I rode a good bit of this yesterday and wanted to let everyone know of the conditions. I had my commuter slicks (700c x 32) on, and wouldn’t consider it again without knobbies.
Going east from the junction with Montour is mostly fairly smooth crushed limestone, but there are a number of spots that get pretty rocky. I have a set of 37s that probably would be just fine for these spots.
Going west from the junction is very nice for first seven or eight miles, and then it becomes terrible. The trail is littered with rocks (I’m not sure that my knobby 37s would be appropriate) and gets progressively worse. There is also mud, ruts, and rednecks racing dirtbikes and ATVs despite the signs prohibiting it. I was doing my first century yesterday and needed two more miles, but I decided to turn around and do a few laps around my neighborhood at the end instead.
If anyone’s considering taking this trail into West Virginia, I’d be extremely hesitant to do it on anything but a MTB with wide knobby tires. If you attempt it with a ‘cross or touring bike, do it with the widest knobbies you can find and plan for slow going past mile marker 28 or so.
Did you do this as part of the Montour trail ride yesterday? I was completely booked up and couldn’t ride.
I’m not sure the Panhandle trail is even “officially” finished out in the area you’re talking about. That might explain the condition.
If someone is riding west to WV and Ohio on a road, cross, or touring bike, they should just bag the trail entirely and ride the roads that parallel the trail, the roads are fine. for instance, I love Noblestown road. There are roads that follow the same valleys the trail does and minimize the nastiest climbs.
Out of curiosity, what part of town do you live in?
The last few miles of the Panhandle Trail exist more in concept than in reality. ATV’s/motorized users are a problem in keeping the surface ridable, etc. But, the county and the trail group continue to seek funding/support to formally improve that section of trail.
I just did it on my own…didn’t even know about the Montour ride until I got there. It was sort of a last minute decision to head out to Montour (starting from Brighton Heights), and then the route evolved as I was riding.
I started as the groups were heading back towards the trailhead so I mostly saw people going the other way. I’m not sure that ride would have been much fun for someone like me, I mostly saw families and novice riders (it’s awesome that they’re using the trail…I just get frustrated when I have to pass a lot of weavers).
I guess I’m getting spoiled by all of these nice trails we have now. I know of the Panhandle Trail and it’s shown on Google Maps, so I just assumed it was finished