2 Wheel Trailer on the GAP and C&O -
BoyScoutTroop on 04/13/2012 08:23 AM
I have been reading trip reports and other information. I am planning on using 2 wheeled trailers to haul camping gear to avoid panniers. Does the trail mostly accommodate the use of the trailer understanding that it may be a pain in the muddy spots? I have seen people using BOBs but those are out of the budget for this ride.
Jim on 04/13/2012 03:26 PM
As far as the C&O, you should be okay with 2 wheeled trailers. The trail is basically level, the only dips you will experience would be at some of the canal locks. At those places you may experience a drop from 3 to 5 feet and up again. The entire trail is hard packed dirt and natural stone. This is a not a rail trail. If you experience rain it can get very muddy, but lately it's been very dry.
lenny on 04/14/2012 04:32 AM
I believe you may be slowed down by the narrow width of the C&O. In some places it is barely wide enough fo two bikes.
vabiker from williamsburg va on 04/16/2012 10:26 AM
Agree, the 2 wheel trailer can be used on C&O but will be painful in places. No problem on the GAP. I have a BOB...look on Craigslist, ebay and Amazon...there are some buys out there!
Les on 04/26/2012 09:11 AM
I have always wondered about a two wheel trailer tracking on shoulder and middle/ grassy areas on the canal. Seems like that would add lots of friction.
lenny on 04/26/2012 06:55 PM
YEP,I agree Les
speedster on 04/27/2012 04:51 PM
Yes, more rolling resistance for sure with 2 extra wheels. As you mentioned, one wheel will likely always be on the 'bad line' with the dandelions and overgrowth. Average speeds should be factored in as slower than a conventional set-up without trailer, as there's no way in hell you'll make anything close to 12-15mph average going this route.
I prefer to just use panniers along with a backpack if need be, if your gear carrying needs are significant.
From my perspective, a trailer always seems like a good idea in theory, but when you get out there and actually put 'wheel to trail', it never works out as well as imagined.
EJ from Richmond, Va on 05/04/2012 10:37 AM
We are starting the trip in Pitts on a tandem and a 2 wheel trailer June 17th. I have traveled a lot with this set up and we have always been fine. The tandem takes lots of attention do to the length and the trailer seems to just be a part of the train. I have reports that the 2 wheel set up is fine on the GAP and the C&O is a little tighter but is done by many.
Dianne from Havre de Grace, MD on 05/07/2012 09:10 PM
I would definitely recommend panniers over a two-wheeled trailer. I did this trip last spring with two of my children. We started out with panniers and a two-wheeled trailer; the friction of the extra wheels on the mud and grass was slowing me down in a big way. By day two I had to ditch the trailer and re-pack everything into panniers on my bike and load up the kids panniers a little more. Trailers seem like a great option, and I think they are on hard packed surfaces, but most of the C&O has tall grass that at least a wheel or two will be dragging through. You'll be surprised at how much you can stuff into a large size pannier. I wish you a wonderful trip! We had a blast last year!
Anonymous on 05/23/2012 11:46 AM
Yes, did it last year and doing it again this year. See pix at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/cando
No issues, it ain't worthy of glorious bike magazines, but 100% appropriate. I use a two-kid trailer: last year in it's original configration; this year converted into a cargo trailer. The towpath is friendly and forgiving to "alternative" functionalities. Have no fear.
Anonymous on 05/17/2012 07:47 AM
Still trying to figure out what kind of tires to use on a planned ride in July from DC to Pittsburgh. If I understand correctly, things are paved from Cumberland on west. Don't want a big clunky tire on the pavement. How thin of a tire can I get by with from DC to Cumberland?
speedster on 05/17/2012 06:35 PM
I've done a large section of the C&O on a 32, no flats and no issues.
Your thinking of using the thinnest tire (within reason) seems right to me. Less rolling resistance, which consumes less energy by the rider while pedalling. Over a sustained distance, the savings in energy exerted is substantial. Your average speed will be higher and you'll presumably finish earlier (which near the end of your trek, the finish will seem like it can't come soon enough!).
lenny on 05/18/2012 04:12 AM
The GAP isn't paved, it is packed crushed limestone. It can be soft if it rtains but is generally smooth and hard most of the time. I use Panaracer TSERV PT, which are kevlar, and run 90# air,are very fast and hard. I've done the entire ride on them.
