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Cross Pennsylvania on Gravel!

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Cross Pennsylvania on Gravel!

Old 05-09-20, 08:33 PM
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dwmckee
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Cross Pennsylvania on Gravel!

Well, it took quite a while, but we have created an east-west cross-Pennsyjvania gravel route. And it is rather challenging with 386 miles of roads (621k) that are about 90% gravel and as you would expect when traveling east-west in PA it has about 38,000 feet of climbing. The route has been created in ridewithGPS.com and we have ridden parts of it but not all of it yet. We need some help in testing especially the eastern section before we put this into circulation. Is anyone interested in test-riding portions of the eastern part of our PA gravel route (roughly beween Scranton and Williamsport)? I can provide that section to riders if you will send me feedback on any problems with the route that should be updated. In it's entirety this is an incredibly difficult route but in 50 - 100 mile chunks it has some great day-riding segments for experienced riders. It starts a bit north of Scranton and ends in Meadville.




There are so few week-long gravel routes available in the east and our intent is to eventually create a route that is established and reliable for folks interested in a multi-day gravel ride but do not want to have to fly to Colorado or Utah to find an interesting route. I can tell you from planning this route out that in the east it is a huge effort to find and stitch together enough gravel to make a longer trip like this possible, and we are hoping that when completed this will help promote multi-day gravel riding in the northeeast.

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Old 05-09-20, 08:57 PM
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Can't ride it for you but would love to see the route, just the kind of ride I'd like to take 3 days from the family and attempt to ride with a CC for the hotels.
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Old 05-09-20, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Can't ride it for you but would love to see the route, just the kind of ride I'd like to take 3 days from the family and attempt to ride with a CC for the hotels.
Thanks Russ. That is just what I am putting it together for so folks can do an extended ride on portions or the whole thing and see what the core of PA is really like, but I want to get any bugs worked out before I can finalize it as a reliable route.

This part of PA is pretty rural BTW, not a lot of hotels so have to plan carefully.
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Old 05-09-20, 10:54 PM
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Look up the Katy trail as that sort of website is super helpful since it too is in a rural area where food and lodging are relatively sparse.
Showing campsites, hotels, b&b's as well as towns with restaurants, grocers, and gas stations is an easy way to gain traction and buy in.
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Old 05-10-20, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
Well, it took quite a while, but we have created an east-west cross-Pennsyjvania gravel route. And it is rather challenging with 386 miles of roads (621k) that are about 90% gravel and as you would expect when traveling east-west in PA it has about 38,000 feet of climbing.
Yeah I'd be looking at an 11-40 cassette for sure!! That's awesome you put that together. I wish I had time to come ride some of that, I know a guy that moved out to PA from here and he says it's quite a change from our flat lands. Very scenic.
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Old 05-10-20, 12:39 PM
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Heading north like that through the center of the state definitely got you into some inaccessible and hilly terrain. I started thinking about this kind of route because of the TransVirginia route. I wanted to ride TransVirginia this year, but obviously it's not a good idea.

Some locals designed a North-South Pennsylvania route a few years ago. That's slightly easier because of the penn creek rail trail

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Old 05-10-20, 09:36 PM
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this looks very interesting. i've rode through Pittsburgh, Brady and down and around Confluence (Mt. Davis) but never really ventured through the middle of Pa.
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Old 05-11-20, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Heading north like that through the center of the state definitely got you into some inaccessible and hilly terrain. I started thinking about this kind of route because of the TransVirginia route. I wanted to ride TransVirginia this year, but obviously it's not a good idea.

Some locals designed a North-South Pennsylvania route a few years ago. That's slightly easier because of the pine creek rail trail
FIFY.

I don't think that N-S route is as consistently non-paved as this E-W route is.
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Old 05-11-20, 06:17 AM
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Great project!
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Old 05-11-20, 06:21 AM
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Look forward to seeing it! If I can get a couple days off might be able to check out a couple sections.
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Old 05-12-20, 10:31 AM
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Looks like an interesting route.
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Old 05-12-20, 06:21 PM
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We are working on plans right now to try and cross it later this summer. I think I have my naive sons talked into it! Teenagers need something to do these days... I can already hear the complaining...
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Old 05-14-20, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Heading north like that through the center of the state definitely got you into some inaccessible and hilly terrain. I started thinking about this kind of route because of the TransVirginia route. I wanted to ride TransVirginia this year, but obviously it's not a good idea.

