During the second week of October, three friends and myself took off on a bike tour from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. We rode just shy of 340 miles in five days on the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP trail) as well as the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath (C&O Towpath). I had never done a bike tour before, but I love riding my bike and camping. So, when they asked me to join the trip, I was all in.
Both of these trails are rooted in American history and transportation that helped to shape the region. The GAP trail runs on an old railroad path that helped to service the steel industry, and the C&O Canal running along the Potomac River was used for transporting coal and other products. While riding I got to see evidence of this via old infrastructure like great bridges, huge mountain tunnels, railroad stations, lock houses, and the towns that were built around these transportation systems. I think it’s so cool that these paths were repurposed, giving people the opportunity to travel and see the area in an alternate way. Going between two major cities without using roads, camping along the way, and being in the woods almost the whole time was such a fun experience.
Traveling by bike is the perfect way to take in your surroundings while also covering a good distance in a day’s work. We averaged around 6 hours of pedaling time per day. The main objective of every day was to get to the next campsite before dark, however, we had all day to do it. At 12 mph you can truly take in all the trees and scenic views and the time of year could not have been better. The foliage was turning from green to great fall colors everywhere along the trail and all over the mountains. It was an incredible trip and opportunity to set aside daily life, slow down, and just bike in a picture perfect landscape with my friends.