DC to Pittsburgh questions

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WillB
Participant
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I’m going to be riding from DC to Pittsburgh starting this weekend, camping along the way. A couple main questions for the folks who’ve done this:

1) Fenders or no fenders? I currently have fenders on the bike, and it seems like a good idea to keep them, especially given the potential for mud on the C&O. Any reason to leave them at home?

2) We’re going to finish in Bloomfield. Any thoughts on the best route to get there, given that the Sandcastle portion still isn’t done (sigh)?

Any other tips or suggestions are welcome, or even if someone has the link to an old thread on the subject (I had trouble finding them all).


wsh6232
Participant
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FENDERS! Parts of the C&O are like riding through Dagobah to yoda’s house, so if its rained in the last week, you will get muddy. And if it rains on the PA portion of the trail, you’ll get that trail grit all over your legs and back, and you’ll have a crunchy drivetrain all the way home.


Nick D
Participant
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Definitely keep the fenders.

Have you camped on the C&O before? If you haven’t the campsites have wells, and the water out of most of them is actually pretty good (all of the ones with handles have past recent safety tests, but some taste better than others).


Mick
Participant
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I’m thinking that you would probably want to go over teh Mon on teh Rankin Bridge to get to bloomfield without going over Squirrel Hill.

The most efficient way to get up to the Rankin Bridge from the Trail might the Whitaker metal road – but I don’t know how to find that , or even if it is acessable, brom the steel valley trail.


salty
Participant
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I still have some hopes of doing this in the next month or so, but not this weekend unfortunately. So, the “any other tips” part is certainly welcome.

What all should I take? I’ve got a spare chain, a couple fiberfix’s, a tire boot, a couple tubes, and some tools – anything else essential?

I’m planning to camp but not take any food aside from some snacks, assuming it’s easy to find some kind of stores near the trail.


Steven
Participant
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I’m hoping to do this next year, Pittsburgh to DC (or maybe just Cumberland the first time), using B&Bs and hotels.

Here’s my list so far:

sunblock

bug spray

first aid kit

tylenol

emergency blanket

earplugs for sleeping near trains

hand sanitizer

maps of surrounding area, including road detours for C&O in case of mud

bike headlight and charger

cellphone and charger

cash and credit cards

rain gear including helmet cover

maybe jacket/long pants for cold

2 spare tubes, patch kit, tire levers, multitool

fiberfix replacement spoke and spoke key

emergency tire boot

chain repair: chain splitter and chain connector or spare?

clothing

I’m not sure yet how many sets of clothes to bring. Do laundry every other day? Then 2 bike shorts and shirts, plus a set of regular clothes should be enough.


Mick
Participant
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Keep all your food in one pack that you can hoist up into a tree.

True even if you plan on doing the B&B’s and you “only have snacks.”

Steven’s lsit seems pretty good. I cut of the relevant pages from the Delorme Gazetteer maps and they ahve come in handy.

Every time I’ve been on the C&O, I’ve gone off-trail at some point. Even in the best weather, I’d leave the trail at Williamsport and go through Sharpsburg to Antietam.


WillB
Participant
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Mick, can you clarify about the detour at Williamsport? Which travel direction does it pertain to? We’re probably going to take a detour over to Antietam anyway to see the battlefield, so this would be good to know. Also, is the food thing a bear precaution?


Mick
Participant
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Either direction.

If you are coming from DC, leave the trail at Antietam (not sure how to recognize the place) or a few miles earlier at Lock 37, where there is only one road out (more like a driveway), named “Mountain lock Road”.

Take Harper’s Ferry Rd to Sharpsburg, then Rt 65 through the battlefiled to Bakersvile Rd to Rt 63, to Williamsport.

In the other diredction, just reverse it.

The trail takes a detour that is unnecessarily hilly a few miles East of Williamsport, anyhow, might as well skip it.


WillB
Participant
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Cool, thanks for the tip.

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