Sunday, February 23, 2014

DC to Pittsburgh Bike Trip 2014

Time for the 8th annual DC to Pittsburgh Bike Trip. This trip consists of the 3 1/2 day bike trip up the C&O Canal Towpath trail (183 miles) from DC to Cumberland, as well as the additional 150 miles from Cumberland to Pittsburgh. Thus, people can do the whole trip, or just the portions that they are interested in. 

The plan is to leave DC on Sat, 5 July afternoon (meet up around 3:30PM at Chain Bridge), with the Pittsburgh people coming in by convoy Saturday morning (or earlier if you want to do The Traverse/DC fireworks). Leaving DC, we will do about 30 miles on Saturday, about 60 miles (each) on Sun and Mon, and the remaining 40 miles of the Canal on Tuesday. From Cumberland, anyone heading back to DC will catch a ride (pre-arranged) back to DC, so that they will be home at a reasonable time for work the next day. Anyone heading further on towards Pittsburgh will continue for another 2.5 days (60 miles/day average) and get in on Thursday night.  The next post (scroll down) has more details about the trip.


I have biked the canal 14 times, and it is a delightful bike trip. The path is level (except for 10 ft rises at each lock) and is packed dirt/gravel. You are in the woods pretty much the whole time, which is nice, but there are small towns every 30 miles or so where you can eat or restock. The Canal is a National Historical Park, so it is well maintained and there are free hiker/biker campsites (clearing with well water pump, porta-potty, picnic table, and fire pit) every 10 miles or so. Additionally, there are many interesting natural/historical sites along the canal that make for a fun break from biking.


I've only done the GAP 8 times, but this section is also great - the trail is smoother and has more towns than the Canal, but is still in the woods. The GAP also features the "easiest" 2000 ft climb you will ever do, a number of tunnels, the Mason-Dixon line, and the Eastern Continental Divide.

If you are interested in bike touring, this makes a great introduction.

As much as I hate to say it, I plan to use Facebook to keep track of who is coming, so please find the bike trip event on Facebook (I will be sending a link to everyone I can think to) and join the event.  If you don't get an invite, email me.

Still curious? Here are some awesome pictures from the 2010 trip:

4 comments:

Matthew S. Schwartz said...

Well? How did it go? :) Updates please!

Matt from DC
(who wants to bike to Pittsburgh)

eric said...

It went well. We have a reputation for getting people across to Pittsburgh, regardless of what the bikes, weather, or bodies throw at us (I call it "corpse dragging").

Weather was good, and we had a pretty experienced crew (only one "first-time" person), so there were few problems.

I did go very slow (probably cruising at 9 mph) myself because I was towing a trailer and a three-year-old the whole way. That was quite an adventure - while other people took breaks, I changed diapers and sang "wheels on the bus".

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DC to Pittsburgh Bike Trip must be adventurous and thrilling also. It is dare to travel on bike from one city to another. Bikers do get tired but enjoy also.