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Maybe Not really a tour, but...

Old 05-06-13, 12:48 PM
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Maybe Not really a tour, but...

it’s the closest I have done so far.

A friend of mine was nearing a milestone birthday, and as a celebration we decided to take a weekend trip. The original plan was to drive out to Williamsport Md, leave a car, and bike into Reston, Va. The total distance for this trip according to Google maps is 80 or so miles https://goo.gl/maps/dcoca . Neither one of us is in the best of shape, but we are both still active and after a few shakedown rides had little intrepidation about the proposed trip. We ended up enlisting my father who also lives locally to drive us out keeping us from having to leave a car at a starting point and then returning to get it again after the completion of the ride.

We planned (very loosely) to get moving rather early on Saturday morning, and drive from Reston to our starting location. But since I had to work Friday night, I was a little slow in moving and we ultimately got a bit of a later start than we had anticipated. Seeing time slip away we called audible and decided that a better start location might be Shepherdstown, WV. (Ok technically C&O tow path is on the Md side of the river.) This drop in mileage allowed for our later than expected start and also shortened the travel distance for my father, albeit only marginally. https://goo.gl/maps/1ehrs . This dropped our overall distance to just under 65 miles since once we made it to Reston we still had to get back to the cars at my fathers.

The weather was perfect for cycling, low 60s with a light breeze. Due to the recent rains everything was going through that burst of first spring growth, and I could not get over how green everything was. Because of all of the new growth much of the tow path was shaded, and remained cool and pleasant for our trip.

Our first day took us 32 miles along the Potomac River. Leaving Shepherdstown around Noon we headed south and averaged a little better than 8 MPH for the duration of our trip. After about an hour and a half we reached the Maryland side of the river, opposite Harpers Ferry, Wv. We had planned on taking the foot bridge across the river to round up some lunch and a beer. As we approached the bridge, a train came across the bridge directly over our heads. The size and power or something that big was amazing and I was struck by the force of the wind a passing train creates. On lookers lost their hats and bikes simply propped up fell over.

After lunch we completed another 20 miles, arriving at the campsite we had picked out on the map. Upon arrival we were surprised at how tired we were, especially since we had done a few other rides in the weeks prior to this trip, although always on concrete and asphalt not on packed dirt trail, an our legs had held up well. Our surprising fatigue was then coupled with the realization that although we had spent most of the day seeing no one on the trail, the campsite we had set our eyes on was already occupied.

We decided that it was getting too late to ride on, and in actuality neither of us had any interest in continuing any further on the bike that day. We hung our hammocks in the campsite not too near our unwanted neighbors and settled in to make our dinner. While we prepared our dinner we would hear the faint sounds of a radio and see our neighbors were building a fire near the communal picnics table. After getting established one ventured over to us offered us a beer and suggested we come join them. We gladly accepted and had an enjoyable evening.

A chilly night in the mid to low 30s gave way to a pleasant morning. We struck camp, loaded the bikes, bid farewell to our neighbors and headed on down the path. 5 or 6 miles from camp we approached White's Ferry, we paid our 2 dollars each and took the ferry across the river in to Virginia and on to Leesburg where we planned to pick up the W&OD trail back to Reston.

Although the second day was a bit warmer and offered little shade it was a pleasant ride. The W&OD trail is a paved bike trail so we were able to pick up the pace a bit despite being more tired than the previous day. We stopped at a trail side BBQ spot, refueled, rehydrated and completed the last leg of our two day "tour". Although I was glad to get home, see my family and my girlfriend, and grab a few more birthday beverages with my friend; the trip was the highlight of the Weekend. There are no questions about that. We are now discussing the 300 mile Gap/C&O combo ride.

Pictures to follow.

~liam

Last edited by Bunks-TJ; 05-06-13 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 05-06-13, 02:30 PM
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Awesome write up. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 05-06-13, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
Awesome write up. Thank you for sharing.
+1.

Sounds like you've caught the bug, Bunks-TJ. Looking forward to seeing the pictures.
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Old 05-06-13, 04:30 PM
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Good job. Yeah, you're probably hooked now. I think that sort of ride is called an S24. Don't know what the S is for.
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Old 05-06-13, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum
Good job. Yeah, you're probably hooked now. I think that sort of ride is called an S24. Don't know what the S is for.
S24O

Sub 24 overnight.

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Old 05-06-13, 06:34 PM
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For me, whether a ride is one night or five, it only takes the first night to burn the ride into my memory forever. Congratulations, and glad you had fun. Are you serious about a 300-miler?
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Old 05-07-13, 06:10 AM
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Thanks guys. It was really a great time, and yes I am hooked.