Rod Bruckdorfer from Baltimore, MD on 05/22/2012 09:38 AM
I have ridden the C&O trail twice with front and rear panniers on self-support tours. Both times I used 32 mm X 700C tires - Conti Contact tires. The C&O trail is a rough surface and 60 miles is a long day. The trail surface is composed of pea size gravel and clay. In some sections the gravel is on the surface and not packed into the clay. If I could fit 35 mm wide tires to my Miyata 1000 LT touring bike, I would use this width of tire on the C&O. If you plan to go self-supported with panniers, etc. lightweight skinny tires are not suitable for touring.
Anonymous on 05/23/2012 11:39 AM
I've run on 32 with no problems. For enduring comfort along the way I wouldn't go any narrower. I'm now riding on 37's, which greatly improve my comfort with negligable speed penalty. I tour and commute on my bike daily, and hit the towpath twice a year for weekend tours.
Non-stop from Cumberland to Harper's Ferry? -
C-Bass from CT on 05/03/2012 08:02 AM
I'm planning a solo credit-card tour from Pitsburgh to DC along the GAP/C&O at the end of June. My plan includes a non-stop 125-mile ride from Cumberland to Harper's Ferry on day 3. Is it possible to maintain a 12-mph pace along this section of the trail? Can anyone ofer any advice on riding this section non-stop? Thanks.
Anonymous on 05/03/2012 03:01 PM
It would really depend.
Are you the type to stop for photos? How often do you stop for food/bathroom stops etc. How old are you? How many miles do you ride in an average week?
End of June it will likely be fairly hot and humid, so I would say trying that kind of distance is best done at a cooler time of year. Plenty of hydration will be key and to cover that distance you'll have to be riding through the worst of the heat in the mid-afternoon.
What I would say is get through Day 1 & 2 and then reassess where things stand, how trying of a time the ride has been on the first couple days, whether you're dealing with a case of major saddle sore, flats, broke spokes or general bad luck or bike troubles. If this is the case, I'm guessing aborting your plan would be your best option, unless you're fond of tempting fate.
It certainly ambitious. Doable, not so sure..
The only way to really find out is to go out there and give it a shot.
lenny on 05/03/2012 08:34 PM
Very doable if weather and machine cooperate. when entering the towpath from the detour be aware of the sandy track. I have dumped there twice as I came flying in off of the hill. I have friends riding that week you maY meet them they are a ballistic gang.
Stu from Whitney, PA on 05/23/2012 10:28 AM
My brother and I just finished the Deal, PA to DC run, approx. 220 mi. So, OK, I'll be the stick-in-the-mud. But first, a question: are you out there to have fun or to beat the crap out of yourself? If you're there to have fun make that stretch a 2-day affair. If you're there for the latter reason go for the non-stop. Bear in mind you will have at least 2 slow-downs: Paw Paw Tunnel (for which you WILL need a headlamp) and the 5 mi. road detour at Big Slackwater. For that distance a sustainable pace would be 9-10 mph. Good luck!
GREAT CAMP HOST -
HONDO from WEST VIRGINIA on 05/14/2012 03:57 PM
Im currently on bicyle stuck in Rockwood Pa. due to heavy rains that soaked everything I had. I was camped at Huskey Haven Campground and as I was leaving I told the owner I was headed to a hostel to dry things out and spend an extra night but he insisted I stay in his rec room area to to dry things out and sleep there for free. He has a nice primitive campground with nice amenities like washer/dryer,tv,internet,showers,wood stove, game room across the river so please check them out if you pass this way and need a place to camp. Great hosts.
lenny on 05/14/2012 07:05 PM
Great report. I think you will find that most of the business people along the trail and the trailheads are the best. Enjoy your ride.
Anonymous on 05/18/2012 06:53 PM
That;s great to hear... Husky Haven is on my short list for stops...
Hondo from West Virginia on 05/20/2012 05:40 PM
Just to follow up. I left Husky Haven the next day only to have my chain break and derailer mess up 6 miles up the trail. The bike shop in Rockwood (Lynn) fixed me right up but the day was shot so I went back to the campground and the owner just looks at me and chuckles. Yes, another day at H.H. I did make it all the way to Harpers Ferry though. I cannot tell people what a fun adventure this is for anyone, young and old. I met one fellow, 76 years young that just had a new pacemaker and was doing the whole thing out and back. Nothing but a wonderful experience both GAP and C&O
vabiker23518 from williamsburg va on 05/22/2012 06:57 AM
We've camped at Husky Haven before and were very happy with the service and amenities...nice folks and a great trail town.
Scuby from Altoona, PA on 05/15/2012 07:43 PM
I just rode The GAP from Pittsburgh to Cumberland and had a Great Time. Would like to plan another Ride when the Rhododendrons are in Bloom. Can anyone give me an approximate time frame so I can make plans? Thanks
lenny on 05/15/2012 08:04 PM
Do you mean Mountain Laurel?
