Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Gap c & o

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Gap c & o

Old 07-07-23, 11:24 AM
  #51  
StarBiker
Senior Member
 
StarBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 2,043

Bikes: Bianchi Grizzly, Cannondale F700,

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 806 Post(s)
Liked 153 Times in 122 Posts
That link provides daily rainfall. Not just totals. If it hasn't rained in ten days in a particular area I am willing to bet it's dry.

I can check every day of the year in a specific area for rainfall. Very specific as the link shows.

Even before todays rainfall that drought monitor would not have showed how much it rained this week in this area, city, town, county. And it would not show that the local trail would be muddy from this weeks heavy rains, and storms. It would show that it's been quite dry for the last three days.

The drought monitor may be handy for a region, but it's accuracy is lacking.

We are five inches below average for rainfall this year. That's what that will show you.

Last edited by StarBiker; 07-07-23 at 11:33 AM.
StarBiker is offline  
Old 07-07-23, 02:52 PM
  #52  
Pratt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 1,011
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 386 Post(s)
Liked 426 Times in 253 Posts
Some of the pictures I have seen of bikes after a ride on the C&O in the rain look like something from WWI trenches.
I found talking to riders coming the other way was a good, real time reality check.
Pratt is offline  
Likes For Pratt:
Old 07-08-23, 06:20 AM
  #53  
nlerner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 16,931
Mentioned: 469 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3689 Post(s)
Liked 6,112 Times in 2,442 Posts
I finished the complete DC to Pittsburgh/C&O-GAP experience yesterday. A few observations:
—Overall it was hot and humid everyday, but only had one bout of showers/thunderstorm on Wed while I was in MD.
—I brought bug spray but never needed it. I was not camping out, however, but instead staying in motels.
—The Paw Paw Tunnel closure/re-route was kind of a disaster. Lots of difficult/steep hike-a-bike and a lack of signage to indicate which trail to take to bypass the tunnel. I ended up doubling back three times until I just took a road at the summit that led me to a tow-path entrance a couple of miles west of the tunnel. That was an exhausting day.
—While it didn’t rain much, the tow path portion was very muddy throughout. I was sporting fenders, which was good, but twice had to stop, remove a wheel and scrape the mud off of the inside of my fenders. My feet and legs were covered in mud.
—All of the water pumps at campsites along the C&O were marked “not potable”; I should have brought my Sawyer filter as finding water sources was a challenge until I hit the GAP. I did have three bottle mounts, however, which got me by.
—Yesterday was a 90-mile day, which was quite do-able given that the GAP is all slightly downhill after the Continental Divide. All other days were about 62 or so.
nlerner is offline  
Likes For nlerner:
Old 07-08-23, 08:20 AM
  #54  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 10,781

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3266 Post(s)
Liked 1,333 Times in 1,048 Posts
Originally Posted by nlerner
...
óAll of the water pumps at campsites along the C&O were marked ďnot potableĒ; I should have brought my Sawyer filter as finding water sources was a challenge until I hit the GAP. I did have three bottle mounts, however, which got me by.
....
Several years ago I learned from someone on this forum that the one liter size Smart Water brand bottles fit in standard water bottle cages. Same with Life WTR bottles. Smaller sizes are the wrong bottle diameter, only the one liter size fit right. But often the cage under the downtube will not take a bottle that long. If your under downtube cage can take a one liter bottle, I suggest velcro to make sure it stays in the cage and does not interfere with the front tire or fender.

Even though those brands of water are sold as disposable bottles, I refill those bottles on tours and use then for their greater capacity.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 07-17-23, 06:56 PM
  #55  
charlesNC
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2023
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Planning my first bicycle tour on the GAP for late summer/ early fall. Been happy running 30mm Schwalbe G-ones on rail trails. Worried that I might need a slightly larger and more aggressive tire for hauling bags and possible rain. Can probably fit 35mm on the bike Iím using.

Iím 160# and will be packing pretty light (motorcycle camped 49 states and all of Canada)

Will an extra 5mm make a difference or am I overthinking this?
charlesNC is offline  
Old 07-18-23, 01:43 PM
  #56  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 8,632

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2446 Post(s)
Liked 1,764 Times in 1,105 Posts
Originally Posted by charlesNC
Planning my first bicycle tour on the GAP for late summer/ early fall. Been happy running 30mm Schwalbe G-ones on rail trails. Worried that I might need a slightly larger and more aggressive tire for hauling bags and possible rain. Can probably fit 35mm on the bike Iím using.

