Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by siafired » Tue, 18 Mar 2008 23:21:53


After hearing that the C&O c***trail now connects smoothly to the
Great Allegheny Passage Trail all the way to Pittsburgh PA, I kind of
want to ride the entire length of both of the trails.

The tentative plan now is as follows:

Friday May 2nd: get a ride up to Pittsburgh from a friend and see the
Bouncing Souls, Tim Barry, and Gaslight Anthem (sweet show lineup).
Stay the night in Pittsburgh somewhere...not sure where or with whom.

Saturday May 3rd - start the ride!
Sun
Mon
Tues
Wednesday May 7th - finish either in DC or at my house in Fairfax.

That gives me 5 days to ride 320-350 miles depending on where I stop.
If I went the length from DC to my house, I would follow the Custis and
W&OD back from DC.

I would be bringing a backpack with a sleeping bag and light weight
shelter and hopefully camping most of the days on the trail.  I haven't
looked into how I will split up the days yet or where all the campsites
are, but that is not really important yet.

This will be great training for RTL and give me some more experience
doing self supported uni tours.  Frank (hell on wheel) mentioned he
might be interested in joining me.  He completed the 180+ mile ride
from DC to Cumberland a few years back.

Links:
Great Allegheny Passage: http://SportToday.org/
C&O Canal: http://SportToday.org/
Someone's account of DC to Pittsburgh:
http://SportToday.org/

Hopefully I can take off work and go through with the ride!

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by siafired » Sun, 23 Mar 2008 02:57:09

Update:

I am able to take off the days from work and my friend Zach will be
joining me on his bike.

Should be a great trip.  Now to work out how I am going to divide the
days.  Looking at an adventure bicycling company, they divide the trip
into 7 days and stay at places with beds.  I am hoping to do it in 2
less days with 1 less wheel and camp most of the time. :D

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by OneWheelLes » Sun, 23 Mar 2008 03:53:13

that'll be killer, what kind of speeds do you think you'll be averaging/
how many hours of riding will you be doing?

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by siafired » Sun, 23 Mar 2008 04:08:57

Quote:

> that'll be killer, what kind of speeds do you think you'll be averaging/
> how many hours of riding will you be doing?

I will be using this as part of my training for Ride The Lobster, so I
would be trying to keep a decent pace.  I am not sure about the speed
though b/c I haven't had a chance to ride more than 25-30 miles on my
geared uni yet (and I will be weighed down with gear).  The goal would
be to do 60-70 miles a day and not go below 11-12 mph, but aim for
higher speeds and mix in random hour long speed bursts of 16-17mph to
prepare for RTL(but that is just a goal, may not be a reality).  I am
guessing we will be stopping every now and then to enjoy the sites
though.  I am not sure about the hours of riding either, but probably
spread out across most of the day.

I am looking into where the primitive campgrounds are now and found
this resource:
http://SportToday.org/

Looks like I can have a fire at most of them.

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by Nimbusnu » Sun, 23 Mar 2008 04:29:24

That is so cool. Dang! I thought I'd be set with a 20" and a 24". Now I
have to explain to my wife that I need a 29" and a 36"... Too bad I
can't convince her to learn the ways of the uni!

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by Silvi » Mon, 24 Mar 2008 00:49:00

Hey. I live in that area too but am rather busy with finals coming up
the week after and I couldn't keep up that long anyways. However, I was
thinking of maybe just meeting up with you all when you hit the Falls,
close to DC for 2 hours or so if thats ok. I have a 36" but haven't had
the chance to ride with anyone else who has one too.
Silvia

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by $unidude$chad$: » Mon, 24 Mar 2008 01:45:19

have fun with the hills:D:D:D:D pittsburgh area is hilly (i shoudl know
i live like 1 hour away)

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by osmund » Mon, 24 Mar 2008 02:49:32

That is going to be a really fun ride with your GUNI-MUNI.  I've biked
that path north from DC.  It is beautiful.  Enjoy!

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by siafired » Mon, 24 Mar 2008 06:35:03

Quote:

> Hey. I live in that area too but am rather busy with finals coming up
> the week after and I couldn't keep up that long anyways. However, I was
> thinking of maybe just meeting up with you all when you hit the Falls,
> close to DC for 2 hours or so if thats ok. I have a 36" but haven't had
> the chance to ride with anyone else who has one too.
> Silvia

Yeah that would be great.  PM me a phone number and I can give you a
call from the trail when I know when I will be passing by the Falls if
you want to join up with us.  I'll also post an updated schedule in
this thread with how I am segmenting the days in case anyone else wants
to join for just a few hours or 1 day.