Anonymous on 05/16/2012 04:31 AM
Some people on the Ride said there were both Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron. I would like to plan a ride when they are in bloom. Thanks
lenny on 05/16/2012 07:20 PM
rhododendron blooms now. Mountain Laurel blooms the month of June.
Bill's Place in Little Orleans -
milo3 from durham, nc on 05/15/2012 07:42 PM
just went there for a pizza and beer! great! bridge from appel rd was washed out this morning but you can still get across... thanks Bill!
Weekend Warrior -
BG from Conowingo,Md. on 05/04/2012 07:38 AM
Just finished my first weekend Solo camping trip on the C&O. I camped at Fifteen Mile Creek at Little Orleans. I shared the whole campgrounds with only two other camp sites in use. One group of three friendly kayakers who gratiously invited me to join them for the obligatory beer at Bill's Place.I biked up to the Paw Paw tunnel and back and it was a beautiful ride, many Bald Eagles and Wood ducks, spring flowers.This visit really makes one appreciate the NPS and I'm grateful we have this place kept available for us all.Everyone I met on the trail felt likewise.Enjoy BG
lenny on 04/29/2012 01:49 PM
Are there any updates on the connection between Pittsburgh and the waterfront?????
Big Slackwater Repair Project - Update -
Randy on 04/24/2012 01:01 PM
Big Slackwater Repairs
C&O Canal National Historical Park
Updated: April 2, 2012
Restoration of the C&O Canal Towpath at Big Slackwater is ongoing. Installation of the pier footings, the concrete columns on top of the footings, and the skirt wall panels continues. These concrete elements, along with the double tee panels, form the eight (8) elevated walkways which will be located along the river within the limits of the project.
Additionally, the contractor is continuing reconstruction of the historic towpath in areas directly adjacent to the elevated walkways. Masons also are continuing to rebuild the historic stone wall along the river. Off site, the production of concrete skirt wall panels and deck panels is ongoing, and the contractor continues to receive these pieces to the site. Work on the elevated walkways, the towpath, and the stone masonry is expected to continue in the coming weeks.
By this summer we will no longer need to detour the 5 miles on public roads. :)
lenny on 04/25/2012 04:07 AM
Great News. Now if they could connect Pittsburgh.
C&O trail -
Nora from Nashville on 04/18/2012 12:11 PM
We are riding the C&O and the GAP next week. Rain is in the forecast. Does anyone know how likely it is that the trail will be muddy to the point that it will be difficult to ride?
speedster on 04/19/2012 03:32 PM
Not that likely. It's been an unusually dry spring, for starters, so the ground isn't overly saturated to begin with. I rode a section of the trail last weekend after a heavy rain Sat. evening, without any sort of problem.
Furthermore, there is a stoney base layer pretty much everywhere I've traversed along the trail route. Big washouts and puddles shouldn't be a factor.
Obviously, bring raingear to keep yourself dry if rain is a possibility. Other than that, get out there and enjoy it!
Nora Balint from Nora Balint on 04/20/2012 05:31 PM
Thank you, speedster! That is comforting. Have a good weekend!
lenny on 04/21/2012 04:29 AM
the GAP will be fine in the rain because of the ballast base and chip top. but the C&O is a notorious mud hole in places after a rain.I've done the C&O twice and it rained one day each time and the track was puddled
vabiker23518 from williamsburg va on 04/23/2012 01:32 PM
Wow...looking at all that snow in and around the GAP...hope you're not out in it!
lenny on 04/22/2012 07:31 PM
Megan have you done the ride yet?
Joe from Buffalo, NY on 04/18/2012 10:25 PM
Riding Cumberland to Gtown next week. My touring bike has 28 mm Vittoria Randonneur tires (road touring). Ok? Or would a 32 mm cyclocross tire (Maxxis Raze) with a file tread work better? I am an experienced cyclocrosser racer with strong legs.
speedster on 04/19/2012 03:44 PM
IMO, either will be fine.
I personally use road-oriented, tour tires, with basic treading on them, but nothing elaborate is required.
If its absolutely pouring rain and getting soppy and soft, the slightly wider, heavy-treaded cyclocross would make out better, but honestly, people waste too much energy on here worrying about tire choice, if I'm to speak frankly about this issue.
The C&O is a very run of the mill trail surface and not some trials/downhill mountain bike course. That said, I wouldn't necessarily advise doing it with a narrow, untreaded race slick either..so just use common sense and you'll be fine.
lenny on 04/19/2012 07:16 PM
Put the bigger tougher tire on. You will push the road tire to its limit. I have pushed better tires than your 28 andhad some failures. I dontg think I am as strong as you either. the C&o can get ugly tough, surface wise.