Iím 160# and will be packing pretty light (motorcycle camped 49 states and all of Canada)

Will an extra 5mm make a difference or am I overthinking this?
TBH, nobody knows. I think you've got a good chance of doing fine in late August or early September, especially since you're riding the GAP instead of the C&O. But there's always a chance of a deluge (and landslides, etc.), so you make your choice and take your time off to find out!
pdlamb is offline  
Old 07-19-23, 04:39 AM
  #57  
Pratt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 1,011
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 386 Post(s)
Liked 426 Times in 253 Posts
It seemed to me that the GAP was surfaced mainly in crushed limestone. It is soft, relatively, and makes a lot of dust when dry, but drains quickly and hoses off the bike easily. The bike shop in Cumberland has an outside hose for just that purpose. The C&O seems to have a lot of clay in its surface. The roadbed drained slowly and puddles remain after a rain. It is also viscous and sticks tenaciously to. bike, pannier, and rider.
Pratt is offline  
Old 07-19-23, 04:44 AM
  #58  
KC8QVO
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,173

Bikes: Surly Disk Trucker, 2014 w/Brooks Flyer Special saddle, Tubus racks - Duo front/Logo Evo rear, 2019 Dahon Mariner D8, Both bikes share Ortlieb Packer Plus series panniers, Garmin Edge 1000

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 405 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 99 Posts
A couple things -

1. Tires - I rode a lot on the Illinois & Michigan Canal Trail across IL for a couple years. The trail there consists of crushed gravel for the most part. In the in between seasons (spring/fall) where it was relatively warm during the day and below freezing at night the trail would be hard as a rock in the morning and I could make really good time. After the temps warmed up and the sun beat on the trail it would turn the top surface to mush and my pace was easily cut in half or more because my tires were sinking in the muck. I had to get off the trail and on to the roads because of it at times. Sometimes I would do 60-80 mile round trip day trips and going out like that loosing 1/2 my pace would really screw my timing especially on a sunday when I had to work on monday.

That said, with there being any potential for soft trail conditions - I would recommend as wide of a tire as you can get. My main bike is a Surly Disk Trucker. It has usually had about 38mm tires on it. At one point I got 42's just for the soft trail reason and they made a bit of a difference, but honestly I would have preferred something bigger in the mid 50's or bigger at times. For an all-around touring set up for mostly pavement, though - the low 40's would be OK in my book.

2. For riding in the cold and wet there are gloves I have that are insulated and rubber coated.
https://www.fullsource.com/mcr-safety-n9690fc/
I have several pairs of them and my best advice is order a size bigger than you think you need. I normally would wear the mediums, but when riding having my hands and fingers wrapped around the handlebars restricts circulation too much for me.

I actually don't like wearing finger gloves for long periods, though. I much prefer mitts. My favorites are Hestra C Zone's - more of a skiing type mitt. When it is real cold (for me - 30's, 20's when riding, I try not to ride any colder than that) I will add hand warmer packets in the main part of the mitt by my fingers. Though, even when it is cold I have to cycle through having the hand warmers in there as they will get too hot. Then I get sweaty hands and wrists. That is better than cold, numb hands that don't work.

Both the mitts and the ninja ice gloves mentioned above I will wear when its raining. When I did my Ohio to Erie rides a few years ago (late October to early November in Ohio) it was wet a significant portion of the time. With my layers and foul weather suit I was fine, even with cold temps not much above freezing.

3. On the Illinois and Michigan Canal Trail I dealt with a lot of bugs. I tried safety glasses. That didn't work well. So I switched to a bug net over my head. That did OK for the bugs but kept a lot of the heat in. So when it was hot, muggy, and buggy that was not real fun. But it kept the bugs out of my eyes, teeth, and nose.
KC8QVO is offline  
Old 07-19-23, 06:56 AM
  #59  
ericoseveins
I like cats.
 
ericoseveins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Washington, D.C.
Posts: 120
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 25 Posts
Originally Posted by charlesNC
Worried that I might need a slightly larger and more aggressive tire for hauling bags and possible rain. Can probably fit 35mm on the bike Iím using.
I personally think 30mm versus 35mm of tire won't make much of a difference for the most part. If it rains heavily you'll have to be vigilant in the slop and tire ruts with either size, but with vigilance I think you would have low risk of a wipe-out either way. I rode the GAP once with 28mm tires and it rained heavily. It was disgusting and not at all fun but traction was the issue, not stability or vibration.

