Remember back when you were 10 and life was simple. One of the most exciting Christmas gifts was a new bicycle. That was your first attempt at independence because you could ride all day long and go seemingly anywhere, depending on where you live and how much independence your parents gave you. Now fast forward a few years. You are an adult with no boundaries and a world of places to see and explore. What will you do? Where will you go?
I turned 50 this year and decided it was time to get a modern day bike and see where it would take me. Join me as I journey the trails of Pennsylvania and beyond. This new series of posts will follow my sore butt through the process of couch to cyclist in short order. My first adventure is to bike from Pittsburgh to DC in six days covering 335 miles of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) and C&O Canal while meeting great people and seeing amazing landscapes along the way.
This will be my first extended overnight trip on my bike and while I’ve been riding some over the last couple months no ride has been longer than 22 miles. I will have to cover about 60 miles a day to make this happen and just so I have a hard and fast deadline to meet, I already purchased my train ticket back to Pittsburgh so there is no turning back and no room for slacking along the way. Let’s start this adventure getting to know a little about the trail that I will be following.
About 30 years ago a group of various outdoor and railroad enthusiasts saw the decline of the railroad industry and saw an opening for something new and fresh in outdoor enjoyment. They came together to form what is known as RTC or Rails to Trails Conservancy. This group works nationwide putting together local support in small towns to purchase land, remove old abandoned train tracks and replace them with various paving materials to allow for the general public to enjoy walking, running or biking through areas of our landscape that have been lost to us until now. If you are interested in a more in depth look at RTC then visit their website at railstotrails.org. I will be following the RTC map and their trail that connects Pittsburgh to Washington DC.
I have my destination, my trail and my schedule all in place but let’s back up a bit and go over my equipment and training. With just 5 weeks until I ride, there are things I need to do in preparation for a successful journey. In all fairness I have to confess that I was not just laying on the couch eating potato chips and sipping Coca-Cola wondering what it would be like to ride a bike again and oh what if I tried riding over 3 states. I have been an active runner and mud obstacle course enthusiast for 7 years and have done a marathon and ultra marathon event so there is already a level of fitness in place from which I am building. If you decide to do something like this please consult your doctor for advice and then search like crazy for preparation guides to help you train up so that you are ready physically.
Now my fellow Travboters come back to my next post as I talk about the search for equipment.