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Thread: C&O Trail?

  1. #1
    Section Hiking to Maine. little bear's Avatar
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    Default C&O Trail?

    Has anyone ever biked the C&O trail from DC to Cumberland MD?

    Is anyone intrested in biking that trip. Its 185 miles and we could do it in 5-6 days. There are camp spots all along the way. Looks cool, would like to do it as well as long distance hiking.

    LB
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. George Orwell

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    Really cool ride, easy going.

    campsites are everywhere.

    I dont have off for that length of time before I leave for my thru-hike but if you want to do a 3 day trip:
    -60 miles first day
    -60 mile second day
    -65 mile third day

    I might be able to get that off.

  3. #3

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    I've done it from Harper's Ferry to D.C. It's ok, but a little bumpy and very muddy when it rains. A better trail/path is the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburg, Pa. to Cumberland, Md. It's some type of crushed rock, much better surface for cycling.

    This year after I get to Harper's Ferry I plan walking to D.C. on the C&O; not too interested in cycling it ever again though.

    There's a website for the Great Allegheny Passage just do a yahoo/google search.

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    I've backpacked most of it, some sections several times. Once above mile 30 it's virtually deserted during weekdays. Very historical.
    Try the bike oriented link
    http://bikewashington.org/canal/canal_d.htm

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    Section Hiking to Maine. little bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrongway_08 View Post
    Really cool ride, easy going.

    campsites are everywhere.

    I dont have off for that length of time before I leave for my thru-hike but if you want to do a 3 day trip:
    -60 miles first day
    -60 mile second day
    -65 mile third day

    I might be able to get that off.

    I have never done a long distance bike ride (or an overnight) so I think 60 miles might be much. I plan on riding this weekend and see how far I ride in two days and how I feel.
    Hopefully Im getting ready to get assigned to bike patrol this summer at work, so this fall Im sure I will be in good shape for 60 mile days. If you are still intrested in the fall maybe we could do it.

    LB
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. George Orwell

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    My daughter and I have been doing Cumberland-DC for the past 4 years, last year we added McKeesport, PA as the start (total trip length was around 335 miles). PM me if you need specific questions answered.

    Judy

  7. #7

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    I live near the western terminus. If you plan on doing it, I can shuttle 2 people (I have 2 bike racks on my car) depending of course on when you want to go.

    And don't forget to consider extending your trip to include the Great Allegheny Passage.

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    Thumbs up

    I've done the whole thing in sections.

    Here's a great website for info:
    http://www.fred.net/kathy/canal.html

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    There is an article in the current issue of Adventure Cyclist Magazine describing the "Ten Top Touring Areas". The first ride covered in the article is the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath combination. 335 miles of off road riding from DC to Pittsburgh. Sounds like a great ride to me, but not in the cards in the near future.

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    when are u planning this. previous post of 60 miles a day is good. only 10 mph for 6 hrs. say when

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    I was hoping to do the whole thing from Pittsburgh to DC this spring or summer, but now I have other things to take care of first. Sounds like a lot of fun, though. Two major cities are on either end (if you're counting both the Cumberland and C&O trails), so it's easy to use Greyhound in place of a shuttle. That Bike Washington site has tons of info, pretty much everything I felt I needed to plan the whole thing out. Let us know how it turns out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by little bear View Post
    I have never done a long distance bike ride (or an overnight) so I think 60 miles might be much. I plan on riding this weekend and see how far I ride in two days and how I feel.
    Hopefully Im getting ready to get assigned to bike patrol this summer at work, so this fall Im sure I will be in good shape for 60 mile days. If you are still intrested in the fall maybe we could do it.

    LB
    Doing 60 miles on a bike is easy, won't take too long to work-up to; especially since it's easy to "cheat" while riding a bike. However, if you're training to do 60 miles as quick as a Tour De France cyclist, that's another issue....

    The hardest part of preparing to do 60 miles, besides getting over the pains that will develop in your feet, back, hands... is hardening your ass. That's not a joke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john gault View Post
    Doing 60 miles on a bike is easy, won't take too long to work-up to; especially since it's easy to "cheat" while riding a bike. However, if you're training to do 60 miles as quick as a Tour De France cyclist, that's another issue....

    The hardest part of preparing to do 60 miles, besides getting over the pains that will develop in your feet, back, hands... is hardening your ass. That's not a joke.
    Seat time is the most important time.

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    A fellow who posts in the backpacker.com Mid-Atlantic regional forum under "Patsquatch" did both the GAP and C&O bike-packing last year and probably can share some good info.

    As a testament to the vision of Justice Douglas and his friends to preserve this critical passage, the C&O seems to have quite a number of additional trail system designations. Meaning it's overlapped by the A.T. briefly, the Tuscarora Trail for a bit longer, GET (both loops), ADT, Potomac Heritage NST - did I get them all?

