I’m planning out a potential long route…part of the first segment will be Pittsburgh to Somerset, then Bike Route S to Bedford and north on Bike Route G.
I emphatically do not wish to route via the GAP for more than, at worst, 20-ish miles. Also, as this is intended to be a brevet, I need to try to avoid too many big curves or direction changes in the route.
My current thought is to hit McKeesport via the trail, then strike out overland via Lincoln Way/Clay Pike/etc to Herminie, then pick up 31 in Mt Pleasant and take that through Donegal all the way to Somerset.
I expect a bit (heh!) of climbing on 31; first, the long hill on the approach to Donegal, then when heading through the mountains near Seven Springs. Is this my best bet? I’ve ridden to Donegal a couple of times via this route, but have no experience with the stretch from there to Somerset. If 31 is reasonable to ride and vaguely interesting, I’m cool with that; if any of the side roads are really worthwhile (Camp Run? Aukerman?), I’d consider a bit of off-31 detour.
I’ve ridden from Pittsburgh to Bedford a few times via Route 31. From Donegal to Somerset is a pretty nice ride. There is a wide shoulder, not much traffic and decent scenery, all things considered. There is also a convenience store between the two towns. I don’t know any of the side roads, but my impression from plotting my trips on Mapquest is that you’d experience “too many big curves or direction changes” to make it worthwhile to get off of 31.