On May 7th, 718 Employees and some adventurous customer made their was from NYC to Pittsburgh to start our Spring Tour. It was an unsupported affair from Pittsburgh to Washington DC via the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) and Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath. This trip was "unsupported", meaning
everyone was responsible for carrying food, water and shelter on their bikes.
The trip was 354 miles, and the group did it in 6 days. There were some
on the trip, but also there were quite a few brave
first bike tour with us. To prepare, 718 hosted a series of 3 free classes in the months leading up to the trip.
Many thanks to
for providing panniers and bags for our tour leaders.
Loading bikes in Brooklyn
The following is a dispatch from Colin, a 718 employee on his 1st bike tour
You would think that because I've never done a multi-day bike tour, I would have over prepared, but that was not the case. On the bus just outside of Pittsburg I realized I forgot one of the most essential pieces of cycling equipment: my helmet. The rest of the tour from then out was a whirlwind of new experiences, mud, sightseeing, mud, camaraderie, tunnels, and mud.
The first leg of our journey was spent on the Great Allegheny Passage or the GAP. Filled with sprawling vistas and dotted with historical facts, the route from pittsburgh was a steady incline that was barely noticeable throughout the 60+ miles of daily riding. Worth noting was the excellent food we had while riding the GAP. Specifically, a curious "Amish Grocery Store" and knick knack shop in Connersville PA called Waivie and Janes is worth all your time, money, and more.
We reached the eastern continental divide and the highest point of the GAP, an elevation of 2,932 ft, and sped through a long and fantastic tunnel that spit us out into a much appreciated long and steady descent in the C&O canal.
We had been warned by a few cyclists and concerned instagrammers that the C&O was going to be a muddy mess, but we were prepared and unafraid of a little mud and trudged onwards. While the latter half of the trip was plagued by mud and rain, the C&O was so breathtakingly lush and full of wildlife it was easy to ignore our bikes and bodies slowly turning into mud golems.
If you find yourself on the C&O you need to stop at Harpers Ferry and make the journey beyond into Bolivar and visit the Country Cafe and General Store. Great staff, and phenomenal diner food. We would have stayed there all day trying everything if we didn't have to eventually come home.
Our final day on the trip the C&O gifted us with yet more rain, and a slow creep back into civilization. The cars, runners, and tourists became more frequent as we approached DC, making the end of the trip just a little less jarring.
I had an excellent time, and would highly recommend the route from Pittsburgh to DC to anyone with any level of touring experience. "Low risk, high reward," - The Greg.
P.S. I bought a new helmet at a bike shop on the first day of the trip. Safety first!
Cleaning bikes upon return to Brooklyn