S24 doesnt quite apply since it ended up being about 26 hours

I was a little surprised at how well my legs (and body in general held up). I had no muscle soreness at all on monday. Now my a$$ on the other hand...

We are serious about doing the Gap/C&O 300 mile ride. Obviously the challenge there is planning a time and setting aside the time in both of our schedules.

And there is an added bonus to all this. If i get more serious, its a reason to add another bike to the stable.
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Old 05-07-13, 06:13 AM
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Old 05-07-13, 06:15 AM
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Old 05-07-13, 06:45 AM
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Great pictures! Looks like a wonderful time.
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Old 05-07-13, 07:29 AM
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Liam, Bicycle touring is an activity whether it's an epic multi month tour or a simple day trip to see the sights. Very pretty scenery.

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Old 05-07-13, 07:55 AM
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Thanks guys, Yeah it was a great little trip and i can see why its so easy to get hooked. even on an old rigid trek mtn bike i felt like the king of the world... ...or at least the king of the C&O

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Old 05-07-13, 08:00 AM
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No you had it right the first time, King Of The World. But I am not known for my modesty. It was an incredible trip, our Second Annual Birthday ride, which I hope to continue going forward. I can say while I deeply enjoyed the camping aspect, and hope to do more of it on a bike, camping in a hammock in 35 degree weather is challenging to say the least.

I am happy to have joined the forum, looking forward to some great biking ideas and activities!
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Old 05-07-13, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by IH8FFX
No you had it right the first time, King Of The World. But I am not known for my modesty. It was an incredible trip, our Second Annual Birthday ride, which I hope to continue going forward. I can say while I deeply enjoyed the camping aspect, and hope to do more of it on a bike, camping in a hammock in 35 degree weather is challenging to say the least.

I am happy to have joined the forum, looking forward to some great biking ideas and activities!
I guess this is the birthday boy. you will find this to be a great resource.
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Old 05-07-13, 08:21 AM
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Im not that out of shape.....
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Old 05-07-13, 11:36 AM
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Awesome!
My bf and I are moderately experienced bike tourers. We have done up to a 12 day tour, but we have not been out on tour since 2008, due to other stuff happening in life.

We are just now discussing arranging a short overnight local trip and inviting some friends who might be interested in trying out loaded touring. It would be 15 miles to a State Park. Camp overnight, ride home 15-20 miles. Good for some beginner tourists.
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Old 05-07-13, 01:31 PM
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eofelis, Sounds like a fun trip. It's amazing how well wine, cheese and hot dogs go together with a campfire.

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Old 05-07-13, 02:11 PM
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I did the Greater Allegheny Passage last Spring at this time and enjoyed it - we were planning to ride 3-4 days but ended up doing the whole trip in 2 days due to an emergency I had to get back for. It was an incredible trip; though I recommend Boston as a starting or ending point and staying away from Mckeesport and Pittsburg a bit sketchy for this southern boy. Your pictures reminded me of the scenery and I too would like to do the whole 300 miles with using the train from DC to Pittsburg as the shuttle. Rockwood was an amazing trail town - PIZZA was awesome! Thanks for the report and drumming up my memories.
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Old 05-07-13, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by drrobwave
I did the Greater Allegheny Passage last Spring at this time and enjoyed it - we were planning to ride 3-4 days but ended up doing the whole trip in 2 days due to an emergency I had to get back for. It was an incredible trip; though I recommend Boston as a starting or ending point and staying away from Mckeesport and Pittsburg a bit sketchy for this southern boy. Your pictures reminded me of the scenery and I too would like to do the whole 300 miles with using the train from DC to Pittsburg as the shuttle. Rockwood was an amazing trail town - PIZZA was awesome! Thanks for the report and drumming up my memories.
From what I can tell, the scenery in the GAP trail is breath taking.
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Old 05-07-13, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Bunks-TJ
From what I can tell, the scenery in the GAP trail is breath taking.
Yeah there are plenty of Kodak moments, the bridges and windmills are cool. The coolest thing was that first tunnel coming out of Cumberland - awesome!



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Old 05-08-13, 06:57 AM
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Thats Awesome. I cannot wait to do that section. Maybe A car rental with a drop off up in the area is a good idea. Could ride home.
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Old 05-08-13, 07:51 AM
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There is another THREAD that is discussing the C&O-GAP car rental option - I think my buddy and I looked into that but weren't able to make it work. We ended up with a shuttle service for $220 from the bike shop on the GAP in Cumberland. I'm not one who is opposed to out and backs - so i was contemplating doing the GAP again Cumberland to Boston and back trying to stay in different locations. The GAP was so well maintained and food and camping was so accessible - it was such an easy relaxing trip. There are also place to swim and fish along the way .
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Old 05-12-13, 09:48 PM
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Great pictures.
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