Riding the C & O Canal Towpath...

Discussion in 'Road Bikes' started by HandsomeRyan, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan ♥'s Bicycles

    So my wife and I are really digging riding our new-to-us tandem bike since we picked it up in mid-December. Since we have found it to be such a great activity I'd like to take it to the next level and do a mini-tour on it. Since the bike is heavy and rolls on 2"+ tires our advantage will be riding semi-flat and semi-paved trail vs. the more traditional road type touring. I've decided the C & O Canal Path would be fun to ride. and it isn't too far from our house.

    We still have quite a bit of training left to do before we'd be ready for something like this but I think we could be ready by later in the summer or fall. Right now the rough plan would be-

    ◘ Ride Columbia to DC since DC is closer to our house and should be easier to get a ride back to our house from. I have not really worked out exactly how we will get our bodies and bikes to the trail head yet. The big problem is that we plan to take the tandem and so it isn't as simple as taking a cab or having a friend in a car drop us off.

    ◘ We'll take 4 days. This seems like a good mix of putting in miles but also having time for possible side trips and general lallygagging.

    ◘ In all likelihood we'd be staying in hotels or B&B's since we don't already own much backpacking equipment and our 'car camping' stuff is too heavy.

    ◘ The bike is a Cignal Melbourne Express. It has 2"+ tires and 48 spoke wheels. We've upgraded the saddles, seatposts, added barends, and replaced the rear axle with a stronger one. Before a tour like this we'd likely add a rear rack and possibly some fenders.

    Has anyone ever done this or a similar "rail-trail" tour? Got any advice for me as far as training, planning, or riding?

  2. Burr

    Burr Cranking Old Guy

    You all wear a life jackets when you the tow path?

  3. wild

    wild Yesterday tired old man, Today retired old man

    By the photo it looks like a nice trip how long and how far do you plan to go each day
  4. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan ♥'s Bicycles

    Right now I'm thinking...

    Day 1- about 60 miles from Columbia to Hancock

    Day 2- about 40 miles from Hancock to Shepherstown

    Day 3- about 40 miles from Shepherstown to Leesburg

    Day 4- about 40 miles from Leesburg to D.C.

    The reason for the initial 60 mile day is because the trail is quite rural at the 'start' and gets more civilization the closer you get to DC.

    I'm think credit-card camping would be easier but if we decide to camp at least a night or two we would be a little more flexible on daily mileage as there are plenty of campsites all along the trail.

    I spent most of yesterday [snowed in here] reading trail journals of others who've done the ride @ crazyguyonabike. I'm so excited about it and wish I could go start training for it right now!
  5. Xela

    Xela New Member Tavern Member

    Just looked that trail up online. Says you have 300 plus miles one-way if you connect with the Great Allegheny Passage Trail. Impressive. I'm jealous. Sounds like a blast.
  6. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan ♥'s Bicycles

    I've been reading some of the trail journals from crazyguyonabike and it has only made me want to do this even more. If you get bored, I highly recommend reading a few of the logs from people who've ridden it. You can search for them or go to "locations" and "Maryland" and just browse the list.