A good friend and mentor, enjoying retirement, asked if I’d be interested in a summer adventure. We settled on biking the GAP trail from Pittsburg, PA to Cumberland, MD. Since my friend doesn’t cycle too much, we planned a four day credit card tour which would give us time to explore some of the towns we passed, while not overdoing things. I wanted my friend to enjoy the mini-tour in the hope he’d be interested in doing another in the future.
Day 1 dawned and found us in Cumberland awaiting our shuttle van to Pittsburgh. Arriving in Pittsburgh, we attached our bags and departed about 11am.
Within a few blocks we found the route closed which necessitated navigating a poorly labeled detour, but we were soon on our way. This first stretch of trail paralleled a busy highway before crossing the hot metal bridge which offered beautiful views of Pittsburgh!
Day 2 found us traveling 42 miles through beautiful scenery to Ohiopyle.
On Day 3 we rode 41 miles to Meyersdale. When I last rode the trail in 2014 the Pinkerton Tunnel had not been renovated, and we had to ride the bypass. I was thrilled to find the tunnel open.
An old family cemetary lies near the viaduct.
We began Day 4 with a final climb to the Eastern Continental Divide.
This was followed by an awesome 1800 foot descent over 22 miles into Cumberland. In this section the trail crosses the Mason-Dixon Line and runs for a while next to the Western Maryland Railroad line.
Overall, the trip was fabulous. The trees along much of the trail provided shade that sheltered us from the sun though not the humidity. We met and chatted with many friendly people on the trail and in the towns. The trail itself is a gem. While we experienced no rain, during the prior week several areas had been pummeled by heavy storms. We frequently encountered freshly cut-up trees removed from across the trail and freshly repaired trail sections where washouts had occurred. The care given to maintaining this trail is remarkable!
In conclusion my friend said it was a “wonderful experience,” and we discussed future bike tour ideas. Overall quite a success!!