffet. They're used to dealing with cyclists.

I may be doing a round trip on the GAP (from Cumberland) after Labor Day. Priced a room on Monday, September 9th. $160. Still probably cheaper than the Hampton Inn or Homewood, which are also a couple of blocks from the station. I stayed at the former back in 2013.

spinnaker 08-07-19 03:03 PM


Originally Posted by veloz (Post 21064043)
Amtrak ride isn't bad but we arrived in Pittsburgh near midnight. Our solution: Reservations at the Drury Hotel 2 blocks from the station. I think we paid less than $100 and it included an incredible breakfast buffet. They're used to dealing with cyclists.

He will likely stay at Casa Spinnaker. $0 a night though I would not call the breakfast "incredible". :) They are also used to dealing with cyclists.

I just hope @robow will be checking in on a weekend night as there is no night manager during the week. ;)

robow 08-07-19 03:23 PM

We did the Amtrak once and it worked out fine for me, but then I'm a night owl. A couple in the group aren't crazy about getting back to our vehicles at midnight. Nothing is going to be as cost effective as Amtrak, (or the Spin Motel for that matter) especially with such a small number of riders but I told them I would at least make inquiries. Again, thanks for your suggestions.

Edit: Another factor is the limited number of bikes on each train, and it seems we may have one or two that will be boxing up their bikes rather than rolling them on.

spinnaker 08-07-19 04:34 PM


Originally Posted by robow (Post 21064914)
We did the Amtrak once and it worked out fine for me, but then I'm a night owl. A couple in the group aren't crazy about getting back to our vehicles at midnight. Nothing is going to be as cost effective as Amtrak, (or the Spin Motel for that matter) especially with such a small number of riders but I told them I would at least make inquiries. Again, thanks for your suggestions.

Edit: Another factor is the limited number of bikes on each train, and it seems we may have one or two that will be boxing up their bikes rather than rolling them on.

Casa Spinnaker PLEASE! This is a high class establishment. We ain't no local yokel flea bag motel.

We charge extra for fleas. :)

Philly Tandem 08-09-19 12:46 PM

I think the C&O Bike Shop in Hancock does shuttles, too.

AMTRAK only takes something like 6-8 bikes per train, so hopefully you have those spaces reserved already. Why in the world would someone box the bike instead of just rolling it on? Unless it's a tandem or something?

You could also rent a U-haul truck and a second car and just shuttle yourself back. With that many people the cost might work out ok, and give you max flexibility.

spinnaker 08-09-19 01:09 PM


Originally Posted by Philly Tandem (Post 21067878)
I think the C&O Bike Shop in Hancock does shuttles, too.

AMTRAK only takes something like 6-8 bikes per train, so hopefully you have those spaces reserved already. Why in the world would someone box the bike instead of just rolling it on? Unless it's a tandem or something?

You could also rent a U-haul truck and a second car and just shuttle yourself back. With that many people the cost might work out ok, and give you max flexibility.


Actually Amtrak will take any number of bikes as long as it is boxed. But you can only do that in Pittsburgh and DC (on the route in question)

Rob_E 08-09-19 01:42 PM


Originally Posted by Philly Tandem (Post 21067878)
AMTRAK only takes something like 6-8 bikes per train, so hopefully you have those spaces reserved already. Why in the world would someone box the bike instead of just rolling it on? Unless it's a tandem or something?
.

Space. Like you said, there's only room for half a dozen. Met a guy on my trip who was travelling with his brother. First bike tour and pulling some serious miles because the train was full up over the weekend, so they had made a Friday reservation. His brother was in better shape and had obviously been the one to set the mileage goals. This guy was doing great for a first tour (and logging more daily miles than me even though I'd done part of this route a couple of times already), but he was struggling. I told the guy that he did have the option of boxing the bike in DC if he wanted to slow down, but he was determined to make that train. Hope he did.

Also, Amtrak says max tire size is 2 inches. I'm sure there's some leeway. No one said anything about my 2.4 tires, but if I had brought my plus tires, I would have gone with the box.

robow 08-09-19 05:23 PM


Originally Posted by Philly Tandem (Post 21067878)
Why in the world would someone box the bike instead of just rolling it on? Unless it's a tandem or something?

