Bicycles Travel

Mind the GAP

I’m so excited! I’m leaving in a few days to travel up to Cumberland Maryland to ride the GAP, the Great Allegheny Passage, with my sister and brother. Well, my brother isn’t riding the trail with us, but he’s driving the “support wagon” and will be meeting us every night at our next stop to set up camp.


So, what is the Great Allegheny Passage? It’s a 150-mile long trail that connects Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It also connects to the C&O Canal Towpath which goes from Cumberland, to Washington, DC. The path is a rails-to-trails conversion, meaning it was once an active train track. The rails and ties have been removed and the remaining rock path has been crushed, flattened, and compacted. It’s a beautiful traffic and vehicle-free route through some really scenic country side.  The trail is mostly flat, with only a slight 2% grade leading out of Cumberland up to the Eastern Continental Divide. From there, it’s a pretty smooth ride into Pittsubrgh.

There’s lots of great videos on YouTube about the GAP. Here’s one of my favorites:

We’ve allotted ourselves 5 days to complete the trip so we’ll be averaging about 30 miles a day. The most I’ve done this year is about 23 miles, but this isn’t  a race. We plan to stop a lot along the way for pictures and to have lunch. The towns will be small, usually less than 100 people per town, so this trip will be a great way to get away from the hustle busy of our regular routine.

My bike is about as ready as it’s going to be. I decided to remove the Cruzbike conversion and turn my bike back into a hybrid cruiser. I had to have the seat moved so far forward to accommodate the front derailleur setup that it was uncomfortable to ride and I had been having a bit of trouble starting and stopping with the awkward seating position.


I’ve added an extra water bottle cage, fenders, and a luggage rack with two panniers bags. Since my brother will be carrying the bulk of our camping supplies, I only have to carry the necessities, like tools, spare tubes, snacks, water, and maybe a change of clothes.

I doubt we’ll have very good cell phone coverage and that’s fine with me. I don’t plan on checking email or surfing Reddit on my trip. I’ll probably bring a paperback book and a small notebook to journal in. I’ll pack my new camera too and try to get some good photos and a little video when I can.

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