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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Massachusetts
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    Great Allegheny Passage

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    Did this 135 mile rail trail with a group of 4 this past week. It's a great trail. The surface is wide and smooth crushed stone. Average grade 1.5%, though you get the fun of a steeper downhill the last 20 miles from the Eastern Continental Divide into Cumberland if you go eastward. The trail parallels the Youghiogheny River the first 70 miles, and then the Castleman (River, Creek?). Some small old industrial towns and farms, but much of the scenery is just woods and rivers, including Ohiopyle State Park. The trail gets quite a bit of use, mostly from locals, but also some long-distance users. Most towns had a bike shop on the trail and various eateries on or near the trail. We bought one meal and some snacks every day, but also carried some food and cooked sometimes. One highlight of the trail was the Big Savage Tunnel (lighted, 3294 feet long), followed by the Borden (957 ft) and Brush (914) unlit tunnels. Kind of freaky riding through those. Also crossed the Eastern Continental Divide and the Mason-Dixon Line. Here's our itinerary, with a 1:30 start from McKeesport the first day.

    May 25 McKeesport, PA to Round Bottom Campsite, 36 miles
    May 26 Round Bottom Campsite to Huskey Haven Campground, 56 miles
    May 27 Huskey Haven Campground to Cumberland, 44 mies

    After Cumberland, we continued down the C&O to Hancock, MD, spending one night at Purslane Run Hiker/Biker campsite.

    A few pictures.
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    Last edited by DebW; 07-19-2009 at 10:49 AM.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Limbo
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    8,783
    Quote Originally Posted by DebW View Post
    Most towns had a bike shop on the trail and various eateries on or near the trail. We bought one meal and some snacks every day, but also carried some food and cooked sometimes.
    So your guys finally found some forks?

    When you got to the Eastern Continental Divide was it obvious that you had climbed, were on the peak, and that it was downhill from there?

    I want more pictures! And more pie!
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
    2009 Jamis Aurora/Brooks B-68
    2010 Trek FX 7.6 WSD/stock bontrager

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    2,559
    Quote Originally Posted by zencentury View Post
    So your guys finally found some forks?

    When you got to the Eastern Continental Divide was it obvious that you had climbed, were on the peak, and that it was downhill from there?

    I want more pictures! And more pie!
    It was sandwiches from Sheetz or a meatball hoagie at the only open restaurant, a hot dog stand, in Rockwoods. We did get a real meal at the Crabby Pig in Cumberland, but did not steal the forks.

    Approaching the Eastern Continental Divide from the east, it wasn't obvious that you were climbing - it was that gradual. But the downhill to Cumberland was obvious. I was doing 11 mph on the flats/gradual up, and hit a whopping 15 mph going down. Here's the view from the top, just after the Savage tunnel, looking toward Cumberland, which is just beyond the "gap".

    One more picture. But you are supposed to supply the pie.
    Last edited by DebW; 07-19-2009 at 10:49 AM.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    S. Dak.
    Posts
    490
    Deb, I enjoyed your ride report and pics. Love to see folks enjoying tour bikes and great scenery.
    What kind of bike are you riding?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosc View Post
    Deb, I enjoyed your ride report and pics. Love to see folks enjoying tour bikes and great scenery.
    What kind of bike are you riding?
    It's a custom frame by Peter Mooney, designed for commuting and light touring and some faster rides (if I swap to 650c wheels). It's only shortcoming was caliper brakes on the muddy C&O that clogged up a couple times.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Virginia's Blue Ridge
    Posts
    500
    Great trip report, Deb. Thank you for taking the time to post photos and your itinerary!
    "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." (Will Rogers)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Phillipston, MA
    Posts
    445
    Love the photo journal. Glad your new custom bike is getting some exercise. Sounds like a fun time. And very pretty.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Limbo
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    8,783
    More questions from me

    I was thinking about when you showed me your bike and realized it was in two pieces - how does it fit together?

    It was a bit chilly at night, wasn't it?


    Your front bags look larger than the rear bags.
    If so, why and does it affect steering?

    Where's that photo of me? Is it that awful?
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
    2009 Jamis Aurora/Brooks B-68
    2010 Trek FX 7.6 WSD/stock bontrager

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    VA / DC Metro Area
    Posts
    624
    Great ride report, Deb! This looks great! I would love to one day do this as well but in the opposite direction. I have heard that it isn't outrageously hilly or anything and that it can be done in 3-4 days. Oh to tour!
    "She who succeeds in gaining the master of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life." -Frances E. Willard
    My Cycling Blog | Requisite Bike Pics | Join the Team Estrogen group at Velog.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Limbo
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    Quote Originally Posted by F8th637 View Post
    . Oh to tour!
    I have a good canal bike with a fancy rack I'll sell you
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
    2009 Jamis Aurora/Brooks B-68
    2010 Trek FX 7.6 WSD/stock bontrager

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sunny Florida
    Posts
    108
    What great pics - thanks for sharing!
    My first charity ride! The MS150 Cycle to the Shore

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by zencentury View Post
    More questions from me

    I was thinking about when you showed me your bike and realized it was in two pieces - how does it fit together?

    It was a bit chilly at night, wasn't it?

    Your front bags look larger than the rear bags.
    If so, why and does it affect steering?

    Where's that photo of me? Is it that awful?
    The two pieces of my bike are held together with S&S Couplers. See http://www.sandsmachine.com/.

    It was chilly the first couple of nights, but pretty warm the last two. The first couple nights I ended up wearing my hat and fleece inside my bag by morning. The last night I slept in shorts and a T-shirt and didn't even use my quilt until almost morning.

    Both sets of panniers are front panniers, because I try to go pretty light (~25 lb). The rears ones are Ortlieb front rollers, with a dry-bag type closure. Since they are not easy to get into during the day, they hold my camping gear and camp clothes. The front ones are Ortlieb SportPacker Plus and have drawstrings and a buckled lid. This set goes in front because I can open them while standing over the bike and grab my camera or a snack. I may have sometimes had more weight in the front panniers than the rear panniers, but if you add the drybag with my sleeping bag and hammock strapped on top of the rear rack, then the rear end had more weight. It took me about 30 minutes on the first day to get used to the handling with front panniers. I find that the left/right balance is pretty critical to good handling, but not so much the front/rear.

    Here's the photo of you. Not at all awful, IMO.
    Last edited by DebW; 07-19-2009 at 10:49 AM.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,269
    Thanks for your ride report, Deb (and the pictures, too)! It sounds like a wonderful tour! I'm envious of the gorgeous scenery you were riding through- so very pretty. That long, lit tunnel looks really freaky (even lit up). Glad you enjoyed yourself.
    Check out my running blog: www.turtlepacing.blogspot.com

    Cervelo P2C (tri bike)
    Bianchi Eros (commuter/touring road bike)

    1983 Motobecane mixte (commuter/errand bike)
    Cannondale F5 mountain bike

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    VA / DC Metro Area
    Posts
    624
    Quote Originally Posted by zencentury View Post
    I have a good canal bike with a fancy rack I'll sell you
    LOL Let me guess and it's too small for me right?
    "She who succeeds in gaining the master of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life." -Frances E. Willard
    My Cycling Blog | Requisite Bike Pics | Join the Team Estrogen group at Velog.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    979
    I think I am going to have to try this but going from the other direction. but hmm I've never been camping. we'll have to see how this pans out.

 

 

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