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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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Old 08-27-19, 08:14 AM
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https://www.ridethehiawatha.com/

I did this ride two weeks ago. Long road trip (by van). Texas to Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz Triathlon), then Portland, Seattle, some excellent rail to trail rides near Olympic National Forest.

East Olympia to Tunino was fantastic. Weekend ride, but with 66F most stayed off the trail, so we had a blast. A friend is getting ready for the 100 mile Lung Cancer ride out to the coast next month,
so we joined her and a friend for a workout ride. They did the 40 miles, but my son was on a mountain bike, so we did a 32-mile ride. The smooth pavement in great shape, easy-riding at 15 mph.

Reach the Beach, Washington. Lung Cancer Benefit Ride - September 28th. My close friend lost her sister to lung cancer, and I'm living with Lung Cancer, so she does this ride annually.

Then onto Spokane, and stopped long enough for https://www.ridethehiawatha.com/

Ride the Hiawatha is more of a mountain bike trail! My son had his 29" mountain bike and loved it. I was on the Catrike Dumont (suspension recumbent), but that gravel was hard. I finally settled on riding with my rear tire centered in the "groove" letting the front tires bounce a bit on the road.

That pitch-black tunnel was a trip. Every so often I would see the end of the tunnel, nope bicyclist from other direction. I had my headlight on "dim" to avoid blinding another cyclist, but could easily outride it. Wet and muddy, more than a few cyclists got too close to the wall and wheels went into the ditch. Thankfully nothing was broken, but sore and road rash made it hard to get out of the tunnel.

Broke my rear fender mount, so it was rubbing on the rear tire most of that ride — a heck of a workout.

Loved the tunnel, but make sure you have good lights and back up lights! My son lost his light but stayed behind me.

Stopped in Glacier National Park, then down to Yellowstone. Nice three-week road trip, riding every third day along the way. So not a full-blown tour, but lots of good rides along the way.
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Old 08-27-19, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by roundrocktom View Post
https://www.ridethehiawatha.com/

I did this ride two weeks ago.
See my post # 6 above. Started the day outside of Avery, ID. Rode the former right-of-way up to the Pearson Trailhead then did the "official" trail to East Portal so I was going up hill all the way to St. Paul Pass inside the tunnel. I was fully loaded and riding 37c tires. The beginning of the trail at the western end is a bit rockier than I thought it was going to be, but it got better. They had just refinished the St. Paul Pass Tunnel with slurry, and there was a lot of water dripping from the roof. I got some slurry in the bike, but people with knobby tires had it worse. More than one person had a lot of it on the backs of their jackets and all over the bike.

Finished the day by dropping down on the dirt road towards I-90, riding up to Lookout Pass on the NorPac Trail, took I-90 down for 7 miles and then hopped on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene in Mullan, ID and took that for 7 miles to Wallace, ID. So in the end I started the day in ID, crossed into MT via the long tunnel and then went back into ID via Lookout Pass.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
See my post # 6 above.

They had just refinished the St. Paul Pass Tunnel with slurry, and there was a lot of water dripping from the roof.
Search is what lead me to this comment on this thread. Just wanted to give fellow riders a heads up not to expect a paved trail! Still glad I did it, but mountain bike with suspension would have been a better choice for that trail.

I did the ride on 8/20/2019 so that slurry was still raining down. My black T-shirt looked like it had brown sleeves by the time I was done as my front two tires don't have fenders, so they still coated me. Rear fender kept me from getting a skunk stripe.

Stats: 1 hour, 30 minutes of total time. For 13.5 miles (one way). 1151 ft gained 2122 ft loss, So about 1000 ft decline average. Give yourself lots of time to stop to read the signs along the way. Moving speed avg was 14 mph, fastest was 20, but trip average (with stops) about nine mph. The tunnel was cold and damp, had issues with muscles locking up on me; the only solution was to ride as fast as I could to keep warm.

Fun ride! Still, need to clean off the trike! Finally got back to Austin, TX last night. Odd to realize that ride was just a week ago (two nights in Glacier NP, then two nights in Yellowstone).
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Old 08-27-19, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by roundrocktom View Post
(two nights in Glacier NP
Did you ride GTS? Went up and back down the west slope in 2017 as part of a two-week tour. Did the same in 2000 and 2009. Crossed over west to east in 1999. Great ride.
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Old 08-27-19, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Did you ride GTS? Went up and back down the west slope in 2017 as part of a two-week tour. Did the same in 2000 and 2009. Crossed over west to east in 1999. Great ride.
Small sections in the park. Sections of Going to the Sun Road are closed to bicyclist from 11 AM to 4 PM. So I only got in short early morning rides.

https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/bicycling.htm

First time I made it to Glacier, definitely want to go back and spend time riding!
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Old 08-28-19, 11:54 AM
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In other news, planning an easy up and back on the GAP starting in Cumberland. If I stay at Paddler's Paradise in Confluence I should have another train horn video for y'all.
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Old 08-28-19, 12:16 PM
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Rode the GAP this spring, and will be completing the “Great Ride” this weekend. DC to Cumberland. Weather is looking good and the towpath is dry.
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Old 08-28-19, 01:04 PM
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I'm only doing what I am doing because I am still recovering from exploratory surgery on my thigh and lost all my stamina from being off the bike for some two months. Original plan was to reprise my 2013 tour from PGH to PHL, incorporating the GAP.
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Old 08-28-19, 08:01 PM
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There's a series on NHK TV (I think) about a guy credit-card touring thru Japan. It's all about the sights & people & culture, bike/equipment hardly mentioned. But yeah, for general interest, folks don't need to hear about the bike details. Anyway, he used a road bike with a knapsack & saddlebag (& no fenders!) IIRC. Also, I think PBS has another series about folks doing day rides in various US cities...rather bland but not bad.
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Old 09-01-19, 06:51 PM
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I've seen one episode of the Cycling in Japan series. Interesting enough, and the guy speaks the language so he gets on better than many of us would.
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Old 09-01-19, 07:44 PM
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Is this available without a PBS account?
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