You have to box it as luggage if all the roll on spots are already taken. Not ideal but you have no other choice. Most of the group took care of this well in advance but there is always one or two that wait too late and now don't have a ticket for their bike.

Edit: Sorry, didn't see the post above that explained the protocol.

Philly Tandem 08-12-19 09:39 AM


Originally Posted by spinnaker (Post 21067904)
Actually Amtrak will take any number of bikes as long as it is boxed. But you can only do that in Pittsburgh and DC (on the route in question)

Well, I guess to be pedantic, yes and no. Yes if they have a baggage car (besides the bike car). No if they don't. On this route they do have a baggage car usually, I think.

I wasn't thinking about boxing the bike(s) if the roll-on space is full. That makes sense.

edthesped 08-12-19 12:07 PM

I just went through this a couple of weeks ago. My daughter came back from a month in Africa on Monday and on Tuesday called me at work and gave the "Dad if we're going to ride to DC we should leave tomorrow" weather update. We talked about making the ride but I thought she was being over ambitious as her summer was pretty packed, once again I underestimated her drive. Anyway we rolled out of the garage at 8:00 AM on Wednesday without a real plan in place. By Saturday we realized we could easily make DC by Monday and I started looking at Amtrak, roll on was booked until Friday and last minute'ish ticket prices were steep. In the end I was able to rent a mini van using our corporate code for a little less than Amtrak would have cost so it worked out. Lesson learned, winging it with Amtrak as part of the plan is a bad bet.

jpescatore 08-15-19 05:04 AM

Agree about Amtrak: I'm planning a ride in January from Venice FL to Jacksonville FL and then getting on Amtrak to return to Washington DC - a few weeks ago checked and there was only one spot left, 6 months in advance!

Wynnewood 08-21-19 10:46 AM

Safety riding thru Pittsburgh aftermidnight
 
Husband and I are booked on Amtrak mid-week mid September Cumberland to Pittsburgh. We've got room booked at Holiday Inn Express south side. Any thoughts on our safety riding over there after midnight? Anyone know a shuttle service willing to go such a short distance?

spinnaker 08-21-19 11:30 AM


Originally Posted by Wynnewood (Post 21085686)
Husband and I are booked on Amtrak mid-week mid September Cumberland to Pittsburgh. We've got room booked at Holiday Inn Express south side. Any thoughts on our safety riding over there after midnight? Anyone know a shuttle service willing to go such a short distance?

My personal opion is that you should try to get a hotel closer to the train station. For one you are going to be getting in so late and it is going to take a little less than an hour to get to your hotel. But also I do not advise taking the trail at night. Especially right near downtown.

I do not recommend riding the bike trail near the city at night. What I would do is to take 2nd Ave to the Hot Metal Bridge. There are also "affordable" hotels there next to the bike trail that would be my second chose after something right in the city. There is also a hostel on the southside somewhere but I do not know the location. And there is a new hotel on the same side of the river as downtown. Right near the Hot Metal Bridge called Hotel Indigo that might be affordable since it is in a business district but that is just my guess.

If you insist on staying in Homestead, from the southside to the hotel, you should be OK as far as safety. The waterfront area where the hotel is located is fairly safe but DO NOT venture into the heart of Homestead itself. It is one of the higher crime rate areas in the city.

Again I advise getting a place close to the station. In addition to getting to bed at a reasonable time, it might give you a chance to explore the city a bit in the morning. There are our inclines, the point and Bicycle Heaven (the largest bicycle museum in the world). all well worth the extra $100 or so you might save on a hotel in Homstead.

indyfabz 08-21-19 11:59 AM

Can't tell you anything about safety of getting there, but want to say thanks for the hotel tip. Just booked a weekday room in September for a good deal less than where I was considering.

indyfabz 08-21-19 12:05 PM


Originally Posted by spinnaker (Post 21085756)

If you insist on staying in Homestead, from the southside to the hotel, you should be OK as far as safety. The waterfront area where the hotel is located is fairly safe but DO NOT venture into the heart of Homestead itself. It is one of the higher crime rate areas in the city.

I assumed he was talking about the HI Express at the end of the 10th Street Bridge on the south side. 20 S. 10th Street.

