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March 29, 2009

Excellent Pittsburgh to DC bike trip graphic

I took my first bicycle ride of the year Saturday on the Montour Trail, and although I suffered from being out of shape it was a real pleasure to be on the bike and on the trail again. The bike did real well after only a chain lube. I think I'll need a few more miles to get into a semblance of condition.

I met a rider named Mark who lives near Imperial, and while we were riding together he told me about his trip from Pittsburgh to DC, and it turns out he'd read the trip reports from our previous rides while planning his trip. It was a real boost to meet somebody that had read one of my posts and found it useful, and it was nice to have somebody to ride along with for a while.

Lawrence Walsh has an excellent article in the Sunday Post Gazette about
bicycle camping on the Great Allegheny Passage. What's great about Mr. Walsh is that he has lots of bike cred. I'd like to mention that the best thing about the single-wheeled BOB trailer shown in the photo is that when the trail degrades into double-track, the BOB trailer's single wheel follows the bicycle really nicely -- a double-wheeled trailer doesn't work.


On the GAP Yahoo Group I came across this excellent graphic of Sam & Jane's plan for a seven-day bike ride from Pittsburgh to DC. It's such an excellent chart I wanted to mention it. It combines distance, elevation, slope, towns, daily mileages, and their itinerary. When you look closely you'll see that they've (wisely) chosen to start on the trail at McKeesport, avoiding the on-road rides between SouthSide and McKeesport. I can't say enough about how well designed this is, my compliments to Mr. Menchyk.
This map poses an interesting challenge because the peak looks very steep, but when you consider the lateral scale (350 miles) and the vertical scale (less than 1/3 of a mile), it tends to give the wrong impression. For instance, from Pittsburgh to the continental divide, the elevation increases 1600 feet over 125 miles - that's mild and gentle, but it looks dramatic. I think Mr. Menchyk did a nice job of putting in lots of context and the explicit "max grade" value.

Ah, to have a bicycle in spring time.

1 comments:

Sam Menchyk said...

Thanks for the props!

If you notice, on that graphic, it says "Maximum grade is 1.5%" Its barely noticeable! Its nowhere near the grade of the hill at Mile 9.5 - 11.5 on the Montour! Don't worry too much about the incline.

This May will be our 2nd trip and we are regular riders of the Montour. If you have any questions at all about planning, please feel free to drop me a line anytime!

Thanks Again!
Sam

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