I also went east-west on the GAP in May and took my fat bike with 3.8" tires. (I took the bike mainly to try out gear - I had built a front rack that I wanted to test and I had a few other doodads that needed a trial run.) For the most part I would say I regretted that choice, but there are stretches (e.g., around Ohiopyle) where the edges of the trail get a little rough and you might have an uncomfortable jolt with smaller tires, if you're listening to podcasts and spacing out as I do. I also had one very rainy day and appreciated having fatter tires to just run over the tire ruts rather than needing to pay attention.
ericoseveins is offline  
Old 07-19-23, 08:11 PM
  #60  
charlesNC
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2023
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Thank you to everyone for the advice. I may go ahead and mount some new tires just for peace of mind. Maybe try a rainy day ride on New River Trail which looks like it may have a similar surface.

Planning to take the train to Cumberland and ride east to Pittsburgh.
charlesNC is offline  
Old 07-20-23, 05:41 PM
  #61  
Pratt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 1,011
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 386 Post(s)
Liked 426 Times in 253 Posts
New tires sounds like a good idea. My first two flats in years were on the C&O, actually one was on the parallel rail trail just east of the Paw Paw tunnel. I think they were thorny sticks that I ran over. I did meet a couple who were strong riders, but they got so many holes in their tubes they ended up taking an Uber to a town that had a bike store and buying some new tires and tubes. They were installing them at night with a flashlight. New tires, a chain well within spec, cables you have confidence in, etc. can go a long way towards leaving room in your thoughts for the wonders of the trail, as opposed to wondering if you will survive the trail.
Pratt is offline  
Old 07-21-23, 04:58 AM
  #62  
jpescatore
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashton, MD USA
Posts: 1,295

Bikes: Trek Domane SL6 Disc, Jamis Renegade

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 362 Post(s)
Liked 302 Times in 216 Posts
For the GAP, especially E-W where you are climbing up from Cumberland to Deal vs. bombing down, I've found 32MM to be fine but bigger (35) was more comfortable and not much slower. I did a W-E through ride a few years ago on the 40MM tires that came on my Jamis bike I now use for touring and that was kinda overkill for the first 125 miles from Pittsburgh to Deal, but kinda nice on that 25 mile downhill. But the Maryland section had been so improved since my ride before this most recent one, it would have been fine on 32MM.
jpescatore is offline  
Old 07-23-23, 04:32 PM
  #63  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 38,141
Mentioned: 209 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17766 Post(s)
Liked 14,128 Times in 6,706 Posts
Originally Posted by charlesNC
Planning to take the train to Cumberland and ride east to Pittsburgh.
If you havenít done so already, I would make a reservation now. The bike service is very popular.
indyfabz is online now  
Old 08-10-23, 03:23 PM
  #64  
ezdoesit
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
ezdoesit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 313

Bikes: Fuji Touring 2008

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz
If you haven’t done so already, I would make a reservation now. The bike service is very popular.
Hi just an update and took your advice and made all my reservations for my tour starting on September 11 got a room at the Fairfield Inn in Pittsburg and park my car at the grant street station then Amtrak on the 12th to D.C. and start of my trip and thanks everyone who responded it's very well appreciated .
Did make sure to get my ticket for my bike on the train
ezdoesit is offline  
Likes For ezdoesit:
Old 08-10-23, 04:34 PM
  #65  
rm -rf
don't try this at home.
 
rm -rf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: N. KY
Posts: 5,782
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 911 Post(s)
Liked 376 Times in 273 Posts
This thread inspired me to look at my July 2018 GAP day rides. I did long out-and-back rides on some very nice days.
I had smooth tread 38mm tires, with a slight file tread. These lightweight, flexible tires were perfect for the GAP surfaces, floating on the thin gravel dust that overiaid the very hard packed trail surface.

From a Connellsville to Confluence ride:




rm -rf is offline  
Old 08-11-23, 07:53 AM
  #66  
jpescatore
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashton, MD USA
Posts: 1,295

Bikes: Trek Domane SL6 Disc, Jamis Renegade

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 362 Post(s)
Liked 302 Times in 216 Posts
I've done the GAP on 28, 32 and 40 mm tires. I'd err on the sides of 35mm. I'd definitely do that for any Towpath ride.

A few weeks ago, when things had been very dry, my wife dropped me off at Confluence and I biked east to Cumberland. I just left the 40MM semi-knobbies on my Jamis Renegade because I was lazy and 23 miles of the 62 would be downhill anyway.