Altair 4 08-21-19 12:35 PM


Originally Posted by spinnaker (Post 21085756)
My personal opion is that you should try to get a hotel closer to the train station. For one you are going to be getting in so late and it is going to take a little less than an hour to get to your hotel. But also I do not advise taking the trail at night. Especially right near downtown.

I do not recommend riding the bike trail near the city at night. What I would do is to take 2nd Ave to the Hot Metal Bridge. There are also "affordable" hotels there next to the bike trail that would be my second chose after something right in the city. There is also a hostel on the southside somewhere but I do not know the location. And there is a new hotel on the same side of the river as downtown. Right near the Hot Metal Bridge called Hotel Indigo that might be affordable since it is in a business district but that is just my guess.

If you insist on staying in Homestead, from the southside to the hotel, you should be OK as far as safety. The waterfront area where the hotel is located is fairly safe but DO NOT venture into the heart of Homestead itself. It is one of the higher crime rate areas in the city.

Again I advise getting a place close to the station. In addition to getting to bed at a reasonable time, it might give you a chance to explore the city a bit in the morning. There are our inclines, the point and Bicycle Heaven (the largest bicycle museum in the world). all well worth the extra $100 or so you might save on a hotel in Homstead.

Spinnaker, you are thinking about the hotel in the Waterfront area, but I think Wynnewood is talking about the one on 10th Street in the South Side.

Wynnewood, if it were me, I'd try for a hotel closer to the Amtrak station as well, but only to decrease the travel time and increase my sleep time. Check out the Drury Plaza Hotel, the Hampton Inn Downtown, or Homewood Suites by Hilton Downtown. All are closer to the rail station being only a few blocks away. But hey, maybe you are using hotel points with Holiday Inn, in that case...

If I were riding to the Holiday Inn Express late at night and mid-week and I had a good front and rear light on my bike, I'd ride right down Grant Street, turn right onto Ft. Pitt Blvd., turn left and cross the Smithfield Street Bridge. Then turn left on Carson. At the hour that Amtrak gets in and on a mid-week night, I'd probably ride on the sidewalk on Carson, turning left on 10th Street to the hotel. Probably a 15 to 20 minute ride. On the weekends, Carson is crazy busy (lots of bars and restaurants that are open quite late), both car and pedestrian-wise, you'd either need to ride a back street or just walk your bike part of the way, depending on traffic and your personal comfort level.

Here's a map: Pittsburgh Amtrak to Holiday Inn Express South Side Modify it as you see fit. Not sure about a shuttle service. Maybe Uber if you can order a larger vehicle/minivan? Enjoy your ride!

indyfabz 08-21-19 12:56 PM

I stayed at the Hampton Inn back in 2013. Good breakfast and it had no problem with the bike in the room. It is, however, more expensive than the HI Express on 10th St.

spinnaker 08-21-19 04:29 PM


Originally Posted by Altair 4 (Post 21085890)
Spinnaker, you are thinking about the hotel in the Waterfront area, but I think Wynnewood is talking about the one on 10th Street in the South Side.

W!

Ah sorry did not know there was one there.

10th Street is easy peasy. I would not feel uncomfortable at all. I would take Smithfield to 10th St. But DO NOT ride the bike lane. It is dangerous IMHO. Drivers cross the lane without looking.

Wynnewood 08-21-19 07:19 PM

Thank you everyone for your thoughts. Greatly appreciated! It is indeed the Holiday in off 10th. My husband and I already have a paid no refundable room...oh well, we will ride off fconfidentially and try not to get into any trouble. I've dreamt of a trip like this for years and am so excited I can't hardly contain myself

spinnaker 08-22-19 06:51 AM


Originally Posted by Wynnewood (Post 21086530)
Thank you everyone for your thoughts. Greatly appreciated! It is indeed the Holiday in off 10th. My husband and I already have a paid no refundable room...oh well, we will ride off fconfidentially and try not to get into any trouble. I've dreamt of a trip like this for years and am so excited I can't hardly contain myself



You will be very close to Bicycle Heaven. Suggest you check them out before you set out. Unfortunately, they don't open till 10AM,

Wynnewood 08-22-19 10:50 AM


Originally Posted by spinnaker (Post 21086986)
You will be very close to Bicycle Heaven. Suggest you check them out before you set out. Unfortunately, they don't open till 10AM,

I'm planning on it!


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