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Ed from Stuarts Draft Va on 10/1/2023 6:19:16 PM:
This is my first time on the trail . I’ll be learning as I go.
I’m planning on driving to Cumberland then taking the train to DC on Thursday 10/5. Where I’ll begin the ride back at 11:30 am from Union Station I’m planning on camping on the trail .. if anyone is starting the ride around the same time that that knows the trail , it would be great to ride with others

Rivnuts from Homestead PA on 10/1/2023 9:25:23 PM:
Unfortunately you’ll be one day behind me. I’m arriving at Union Station on 10/4 to begin riding back to Pittsburgh on my ninth trip between the two.

Note, I’m surprised by your arrival time in DC. My train thru Cumberland doesn’t arrive in DC until 1:05PM.

Sprocket from Stuarts Draft Va on 10/2/2023 3:21:14 AM:
Thanks for catching that. I meant 1:30
From DC

Michael from Brick,N.J. on 10/2/2023 7:57:18 AM:
E ,
Read your comments about starting in Cumberland can you please tell me where there is long term parking that can be trusted?
Or for that fact anyone here this sounds interesting to me and the train is just right.

Ed, Everyone thanks for your time.

Rivnuts from Homestead PA on 10/2/2023 8:22:40 AM:
From the GAPTrail website:

Free overnight parking is allowed at the municipal parking lot in Cumberland at 16 Howard Street under I-68 which passes overhead. Other riders have indicated they have parked there in the past.

Sprocket from Stuarts Draft Va on 10/2/2023 9:45:00 AM:
I was thinking that the Amtrak station had a parking lot . But there are so many things that I don’t know like do I have to make pre-arrangements for my bicycle. I read on some post that it’s $20 to transport the bicycle and others there’s no charge ….

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 10/2/2023 10:12:29 AM:

Although I've been through the Amtrak station in Cumberland a number of times I can't recall if there is overnight parking there or not. Regardless, the municipal parking lot on Howard Street is just a few blocks from the Amtrak station albeit along city streets.

If you are planning on taking your bike on the train you need a rollon "bicycle" reservation costing $20 to go along with your "personal" reservation. You need to make that reservation before arriving at the station insofar as there is but a limited amount of those bicycle reservations available. Not to throw a wet blanket on your plans, but they are rarely available on short notice. You should contact Amtrak to see if bike rollon reservations are still available.

Alternatively, if you can box up your bike you can ship it as "baggage" for similar cost as the rollon reservation.

Headband from Washington PA on 10/2/2023 1:39:30 PM:
There is long term overnight parking along Howard St. right underneath I-68 in Cumberland and within walking distance to The Crabby Pig and all kinds of shops. Parked there 4 weeks ago.

Headband from Washington PA on 10/2/2023 1:41:30 PM:
Large Parking lot. Not on the street.

Sprocket from Stuarts Draft Va on 10/2/2023 7:33:10 PM:
I want to think you very much for your help with getting me started. After reading your last reply. I quickly made my train reservation and was able to get the last bike roll on spot available from Cumberland. I appreciate you …..
curious to know , do you set a mileage goal per day are do you just ride casually.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 10/2/2023 8:27:17 PM:

Although I am retired I can't afford to be as casual as I might like. (My marriage still matters :-) My daily mileage is determined by the planned duration of my trip which depends on a number of factors including places along the route I plan to explore, the amount of daylight at the time of year and the need to reach the end destination on a given day. That said, I typically take 6 to 7 days to make the trip from Pittsburgh to DC or vice versa. That results in riding between 45 and 65 miles per day. Many take fewer days by riding more miles each day.

The length of each day's ride depends on available or preferred overnight locations. When camping there is more flexibility in planning each day's ride, especially along the C&O Towpath with the frequent hiker/biker (H/B) campsites. When planning to spend overnights in hotels and/or BnB's your daily mileage options are less since you are generally limited to the larger cities and towns along the route.

FYI, keep your eye on the weather. The forecast cold front at the end of this week along the route may bring some softness or puddles especially between Cumberland and Little Orleans. Using the WMRT rail trail that parallels the C&O Towpath on either side of Hancock MD would avoid some of those potential wet conditions beyond Little Orleans.

Have a great trip. If you have more questions don't hesitate to ask.