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"The Great Ride" PBS show on the GAP/C&O

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"The Great Ride" PBS show on the GAP/C&O

Old 08-12-19, 03:43 PM
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"The Great Ride" PBS show on the GAP/C&O

Airs tonight (Monday) at 8 p.m. on one of our PBS stations; not the main one that will have Antique Roadshow at that hour, but the alternate PBS station 57 in Richmond.

"More than 355 uninterrupted miles of bike trail spanning from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Consisting of two connecting trails - the C&O Canal Towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage, the path draws cyclists from all over the world."
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Old 08-13-19, 05:37 AM
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Having ridden the GAP, I found this show disappointing, it was more about the set of people they were following then the trail itself. Not that there was anything wrong with these peoples stories, I was just expecting to see and hear more about the trail itself.
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Old 08-13-19, 06:18 AM
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Would be great if they completely ignored the people, and went deep into the weeds about the trail route, gradients, major climbs, as well as the bikes. Frames, tires, wheels, component groups.

Last edited by Homebrew01; 08-13-19 at 07:07 AM. Reason: Moderator removed political content.
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Old 08-13-19, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Would be great if they completely ignored the people, and went deep into the weeds about the trail route, gradients, major climbs, as well as the bikes. Frames, tires, wheels, component groups. But this being PBS, they probably just let the people whine endlessly about their personal problems, as well as trendy left-wing political issues.
As one that rides the GAP end to end a few times a season I'll add my opinion. Tires, any will do, you'll see roadies running the trail when you get close to towns, of course wider is better but not necessary. Same goes for bikes and componetry, take your favorite most comfortable and go. The only thing I really feel I need or want for my bikes on the trail is fenders. My wife who rides maybe 300 miles/year can and occasionally does the GAP in 3 or 4 days on an old step trough comfort bike, granted I carry most of the gear. Major climbs: none, though Connellesville to Meyersdale feels like an endless uphill slog but it's more psychological than physical. From Big Savage Tunnel down to Cumberland is a nice downhill ride though pavement would make it a great downhill ride and one could probably coast the entire way if it were paved. Going south to north 21 miles from Cumberland to Big Savage tunnel is more of a climb but again the wife can do it in two hours without the need to stop so I'd say nothing major, the downhill from Meyersdale to Connellesville doesn't feel like a downhill but technically is. Trail is hard crushed limestone and other than putting a lot of grit in the drivetrain is nice to ride on. Trail towns, plenty of places to enjoy mom and pop fare along the way. My favorites are The Trailside in West Newton, Falls Market in Ohiopyle, Rivers Edge in Confluence, The Opera House in Rockwood and Donge's Drive In in Meyersdale. Martins grocery store in Connellesville is a good place to get dry goods and fruit.

Big Savage tunnel..,,
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Old 08-13-19, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
major climbs
The ruling grade on the GAP is less than 1.8%. 1.79% IIRC. That's tame compared to some. Ride the Mickelson Trail, the NorPac Trail or the Route of the Hiawatha and you will experience grades over 3% with rougher surfaces. There is one climb on the Mickelson that averages around 3% for several miles. Topping out at around 6,000' means you also have some elevation to deal with if you are a flatlander. That was a tough piece of railroad. Now it's a great trail. No offense to the GAP, but the Mickelson is much more scenic and challenging. Its major drawback from a touring perspective (as opposed to day riding) is that there are some stretches with few or no services or places to camp. Fortunately, there are well-placed "rest areas" with shelter from the sun (and hail) and water cisterns.
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Old 08-13-19, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by edthesped View Post
.
Big Savage tunnel..,,
Are those...lights I see in the tunnel? How quaint. 1.66 miles of unlit, water-dripping-from-the-roof (notice the drainage ditches), time-zone-changing riding on the Route of the Hiawatha Trail.

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Old 08-13-19, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Are those...lights I see in the tunnel? How quaint. 1.66 miles of unlit, water-dripping-from-the-roof (notice the drainage ditches), time-zone-changing riding on the Route of the Hiawatha Trail.

Now that looks like fun... The sole benefit of the GAP for me is that is that it's a less than 10 minute ride to the trailhead from my house so is just too convenient. The one trail I'd really like to ride is the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. I thought about the Katy Trail when I was moving my daughter out that way but she says she's talked to people that have done the Katy and the GAP/C&O and they say the Katy is disappointing compared to the GAP/C&O. Maybe some point when I'm driving out her way I'll pack the bike up and give it a try anyway.
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Old 08-13-19, 08:48 AM
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Personally, I enjoyed the PBS show. It was nice to see and hear some of the sights and sounds from along the trail. But I also enjoyed the people they interviewed, particularly the gentleman that tends part of the trail. We always run into interesting people on the GAP and the program reminded us of some of the folks we talked to along the way. If they had gone "technical" during the program, non-bike people would have changed the channel in a heartbeat.
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Old 08-13-19, 09:15 AM
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The show turned out to be about what I expected. Having ridden several sections of the C&O and none of the GAP I enjoyed seeing it, but overall it reminded me of an old travel film by the Wandering Wheels about a TransAm trip (pre-BikeCentenniel and its routes); a pleasant enough way to spend an hour or so but not like actually riding.

Incidentally, our very first VW Westy camping trip took us up to the C&O and our first stop was at the Paw Paw Tunnel, which we walked from west-to-east and back.

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Old 08-13-19, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by edthesped View Post
Now that looks like fun...
I rode 9 miles of the former right-of-way that is not part of the trail from Avery, ID to the western trailhead. From there, it was 14.5 miles to the eastern trailhead. Until you cross the pass somewhere in the tunnel it's all uphill. That's why many people start in the east, ride the trail and then take a shuttle back to the west portal of the tunnel then ride through the tunnel again back to the eastern trailhead. And note that that's not the only tunnel. There are several more and some high trestles. The portion of the right-of-way from Avery to the western trailhead has its over tunnels. The first one you hit is No. 36. One on the trail had to be bypassed because the roof collapsed. St. Paul is No. 20. So I went through 15 in all.

https://www.ridethehiawatha.com/
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Old 08-13-19, 05:22 PM
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Big Savage from my tour in 2015



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Old 08-13-19, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by edthesped View Post
Now that looks like fun... The sole benefit of the GAP for me is that is that it's a less than 10 minute ride to the trailhead from my house so is just too convenient. The one trail I'd really like to ride is the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. I thought about the Katy Trail when I was moving my daughter out that way but she says she's talked to people that have done the Katy and the GAP/C&O and they say the Katy is disappointing compared to the GAP/C&O. Maybe some point when I'm driving out her way I'll pack the bike up and give it a try anyway.
The KVR is in my neck of the woods. I did the more famous trestle sections last year and hoped to do it all this year but things didn't play out. Next year I guess as I now have a fat bike to do it with.







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Old 08-14-19, 03:41 AM
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Any of you American tourers, be able to tell me, how I could get to watch this show in Australia, it would interest me very much.
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Old 08-14-19, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ricrunner View Post
Any of you American tourers, be able to tell me, how I could get to watch this show in Australia, it would interest me very much.
Our local PBS station had the video on their website in its entirety for a brief period, but it's gone now. But you can see some extra bits of video from the production here: The Great Ride - WQED . Just click on the bike wheels on the map on the link. I checked some of the videos and they play fine here. Enjoy!
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