Gap to Cumberland 2012 -
Joni from Springfield, VA on 12/31/2011 03:39 PM
Planning to do first half of the GAP & C&O towpath. Plan is to ride from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD. Any recommendations on best time of year. Thought about late May 2012. Planning 3 days to ride and stay in hotels. Anyone interested in joining and helping plan are welcome to touch base.
lenny on 01/04/2012 09:11 PM
have done this ride many times. late may is good time . can be done in 2 days at about 70 mile/day
Anonymous on 01/20/2012 11:57 PM
Any recommendations on where to stay between Cumberland and Pittsburgh if you did it in two days as you suggest?
robkyle from rockville, md on 02/01/2012 10:42 PM
I going to be riding the GAP/C&O at the end of May as well. I'm going to be camping - never been on a self-supported bike tour, and I'm really looking forward to it.
Dan O from Jackson,Mi on 02/03/2012 04:58 PM
I did this ride from McKeesport to Cumberland in July 2010. First night in Connelsville (45 miles) stayed at Connelsville B&B Second night in Meyersdale at Gram Gram's place. (55 miles) that left 33 miles on day three, mostly down hill :) to Cumberland. Very happy with both B&B's
lenny on 02/19/2012 09:14 AM
Checkout lodging in Confluence and Ohiopyle on this site under towns and services
Anonymous on 02/22/2012 01:28 PM
So you would suggest early summer as opposed to late summer early fall?
lenny on 02/23/2012 05:48 AM
May through September ia all good, conditions are more predictable.
Mr Purpkle Paul from Allentown PA on 02/29/2012 04:04 PM
I'm planing at least a part of that trip in Early August (not sure I'll be ready for it in May) .. I'd be interested to hear how your tip turns out ... when are you going?..I'm doing lot's of "logistics thinking and figuring" right now . . .
lenny on 03/01/2012 07:10 PM
What are you riding? How old are you, what kind of shape are you in and how many miles per day do ou plan to ride. To start with.
Linda from Oakland on 04/08/2012 09:52 PM
We just got back frompittsburg to cumb. We loved connesville b &b and a must go to Levi deal mansion in meyersdale. It is worth every penny and both are a block from the trail.
Frogs and Flowers -
Sinclair Hamilton from Hancock on 04/04/2012 01:32 PM
This is a great time of year to be riding the towpath. There are many wonderful manifestations of spring everywhere you look. The wood frogs mating in vernal pools, Woodcocks making nuptial flights at dusk, Virginia Bluebells carpeting the forest's floor, otters cavorting along the banks of the river and lots more. Sinclair - riverrunbnb.com
Paul A on 04/07/2012 03:46 PM
Amen to that!
And as long as it doesn't rain too much and cause the river to flood out of it's banks.
Current C&O conditions for bicycling? -
John Zwinck from NYC on 04/02/2012 07:28 PM
We are considering starting from Pittsburgh on the GAP this Friday, April 6. If anyone has been on the C&O quite recently and would be so kind as to write what they found there, we'd much appreciate it.
We're two somewhat experienced light touring cyclists who have also ridden part of the D&R canal towpath before (25 miles from New Brunswick to Princeton). Back then we had 23mm tires; we now have 28mm. The biggest question mark is what conditions we might find on the C&O next week.
lenny on 04/03/2012 07:31 PM
28 tires are a little small for the C&O. It is a bit rough and may be muddy this time of year. also it is at least 25-30 miles between major trailheads.Tires will be ok on thr GAP
ams from Brooklyn on 04/04/2012 04:35 PM
Ha, I guess I'm not the only NYC person heading out there this month. I'll be a little over a week behind you, leaving the 17th.
I plan to run 32mm tires.
Paul A on 04/07/2012 03:39 PM
Another New Yorker here, sort of, from Long Island. I'll be starting my end to end hike of the GAP on April 10th.
This time of year I'd expect rain and a wet trail, with all that brings.
Parking in Whites Ferry -
DC Kristi from DC on 04/04/2012 07:48 PM
I see that parking is listed in Whites Ferry, but does anyone know how to figure out where to actually park? Thanks!
lenny on 04/05/2012 04:21 AM
I may be wrong but I believe parking is to the right just before the little store, as you approach the ramp
Paul A on 04/07/2012 03:29 PM
Yep, parking is right there by the store.
And there were potra-pottis there too when I went by last year.