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    Well I am on the C&O during the hot months because I like the breeze of the air wile riding. I did DC to Cumberland and then back to DC in 2006. Last year I did a DC To Pitsburg and then Back. In 2006 I did average of 50 mile days on my bike and let me just day its the best ride out there it took me exactly one week for that one. last year I was a little out of shape but I took about 3 weeks to go from DC to Pitsburg. If you are planning a trip the C&O dont turn on the water pumps till mid april. That does'nt mean you cant get water and carry extra water. There are so many towns off the trail to stop for a lunch or check it out. If you plan a trip I want in its a great expeariance, and I kno where all the cool stops are at. Dont do it on foot I did about 30 miles on foot and I nearly killed over. your knees and ankles take a realy bad beeting. I would like to go from Pitsburg to DC this spring I should take a week I been getting in pretty good shape, not the best yet but getting there. I just started taking spinning at the Gym so I will be ready for some 60 mile days soon. Hey Wrong Way if you want the C&O on bike before your thru hike we can do it in 3 days.
    "It's better to try and fail than not to try at all"
    " www.myspace.com/bigfonsie "

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    Registered User fonsie's Avatar
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    O yea they got a Bike shop opend up in Harpers Ferry.
    "It's better to try and fail than not to try at all"
    " www.myspace.com/bigfonsie "

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    Check out www.bikewashington.org , lots of info on the C&O Towpath link. The book to carry is the guidebook "184 Miles of Adventure" which has historical and trail info. I've biked or hiked the entire lenght.

  18. #18

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    I did the C & O canal in four days with my boy scout troop. Its overtly difficult, practially level. We did about 40-45 mi per day. Easily done on a bike with a little conditioning. Just plan on doing 10-12 mph over several hrs. In a recent Nat Geo Adventure, they did an artical on the The Great Allegheny Passage, which the C & O canal is part of.

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    Registered User rainmaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by little bear View Post
    Has anyone ever biked the C&O trail from DC to Cumberland MD?

    Is anyone intrested in biking that trip. Its 185 miles and we could do it in 5-6 days. There are camp spots all along the way. Looks cool, would like to do it as well as long distance hiking.

    LB
    Check out this website: www.getoutandgo.biz
    Mdame and I ran into this group last year in Harpers Ferry and thay all seemed to be really enjoying it. It is a little pricey and probably unneccessary but the outfitter took care of logistics. A couple we talked to from Colorado flew to Wash. D.C. and rode to Pittsburg on rented bikes before flying back home. I,m thinking about soloing it next year.

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    Spend as little time (Cumberland/DC in 3 days) or as much time (Pittsburgh/DC in 3 weeks) as you want. There's enough to see and do to stretch the trip out...

    Fonzie -- was that 3 weeks a round trip (DC/Pittsburgh/DC)?

    Last year we spent 17 days on the Passage/C&O. Why so long? Fishing, swimming, rafting, tubing and sightseeing... and general laziness. After all, it was vacation.
    The Passage parallels the Youghiogheny and Casselman Rivers (until Meyersdale, PA) and the C&O parallels the Potomac. We rafted at Ohiopyle, went bum-sliding at the Meadow Run natural waterslide, went tubing in the Potomac at Harper's Ferry. We visited military sites - Harper's Ferry, Antietam/Sharpsburg, Fort Frederick, Fort Cumberland; explored ruins - the Darr Mine Disaster site, Round Top Cement Mill; went visiting in towns - West Newton, Confluence, Rockwood, Meyersdale (PA), Frostburg, Cumberland, Paw Paw (WV), Shepardstown, Poolesville (MD), Washington (DC), Leesburg (VA); saw plenty of nature, wonderful vistas, beautiful falls, caves and man's destruction - acid mine drainage, coal mining scars, slag heaps, abandoned buildings, junkyards. Visited Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob - Frank Lloyd Wright's contributions to Western PA architecture. Talked to locals, yokels, legends (Maynard Zembower is a 99 year old volunteer at the Rockwood trailhead, Bill Schoenadel is owner of Bill's Place and the unofficial mayor of Little Orleans, MD) and a reporter from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (even got mentioned in his article). Hell, I had so much fun, I'd like to extend this year's trip another week. Maybe do a return trip and get shuttled from Cumberland to Frostburg by steam train.

    We camped most of the time, went to a hostel in Meyersdale and a motel in Cumberland and Harper's Ferry. Stealth camping is discouraged (read forbidden), but the C&O has hiker/biker sites every 5-7 miles (on average) until just outside of DC. Best of all, they're FREE. The Passage has very few free camping opportunities, be prepared to pay.

    "184 Miles of Adventure" is a great guide -- was my first one when I was hiking the Canal in the 60's and 70's. Mike High wrote a excellent guide entitled "The C&O Trail Companion", which I would also recommend.

    Judy

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