Some locals designed a North-South Pennsylvania route a few years ago. That's slightly easier because of the penn creek rail trail
Unterhausen - You are one of the ones I hoped to entice with this! Let me know if you get the itch for a section. My boys and I are planning to do it this summer, but not sure if we will do the whole thing at once or split it into 2 or 3 sections... The first time across there is a lot of learning to get the bugs worked out. I may post this in the MTB section or touring section as well to see if I get any adventurous sorts interested...
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Old 07-05-20, 08:36 PM
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Well, we rode it this past week and just got back home. Man are we whooped. I have never seen so much of central PA before and I have to tell you this state is beautiful!! We have dense hemlock groves, miles of deep forrest with fern-lined roads, ridges with 30-mile vistas and hundreds of tempting swimming holes. And not to mention the Grand Canyon of PA that has 1,500 foot deep narrow canyons. We will have to reroute some sections because of one road that was privatized and four bridges out, but will post an updated and tested route and some pictures soon. Counting detours we climbed over 40,000 feet. This is over 80% gravel to go from Scranton to Meadville. We need to get Ted King to try this once we have it complete.
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Old 07-06-20, 11:17 AM
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dwmckee Congratulations! Looks like an amazing route. Hope you put together a more thorough trip report with some pictures. You might also want submit the route over at bikepacking.com where they are trying to build out their library of routes.
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Old 07-06-20, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by blazin View Post
dwmckee Congratulations! Looks like an amazing route. Hope you put together a more thorough trip report with some pictures. You might also want submit the route over at bikepacking.com where they are trying to build out their library of routes.
I am planning to but still have some planning to do for this one. Also working on another route back to Scranton from Meadville for a giant loop. Will be 800 miles and 75,000 feet of climbing when we get the return completed too. It takes time to really develop a gravel route as the roads are not dependable at times.
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Old 07-07-20, 06:12 PM
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Old 07-07-20, 08:45 PM
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Beautiful. We have very few views in this area. Have to cut down too many trees
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Old 07-08-20, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
Well, we rode it this past week and just got back home. Man are we whooped. I have never seen so much of central PA before and I have to tell you this state is beautiful!! We have dense hemlock groves, miles of deep forrest with fern-lined roads, ridges with 30-mile vistas and hundreds of tempting swimming holes. And not to mention the Grand Canyon of PA that has 1,500 foot deep narrow canyons. We will have to reroute some sections because of one road that was privatized and four bridges out, but will post an updated and tested route and some pictures soon. Counting detours we climbed over 40,000 feet. This is over 80% gravel to go from Scranton to Meadville. We need to get Ted King to try this once we have it complete.
Wow, good for you. Did you bikepack the whole ride or use car sag to assist. That is a whole lot of climbing. Thanks for your efforts on this.
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Old 08-31-21, 06:34 PM
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Well the out and back route was completed and tested then tweaked for the final version last month. The final route is 836 miles and 78,000 feet of climbing. Jonn Vorberger and Will Loevner headed out today at 7:30 AM to be the first two riders to complete the entire gravel trek across PA and back! You can follow their progress here if you are interested: https://share.garmin.com/YTZB8?fbcli...SU7OxrifyAyDP8

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Old 09-01-21, 08:45 AM
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Wow, what bad timing. Hope they took a pfd.

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Old 09-01-21, 10:26 AM
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I was thinking they might need to take a day off. Next few days look like really nice weather. Although the rain isn't really that bad. It's a bit cold though. We did get a warning not to attempt to travel. Which I think is overblown.

I am unhappy I haven't been able to ride any of this yet this year for health reasons.
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Old 09-01-21, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tdilf View Post
Wow, what bad timing. Hope they took a pfd.
Did I miss something in this thread?
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Old 09-01-21, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Did I miss something in this thread?
Consider yourself lucky if you don’t know what i am talking about. There is a nasty hurricane sitting on top of PA right now.
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Old 09-01-21, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by tdilf View Post
Consider yourself luck if you donít know what i am talking about. There is a nasty hurricane sitting on top of PA right now.
Oh, I got a work update this morning that it would roll thru WVA and VA today, and then hit MD and DE tomorrow. Didnt even think about storms up in northern PA where the ride is.
Clearly that forecast missed the mark!
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