I am looking to do a six-day ride from Pittsburgh to DC on the Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Canal Towpath. Ride is ~333 miles point to point. Trail is packed gravel mostly, some slightly more rugged/bumpy paths further in. I am looking to see if there are any hardy folks that want to put a contingent together and do this thing in six days or less.
Kick it around if you are interested and post your reply below. We can figure out how to get in touch and discuss later. For now, I just want to see if there is any general interest.
Thanks for the invite 62%. Not sure I could take so much gravel trail riding...too boring. Do you have any options to divert to county roads? Let's face it: that routing was designed for TRAINS. With steam locomotives! Not bicycles.
I know riding county roads will result in more up-and-down riding. But from my standpoint, much more interesting....to see those small towns, restaurants and bars, and let's face it...young women!
If you put a ride like that together keep me posted. Might be nice to do an end to end ride with a group of folks.
BTW, I picked the GAP because it was completely automobile-free riding as I understand it.
It's a good ride - and I'd encourage anyone to go for it. It's been a number of years, but I've "been there and done that."
Bob - I read this blog a year or so ago and the one you did for the ride down to Mississippi. Thanks for posting them. I am going to start my planning in earnest, soon. I need to upgrade my bike (it doesn't allow for bigger tires) so I will start looking for a distance rig.
Like you my plan is to take Amtrak both ways...but I am planning on getting a sleeper; I will have plenty of time to sleep on the ground later (though I intend on staying in smaller motels, etc.)
Thanks again for your posts.
Please keep me posted on a GAP group. I am mainly interested in a Pittsburgh - Cumberland trip. About a year ago I read Amtrak would allow roll-on/roll-off at both stations. When I rode the KATY trail about 5 years ago I kept all days less than 40 miles. I tent camped all nights but did not carry any cooking gear. Local restaurants and a few packed breakfasts or lunches. It poured the fourth day out on the Katy. The “gravel” trail turned to sticky mud and was a real chore to make any headway with a loaded bike.
Two years ago I rode the Sparta-Elroy trail. It rained when we arrived and all the first day. That gravel trail was messy when wet, but still quite ride able.
Does anybody have any solid information (not Trump-talk) on ride ability of GAP surface when soaked?
The GAP is quite easy to ride when it's wet. I did it in September of 2018 and on our 2nd day the remnants of a hurricane off the east coast blew in and it rained. All day long. At points there was an inch or more of standing water because it was raining so much, but the trail conditions were fine. When it did stop raining the next morning (we opted for a B&B to stay in that night) the trail drained well and the riding was fine.
The C&O canal trail on the other hand can be a complete mess when it is really wet. We rode as far as Hagerstown MD and it was challenging at times.
Thanks for the information John. Between your information and an online description at
I am inclined to skip the Cumberland to DC section. I might do the GAP ride as soon as most schools start, first part of September. I am thinking of a four or five day trip. Day one: Amtrak to Pittsburgh and cycle some to a campground.(overnight Amtrak arrives before 7am in Pittsburgh) Days 2,3 maybe 4 cycling, depending on side trips , desirability of available campsite and distances. A quick study of the campsite list https://gaptrail.org/system/resources/W1siZiIsIjIwMTkvMDUvMTQvMTcvM...
shows they are not evenly spaced along the trail.
Last day cycle some and board Amtrak in Cumberland ( Westbound Amtrak after 11pm )
See you on the road
The C&O is an absolute arm and butt buster. But it was worth it to ride through Antietam!