My touring style for these trails - My C&O and GAP Pandemic Tour - CycleBlaze

September 30, 2020

My touring style for these trails

A bike tour is different than a bike ride

Chuck and I on a break at a C&O lockhouse
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We were ripe, very ripe. My pal Chuck and I had primitive camped on our 2011 tour. Our last shower was in Cumberland, 3 days before pedaling into the Georgetown waterfront. We were oblivious to our odor de tour. My husband greeted me with, “You smell bad.” Why had we not noticed? Why didn't anyone say anything about it?

Beyond the odor de tour and lack of showers, I have been less willing to primitive camp as I get older. That comfy warm bed entices me to nights in hotels and B&Bs. Both trails provide ample opportunities to man-up and camp. That is just not an option for me for this tour.

My rig in D.C. at the start of my 2018 tour
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I toured these trails solo, self-supported two years ago. I opted for a credit card overnights in hotels and B&Bs. I carried my gear in panniers. That style fits me well. Setting out on my bike with what I need for seven days challenges me and gives me a feeling of independence. My credit card assures me that a comfy warm bed awaits at the end of the day. Notice a recurring theme here?

My 2020 tour was to be an extension of my 3-2-1 Ride, a Pittsburgh charity ride benefiting pancreatic and melanoma cancer. I had floated that idea to the team I cycle with, Sue’s Crew. It was to be an extended team ride to raise awareness and support for the charity. Uncertainty and ultimately cancellation of the 3-2-1 Ride during the pandemic made this not a viable option.

The 2018 Sue's Crew 3-2-1 Ride team
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Some cycling friends expressed an interest in joining me on the tour. I was OK with having touring companions. I was adamant about touring self-supported. None had any touring gear. None had toured self-supported and independently of a tour organized by others. Five friends opted to join me.

Six of us will set out this coming Monday morning from D.C. All will carry their gear in panniers. Overnights will be in hotels and B&Bs. It will take us a week to reach Pittsburgh, an ideal schedule allowing time to take in the sights and experiences along the trail. It's a bike tour and not a bike ride. I look forward to seeing how my cycling friends do on tour. All can cycle the miles. All are better cyclists than I.

Harper's Ferry at sunrise
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Today’s GAP and  C&O Trivia

The Great Allegheny Passage, commonly known as the GAP, is a 150-mile rail trail. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail, commonly known as the C&O, is a 185-mile canal towpath. The trails connect in Cumberland Maryland for a 335-mile trail from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.

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