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1st Tour GAP C&O Bike and Tires

Old 04-05-21, 10:38 AM
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MidLife50
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1st Tour GAP C&O Bike and Tires

Older Clyde and his bride planning 1st overnight tour. Decided to go for the Gap/C&O Pittsburgh to Wash DC. We'll be credit card touring to get started.

Looking at 7 days riding with daily mileage between 35 and 61 miles. So far our modest regional half-day rides have maxed out at 42 miles.

Riding his/hers Trek Fx 7.2s with 32mm tires. Will we be OK riding these bike/tire combos?
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Old 04-05-21, 12:03 PM
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If those bikes are comfortable for you and can carry whatever provisions you need - they'll get you by fine. I rode it on a Fuji cross bike with 32mm tires with never a worry. We did however have luggage support so carried only a trunk bag with raingear a lock and bluetooth music.
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Old 04-05-21, 01:18 PM
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Thanks. Our situation is even better than I thought. We're actually running 35mm tires so I'm feeling better already.
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Old 04-05-21, 02:03 PM
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32s are as small as I'd be willing to go on the C&O, and I think I'd prefer something wider. There are sections that get muddy after a rain, and the mud can persist for a long time -- it takes good balance and bike handling skills when your tires start sliding around.
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Old 04-06-21, 03:49 AM
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You should be fine with 32s unless it's muddy. I rode part of the C & O several years ago. The path was muddy, and I had 32 Gatorskins on my Bob Jackson. It was doable, but it wasn't fun, with lots of slippin' and sliddin'. I eventually switched over to the Western Maryland Rail Trail. I hope to go back this year with 41s.
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Old 04-06-21, 05:00 AM
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32mm is fine for the GAP, but kinda narrow for the C&O, especially (as others have said) if it has rained in the weeks before. There has been a lot of resurfacing of the Towpath from Antietam downstrem, 32 mm fine there. Upstream many more rocky/potholed stretches.

If you needed new tires anyway, and if they fit, I'd go with 35mm for the combined trip.
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Old 04-06-21, 06:01 AM
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When I did that in spring 2013, there were three of us. We all thought our tires were adequate, we had 35, 47 and 50mm in width. And we were riding through puddles with several days of rain, hauling our camping gear.

Your 35mm tires should do fine with wet conditions, and should be great if dry conditions.

The trail is reasonably flat, but the Pittsburg to the continental divide part is a shallow uphill, if that is where your 61 mile day is, that might be a long day. I only mention this because you said you are an older clyde. Profile from my GPS below, we started at Pittsburgh which is on the left:



It is not that steep when you are on the ground, it only looks steep on the plot because the Y axis is feet and the X axis is in miles. But you would likely be going a one or two miles per hour slower as you approach the continental divide from the West.

Have a great trip.
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Old 04-06-21, 06:27 AM
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If you take a short side trip from the GAP in/near Perryopolis you can see Buffalo Bill’s house from “The Silence of the Lambs.” (Basement scenes filmed elsewhere.)
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Old 04-17-21, 03:12 PM
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It's a great trip and 32's are fine. I saw some guys doing it on road bikes with 28's!
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