The GAP was mostly dry and mostly in great shape - 32 would have been fine. But when I reached Sand Patch (aptly named) , the trail there was so dry that there were potholes full of fine gravel/sand and I was glad for the big tires. Similarly, while the MD section of the GAP is vastly improved, some very sandy spots below Frostburg.

Also, on both the GAP and the Towpath, after resurfacing, it is kinda like oatmeal - much easier on the larger tires. Bigger (within reason) isn't really much slower and way more comfortable, in any case.

Writeup and some photos of recent GAP ride here.



Originally Posted by charlesNC
Thank you to everyone for the advice. I may go ahead and mount some new tires just for peace of mind. Maybe try a rainy day ride on New River Trail which looks like it may have a similar surface.

Planning to take the train to Cumberland and ride east to Pittsburgh.
jpescatore is offline  
Old 08-11-23, 07:12 PM
  #67  
charlesNC
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2023
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Got some 35 Gravelking SS (reviews indicate that they measure 38) which should be a little better. Too bad I crashed on a wet wooden bridge last week. X-Rays showed nothing broken and all the titanium in my ankle is still in place. Hopefully the swelling goes down soon and I can get everything scheduled. Still got in a short 18 mile ride on the mountain bike this week.
charlesNC is offline  
Old 08-14-23, 04:35 AM
  #68  
jpescatore
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashton, MD USA
Posts: 1,295

Bikes: Trek Domane SL6 Disc, Jamis Renegade

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 362 Post(s)
Liked 302 Times in 216 Posts
Here in Maryland, years ago they built the Matthew Henson trail as a walker-centric stream valley trail that is a very useful connector for me to get on other trails that allow me to be on trails for 33 miles when I do a 40 mile ride to my daughter's house. But, because of wetlands designation there are long stretches of boardwalk (some inclined) that become like an ice skating rink when either wet or covered with leaves - I've had some close calls, always unclip and inch along there now. In recent years they resurfaced them, much better when not covered with leaves.
jpescatore is offline  
Old 09-17-23, 06:31 AM
  #69  
Mr.C
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2023
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
C&O GAP Trails

Originally Posted by ezdoesit
Hi,
Anyone here done these trails?
Was thinking of these trails and to driving down to Pittsburg and train back to D.C. than ride back to my car so any safe and recommend places to park your car?

Also what months would you recommend riding?
End of July, August or September open to any oil these months.

Thank you so much for your time and help
Just an update to my original post I will be riding down to Pittsburg tomorrow 9/18/23 hotel room then train to D.C. starting on the 9/19 .
I want to thank all of you that posted with any and all help.
Thank you
Mr.C is offline  
Likes For Mr.C:
Old 09-17-23, 12:42 PM
  #70  
ignant666
ret'd msgr
 
ignant666's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: upstate
Posts: 107
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by jpescatore
But the Maryland section had been so improved since my ride before this most recent one, it would have been fine on 32MM.
Whatever they do to improve surface conditions on the C& O, it doesn't necessarily last all that long, especially west of Hancock, where things are pretty gnarly, and maintenance minimal.

I can't imagine thinking any tire much under 3" wide was "too wide" for that section, or for the C& O in general.

Last edited by ignant666; 09-17-23 at 04:23 PM.
ignant666 is offline  
Old 09-17-23, 04:16 PM
  #71  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 8,365

Bikes: Mike Melton custom, 1982 Stumpjumper, Alex Moulton AM, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i8, 2021 Motobecane Turino 1x12

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1534 Post(s)
Liked 1,612 Times in 946 Posts
I read on the internet (and if you see it on the internet, it must be true) a couple of years back that they couldn't resurface the C&O because of its historical designation. Now I read a resurfacing effort is in fact underway:

https://www.canaltrust.org/support/o...h-resurfacing/
tcs is offline  
Old 11-26-23, 09:00 PM
  #72  
Small cog
Newbie
 
Small cog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Wessex UK
Posts: 39

Bikes: Vintage Raleigh and more modern Roberts

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Liked 49 Times in 20 Posts
I rode the C&O last May which was a very good time as far as the weather goes, a nice temperature and it only rained one evening, I had just finished putting my tent up as it started to pour at about 4.30 pm and I got in without getting too wet. I drank the water straight from the pumps without a problem but then I normally travel in India so have a fairly strong stomach and my only problem was a head on collision with another cyclist who had pulled out to overtake without looking, I landed in some soft bushes with no harm done but they went down on the gravel and looked a little cut up.
Small cog is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.