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Reply to GAP/G&O guidance
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Scott from Hurst, Texas on 7/24/2020 3:36:00 PM:
I'm am from Texas and planning a thru ride in late August and wanted to inquire if anyone has suggestions for the following: The best way to get from Pittsburgh international to the Trailhead in downtown Pittsburgh? I've read about the Montour trail being a possible option, but can't figure out if it would work. Similar question would be the best way to get from the trails (end in my case) in DC to Reagan National? I might be one of the only persons left who has never used Uber, but would they transport a person and bike? Thank you,

JM from Central Florida on 7/24/2020 6:59:38 PM:
Reagan National Airport is easily accessible by bike from the C&O Towpath (or from the parallel Capital Crescent Trail) if you cross the Key Bridge to Arlington, VA (the Key Br. will be the first bridge crossing the Potomac as you enter the DC area). Just across the Key Br., turn left on the Mount Vernon Trail and follow it to the airport. There is a well-marked paved connection from the Mount Vernon Trail directly into the airport. (I don't have experience with the Montour Trail, so can't help with that.)

Mile 0 from Pittsburgh on 7/24/2020 8:36:52 PM:
Consider the bus to downtown Pittsburgh from the airport.... https://www.portauthority.org/pdfs/28X.pdf

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 7/25/2020 9:06:58 AM:
As noted in the earlier response, there is a Port Authority bus that runs from the airport to downtown Pittsburgh. All Port Authority buses have two bicycle racks on the front of the bus. A face mask is required to ride the buses. If you are not committed to starting the GAP trail at its origin at Point State Park in Pittsburgh, you can ride from the airport to McKeesport via the Montour Trail and its extension to the airport and pick up the GAP trail there in McKeesport. That is about a 50 mile ride. Doing so bypasses the first 18 miles of the GAP from downtown to McKeesport. You can, and I've done it, ride from the airport to downtown via the Montour Trail and its extension and the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. While the latter is a "trail" it is not well marked or easily followed by those not from the area. Further, nearly all of it is on busy roads albeit you can ride on a sidewalk adjacent to portions of those roads. Frankly, I wouldn't recommend this to those not familiar with the region but, if you are adventurous and not grossly risk averse, you can do it. I can provide additional details if you are interested in this route.

Scott from Hurst, Texas on 7/27/2020 9:25:33 AM:
Thank you for the information. The McKeesport via the Montour Trail sounds an interesting opion to connect to the GAP trail. This will likely be my first and last ride on the GAP,C&O so would I miss a great deal by not starting at Point State Park?

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 7/27/2020 9:56:00 AM:
Obviously you would miss downtown Pittsburgh. The origin of the GAP at Point State Park ("The Point") where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers join the form the Ohio River and the fountain there is rather unique. From there you can look across the river and see Heinz Field and PNC Park the homes of the Pgh Steelers and Pirates as well as other downtown features. The skyline of downtown Pittsburgh is very visible from there. As you leave downtown Pgh, there is much history of the old steel industry along the Monongahela River most of which has been demolished with shopping centers and industrial/commercial arks built on those mill sites. The ride from Pittsburgh to McKeesport is all paved but free from car traffic. Aside from the Point and downtown and the history along the way, that distance is rather bland albeit an easy ride. On the other hand, once you reach the Montour Trail itself from the airport, the majority of the Montour Trail is more remote and less traveled by bikers with a crushed limestone surface and passes through woods and residential areas. The Montour Trail Extension from the airport to the Montour Trail itself and the Steel Valley Trail at the other end of the Montour that links you to the GAP Trail in McKeesport are on roads with a modicum of traffic. For your first and only ride of the GAP/C&O, you'd probably want to start at the Point to "experience" the entire formal trail. If you need/want additional local info or assistance in navigating these trails, feel free to contact me at: Rivnuts@yahoo.com