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by siafired » Sun, 20 Apr 2008 00:10:20

This trip is approaching fast, so I am getting some training in and
finalizing my gear.  I will be using my new Nimbus Nightrider on this
trip instead of the geared 29er because of two reasons: I had some
tendon pain from using the guni last week on a long ride, and because
the 36 will roll a lot better on the C&O canal.  I will be using the
N36 with 125mm cranks.

I have this backpack:
[image: http://SportToday.org/]
Northface Solaris 35L

It is a daypack that is hydration capable with sufficient carrying
capacity(hopefully).  The straps are VERY nice on it and it is very
comfy to wear with a lot of weight in it.

I am using a cheap $4 polyethylene 6'x8' tarp and some guylines for my
shelter.  It looks like I will be able to make a C frame shelter with
enough room to have a small floor space, a little room to crawl in and
enough tarp to cover the sleeping area and angle it down.

I bought a seatpost mounted rack that will hold my sleeping bag and
tarp with a bungee to get some bulk off my back.

And finally I have a lightweight foam sleeping pad that I will strap to
the outside of the backpack.

I am still figuring out what clothing I will be bringing, but I am
going to keep it light.

My friend and I will be doing a practice run on this Saturday where we
will cycle somewhere and camp and then return to test out our gear.

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by U-Tur » Sun, 20 Apr 2008 01:04:10

Looks like you're doing great!

6x8 is pretty small if there is wind and rain, but perhaps that's one
of your lightening strategies.

One good thing is that there is little need to carry water except for a
liter for drinking while riding, especially if you do the "camel-up"
thing of forcing water a bit during breaks.  A fast filter that
attaches directly to a water bag would be really useful, I'm sure.
What's the c***water reported to be like for drinking?

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by siafired » Sun, 20 Apr 2008 01:19:11

Quote:

> Looks like you're doing great!

> 6x8 is pretty small if there is wind and rain, but perhaps that's one
> of your lightening strategies.

> One good thing is that there is little need to carry water except for a
> liter for drinking while riding, especially if you do the "camel-up"
> thing of forcing water a bit during breaks.  A fast filter that
> attaches directly to a water bag would be really useful, I'm sure.
> What's the c***water reported to be like for drinking?

I probably wouldn't drink the c***water, but there are hiker/biker
camp spots along the way that have water pumps.  Also, there will be
other campgrounds, facilities, and restaurants that I can fill up my
camel bak at.

I went with 6x8 b/c the polyethylene tarp is kind of bulky and is
already over a pound in weight (anything larger is just too much), I am
going to use this cheap/bulky one to practice with before I spring for
the Sil-Nylon tarp (which is the ideal size of 10x8 and a lot
smaller/lighter packed).  I dont want to buy a $100+ tarp and ruin it
due to bad technique though, so I am holding off for now.  Also...my
friend bought the same size cheap tarp, so we will have quite a lot to
work with actually if we use them both and sleep close.  We could
probably even use one as a full groundsheet and the other as a low
roof.  It would be a lot easier for us to share the weight of a
tent...and that would probably be lighter than us both carrying cheap
tarps, but I want to use this Saturday and the Pittsburgh to DC trip as
a practice run for what a completely self supported trip would be like
so I am carrying all my own weight and we are not sharing anything even
if it is more efficient.

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by siafired » Wed, 30 Apr 2008 06:00:24

I did a practice run last week, it is up in my dcuni blog.  The C&O
C***really got a lot of grit in my bearing holders when I was riding
in the rain, I am sure a little bit got in the bearings themselves too.
When I got home I had to take off my frame and clean out the
frame/bearing caps.

I am leaving this Friday for Pittsburgh for this trip.  This will
hopefully be quite fun even though it looks like it will be raining a
lot during my trip :(

I will be sure to post photos and a write up when I am back.  My gear
is pretty much finalized...but I am now debating whether or not to get
a last minute minimal bivvy sack to use in conjunction with the tarp
since it looks like it will be raining a lot.  I am e***d to do my
first >2 day entirely self supported unitour.

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by semach.the.monke » Tue, 13 May 2008 20:20:47

Quote:

> I am leaving this Friday for Pittsburgh for this trip.  This will
> hopefully be quite fun even though it looks like it will be raining a
> lot during my trip :(

> I will be sure to post photos and a write up when I am back.

So, are you back yet?  How did it go?  Got any photos to share?  Did
the rain hold out ok?  Was the tarp up to the job?

STM

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Pittsburgh to DC - Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal

Post by U-Tur » Wed, 14 May 2008 04:44:58

Quote:

> All in all...it was a pretty unsucessful trip.

Sounds like you learned a lot; sounds pretty successful to me.  My
father and I took a 640 mile bike trip through New England when I was
17.  The first try he ended up with crippling knee pain after the first
day, so we had to get a ride back.  About 6 weeks later, smarter and in
better shape, we started again and completed the trip.

I'm looking forward to your description of Attempt #2!

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