The guest speaker at the Oct. 16, 2018 member meeting of the Evanston Bicycle Club was Suzie LaBelle sharing details her trip bicycling from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC on the Great Allegany Passage (GAP) trail and through the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal National Historical Park.
The guest speaker at the Oct. 16, 2018 member meeting was Suzie LaBelle sharing details her trip bicycling from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC on the Great Allegany Passage (GAP) trail and through the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal National Historical Park. Suzie and 6 other cyclists made the trip in 10 days at the end of May, 2018.
The original objective was to ride from Evanston to Washington, DC but upon researching the trip, determined the logistics would be challenging so decided to start the trip in Pittsburgh and take a self-guided bike tour curated by Noble Invention Bike Touring. The outfitter provided luggage transport, Ride With GPS routes, Bed and Breakfast accommodations, side trips, and dining recommendations. Emergency assistance was available.
The first part of the trip was on the GAP, a former railway now a recreational trail with a crushed limestone surface. The trail passed through small towns with a rich railroad and steel industry history. They then hopped on the C&O Canal, a man-made canal and former tow path with a dirt surface. The path was rich with history and the tunnels and bridges which were engineering marvels. Side trips included tours of Fort Frederick, the battlefield of Antietam, and the monuments of Washington DC.
The trip was planned for 345 miles but due to challenging weather the group decided to take a detour on the Mt. Vernon trail and take a Metra train the last leg resulting in a shorten route of 304 miles. The canal is vulnerable to flooding and a historic level of rain caused the surface to be muddy, eroded, and was closed in sections so an alternative route sounded like a good idea. They ended their tour at the capital in Washington DC, richer from the experience.
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