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  1. #1
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    C & O tow path questions

    After many years wanting to, this fall I'm finally doing it .

    So far I'm doing a cross bike with a bob trailer. Fenders, rear racks, panniers, many years bike commuting experience.

    Where do you camp there? I'm going from dc to Pittsburgh .

    Going to bring water filters.

    Any good or must have books for the trail? Or just wing it ?

    Bill

  2. #2
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    This is a ride I would like to try someday too.

    I have no first hand info.

    But would suggest you check out crazyguyonabike.com: Bicycle Touring: A place for bicycle tourists and their journals.

    Do a search for C & O and you will find many trip reports from others who have done this route. My interest comes from reading many of these reports.

    Good luck.

    R

  3. #3
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    I'm actually doing this ride in September with some buddies, but we're going from Pittsburgh to DC.

    There are actually two trail systems used, the Great Allegheny Passage: Great Allegheny Passage - www.gaptrail.org

    And the C&O Towpath: Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park - Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

    There are numerous camping and lodging sites along the paths. Just take a look at this section from DC to Cumberland (C&O Towpath):http://www.nps.gov/choh/upload/Recre...t-nov-2011.pdf

    The GAP link above also has links for Camping and Lodging. It seems like a well developed trail system so finding food and water also shouldn't be much of an issue.

  4. #4
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    C & O tow path questions

    Anybody have a suggestion for a shuttle service? I'd like to ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.


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  5. #5
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    Cumberland Trail Connection (Cumberland, MD)...they are a bike shop right at the trailhead of the C&O and GAP. They shuttle either direction.

    You might also look into Amtrak. They run from DC to Pitt. If the Pittsburgh terminal handles freight, you can load your bike in DC and get it in Pittsburgh. There's a terminal in Cumberland, MD but they don't handle freight so you can't unload your bike there.

  6. #6
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    What do you think your daily mileage will be? The trail is pretty much dead flat and if you can get 60 miles a day you will definitely pass through towns with services every day. No need for water filters unless you really want them, there are water pumps treated with iodine all along the C&O, and on the GAP there are plenty of shops for gatorade, ice cream, restaurants, etc... Cross bike is fine, BOB is overkill-- if it wont fit into a set of paneers with rear rack and a backpack then just dont bring it! You wont need much gear at all for the ride it's pretty casual. Definitely buy the trailbook from the ATAtrail website it has mile by mile info on whats along the trail. Theres a good iphone app for the GAP and one for the C&O as well that has all the services listed. Came in handy when I accidentally left my guidebook at a B+B!

    It's an awesome ride. I did it last summer with my girlfriend and we stayed at B+Bs every night. Im heading back to do it again this spring by myself as well. I'm from Pgh, and I got a one way car rental from PGH to DC then biked back. Wasn't too expensive at all especially split between 2 people.


    ENJOY the ride!

  7. #7
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    My wife, daughter (2YO) were thinking about doing this trip, but the shuttle part gets a little complicated with our Big Dummy. We are leaning more towards an Outer Banks loop instead.

    Amtrak is an option, but I have read that you will need to box your bike up for the trip.

    We have done about a 100 miles of the GAP trail, awesome area for sure! Your Cross bike will be perfect.

    Keep us posted with your plans.

  8. #8
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    From the Amtrak site:


    *Full-size bicycles may be carried on certain trains with designated walk-on bicycle service. Bicycles must be stowed in the designated space within the body of the car. Reservations may be made online or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL.

    *Passengers utilizing the walk-on bicycle service, where bikes are carried on select trains by the passenger and stored in designated areas, must be able to fully handle their bicycle, and be able to lift their bicycle to shoulder height. Passengers are responsible for stowage and security of bicycles.

    Seems to me that the Amtrak from DC to Cumberland/Pittsburgh has this option. I forget where I read or heard that. If not...it may be possible to buy a second ticket and bring the bike on as a "passenger". I don't know if they'd allow it...might be an idea though. Cheaper than using a shuttle service at least. I've wanted to do the C&O trip for awhile. Maybe this year. Heck, I only live 15 minutes from the trail...I've never really ridden it.

  9. #9
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    Nubster: good info! Utilizing the Amtrak option is the way to make this happan if you ask me.

    Checkout the below link discussing some of the difficulties potentially faced though.
    The C&O Canal Bicycling Guide - Transport and Shuttles

    Look forward to hearing some sucess stories on the train.

    Cheers

    Butch

  10. #10
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    C & O tow path questions

    Walk on would be ideal. Even boxing your bike would be ok if you're going from dc to Pittsburgh.


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  11. #11
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    Here is the page that details bicycle allowances.

    Amtrak - Plan - Policies - Baggage Policy & Service - Special Items

    There is walk-on bicycle service on certain routes, but not the one in question (Capital Limited). Bicycles can be boxed and put on the train as checked luggage, which can only be loaded and unloaded in DC and Pittsburgh. That works great if you are doing the GAP & C&O, not so great if you only want to ride one of them.

  12. #12
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    Here's a good rundown on the ride and train: Bicycle Times rides to Washington | Bicycle Times Magazine

    They have experimented with roll-on roll-off service for bikes on the Captiol Limited line, but nothing has been committed yet. My guess it will happen eventually though.

    Like the above poster said, you can NOT stop halfway. There is no baggage service in Cumberland.

  13. #13
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    I rode a recumbent trike from Florida to Pittsburg a few years ago and did the C&O and GAP trails into Pittsburg.
    There are some great campsites along the rivers on the C&O and many inexpensive hostel sort of lodging along the GAP. There are water pumps at most campsites on the C&O but the water always tasted of iron so bad it was only drinkable in a survival situation IMO.
    have a great trip!

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