Cycling the C&O Canal / GAP Trails: Planning

Like last year, I’ve decided to take a bike trip in October. This year, I’ve decided to ride from Washington DC to Pittsburgh PA via the C&O Canal and Great Allegheny Passage bicycle trails (335 miles). I’ll do this as a self supported ride, camping along the way.

The tentative plan is to use a rental car to transport myself, bike and gear from Nashville to DC on Friday, October 9th. The bicycle trip should take 6 days so that puts me in Pittsburgh on Thursday afternoon, October 15th. Jen will fly up and meet me on Thursday so we’ll have a long weekend to explore Pittsburgh then drive back together on Sunday. The backup plan in case Jen can’t get off from work is for me to just drive myself back with a rental car.

The two main differences that stand out to me compared to my Natchez trip is that the C&O Canal and GAP trails are non-motorized trails so I won’t have to deal with cars once on the trail in DC. Second, the trails have few paved surfaces so I’ll switch my tires out to 26 x 2.0 Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tires. These have beefier tread and are wider than my normal tires and they’ll serve as winter / “off road” tires.

I’m following the tenth edition TrailBook thru trip itinerary.

  1. Saturday – 61 miles to Harper’s Ferry
  2. Sunday – 63 miles to Hancock, MD
  3. Monday – 60 miles to Cumberland
  4. Tuesday – 44 miles to Rockwood
  5. Wednesday – 47 miles to Connellsville
  6. Thursday – 60 miles to Pittsburgh, PA

The distances should hopefully give me a more leisurely pace than my Natchez trip. I do wonder how different the non-paved trails will be how that’ll affect my distance and effort.

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