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Monday, December 28, 2015

Planning a Pittsburgh to DC bike trip on the GAP and C&O Trail

As in many things, a good framework of Questions leads to understanding and a satisfying outcome, so I thought I'd set down a 2016 update of Questions to Consider when planning a bike ride on the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Trail.
self contained and traveling light: 1 Aussie, 1 Kiwi, 1 Canadian, 1 from New Jersey

In their book Linking Up, Mary Shaw and Roy Weil identify four big initial decisions:
  • Daily Distance: How far should we ride each day?
  • Luxury: What kind of overnight accommodations do we want? Camping, hostels, B&Bs, hotels?
  • Support: Self-contained with panniers, lightly supported with a van, fully supported with an outfitter providing a guide?
  • Direction: Should we ride eastbound or westbound?
I'd like to expand on their framework a bit. Here's the initial questions I'd pose, and some sample responses to each.

  • Who's going, and what's the nature of the relationships and the group dynamic?

    GAP and C&O group ride: group dynamics

  • Why? What's the reason for the trip?

  • What degree of involvement do you want in your trip planning and trip leadership?

Time and distance (335 miles)
  • What's the enjoyable daily mileage for the least proficient rider?

  • What's the enjoyable daily mileage for most of the riders?

    Pittsburgh - DC group bike trip

  • Flexibility Will every rider ride every mile every day, or will one/some want the capability of opting out?

    DC to Pittsburgh bicycle trip; group factors

  • Duration How many days do you plan to spend riding the trails?

DC to Pittsburgh, PA bicycle trip planning - lodging, hotels, B&Bs
  • Where do you prefer to spend the evenings?

    DC to Pittsburgh PA bike camping or Glamping trip

  • My problem-solving approach to the unexpected (weather, mechanicals, surprises) is:
  • problem solving, riding D.C. to Pittsburgh on a bike tour

  • How will you carry/move clothing and luggage?

    Pittsburgh to DC, GAP and C&O, support van

  • Are you going to use your own bikes, or rent bikes?

    bike tour: do you use rental or personal bicycles?

  • What are your travel logistics? (new in 2015: you can roll your bike onto the Pgh-DC train!)
  • Do your particular logistics benefit from starting in either Pittsburgh or DC?

If you can answer those questions, you'll be well on your way to planning your DC to Pittsburgh bike tour. Tomorrow's post suggests ways to process the questions-and-answers presented here. Pittsburgh to DC bike trip, scenery: Salisbury Viaduct

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