Bike GAPCO

The 2018 Bike GAPCO Tour is sold out

Occasionally a slot will open up if someone cancels.  To join the 2018 Bike GAPCO waitlist, fill out the form at the bottom of this page by clicking this link.

To view other rides offered by Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers, view the Schedule page.

GAPCO Riders: Access the GAPCO registration forms here

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Bike GAPCO
June 24–June 30, 2018
GREAT Allegheny Passage and the Chesapeake & Ohio Tow Path

The old world charm of a European-style inn, the fascination of Civil War battlefields and a month’s worth of spectacular scenery and delectable meals await riders on the week-long Bike GAPCO bTour.

Bike GAPCO is a 335-mile journey from Pittsburgh, Pa. to Washington, DC starting on the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage rails-to-trails and finishing with 185 miles along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal trail system. Besides the natural beauty of this tour, you will be riding through a history class. Early American History Class that is. Bike where our forefathers walked, played, fought and died.

Both trails are traffic-free, except for occasional sections when the paths cross the road. This leaves plenty of car-free isolation to enjoy the stunning beauty, historical sites and quaint towns.

You will find the historical sites along the way — the cemeteries and the national battleground — interesting.

Bike GAPCO – Here’s what to expect…

The mostly flat ride, offered by ride director, Bubba Barron of Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers begins at Pittsburgh’s Waterfront, a few miles east of the busy downtown area. This locale, once the site of the Homestead Steel Works, is along the Monongahela River. It includes the communities of Munhall, Homestead, and West Homestead, and features a variety of stores, restaurants and entertainment venues. Homestead’s downtown 8th Avenue is an example of the Victorian-era mill towns that flourished around Pittsburgh.

Bike GAPCO features six days of riding, with an extra layover day in Shepherdstown, in almost-heaven West Virginia. The first night out, Ohiopyle, the group stays in guest houses and a rustic motel. Ohiopyle is home to 20,500-acre Ohiopyle State Park, one of the most popular state parks in Pennsylvania. It has also been a destination for water enthusiasts and seekers of scenic beauty since the early railroad days. Ohiopyle, simply put, is paradise for people who love the outdoors.

The Falls at Ohiopyle State Park

The Falls at Ohiopyle State Park

After a day of riding filled with vast vistas and a great downhill, you will rest and relax in Cumberland, MD., a beautiful little city nestled among the Appalachian Mountains. It once had a thriving Native American population, then intrepid pioneers. Cumberland later became a transportation hub, home to numerous railroads and the western terminus of the C&O Canal. Visitors can still take a trip aboard antique rail cars pulled by a genuine steam engine as it chugs up the mountain to the nearby town of Frostburg. Just up the mountain from Cumberland is a must-see view as you exit the Big Savage Tunnel where the view goes on for miles and miles.

Bicycling Big Savage Tunnel

The view after exiting Big Savage Tunnel

The group will stay in a Marriott hotel located just feet from the trail which is also conveniently located near a variety of dining choices in the historic area. The Queen City Creamery, a must stop, is a great place to top off your afternoon while enjoying ice cream.

queen city creamery

Queen City Creamery

Cumberland features a statue of a mule driver and mule. It’s a tribute to the area’s working days, when mules walking the tow path pulled boats along the canal.

After Cumberland, the trip transitions to the C&O path, originally built to allow mules to tow barges up and down the canal.

Most of the traffic is either people on foot or riding bicycles past remnants of a time gone by. The stretch from Cumberland into Little Orleans, the next night’s stopping point, is remote. The rugged mountain terrain surrounding the trail provides stunning vistas and plenty of shade. The main hangout in the tiny town is Bill’s Place, a combination bar and general store.

Bill's Place, Little Orleans, Maryland

Bill’s Place, Little Orleans, Maryland

The group will enjoy the hospitality of the Town Hill B&B, originally built in 1916 as a fruit stand and converted to a hotel and restaurant in 1920. Its scenic overlook offers an astounding view of three states and seven counties and has long been known as the “Beauty Spot of Maryland.” The B&B has been extensively remodeled but still retains the look of its fledgling years with 10-foot ceilings and original woodwork and furnishings. Town Hill, where the chef takes real pride in his kitchen, will provide your home-cooked dinner and breakfast.  Most say the best breakfast they have ever had.

Town Hill Bed and Breakfast

Town Hill Bed and Breakfast

Next on the agenda is Shepherdstown, W. Va., site of the lay-over non-riding day and by all accounts one of the highlights of the trip. The town is quaint and a step-back-in-time.

The group stays at the Bavarian Inn, a classic hotel with European styling and an infinity pool overlooking the Potomac River.   Don’t worry — you will not float out of the pool.

The infinity pool with river view at the Bavarian Inn.

The infinity pool with river view at the Bavarian Inn.

Shepherdstown is only five miles by bicycle to the Antietam National Battlefield, site of the Civil War’s bloodiest battle.  Tours are available.

The 2018 Bike GAPCO Tour is sold out

Occasionally a slot will open up if someone cancels.  To join the 2018 Bike GAPCO waitlist, fill out the form at the bottom of this page by clicking this link.

To view other rides offered by Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers, view the Schedule page.

GAPCO Riders: Access the GAPCO registration forms here

Sorry-this-event-is-sold-out

The path beyond Shepherdstown enters the Appalachian Mountains, so wildlife sightings become more frequent and the forest adjacent to the trail is lush. It also passes the historic town of Harpers Ferry, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. It is the site of the John Brown abolitionist revolt credited as one of the major events that caused the Civil War. Harpers Ferry is now a National Historic Park, and is packed with fascinating exhibits and displays illustrating its rich past.

The scene as you enter Harpers Ferry National Park

Harpers Ferry Historic National Park

The final night of the ride will be spent in Leesburg, Va., after a day of biking through Revolutionary and Civil War history.

The last day of riding cruises past Great Falls near Washington, DC. It’s a popular spot known for its tremendous scenery where you could spend an entire day admiring nature.

Great Falls Washington DC

Great Falls near Washington, DC

You could lose track of time very easily there. The place is just that remarkably beautiful.

However please don’t lose too much track of time, as the ride ends that day in the nation’s capital and riders wouldn’t want to miss the bus back to Pittsburgh. People traveling by air also have the option of flying into Pittsburgh and flying home out of DC.

The trip is limited as to participants. There will be daily mileage options for those who don’t want to ride the entire daily mileage.

Bike GAPCO – Riding Conditions

While riding Bike GAPCO you will not be on paved trails.

Come prepared to getting some mud on both you and your bike if there has been recent rains.  Most find reverting to their childhood and getting muddy fun.  A rear fender will limit the mud spinning up your back.

The GAP part of Bike GAPCO (Sunday and Monday) you will be riding on a fairly smooth unpaved crushed limestone path.  The C&O part of Bike GAPCO (Tuesday, Wednesday. Friday and Saturday) the trail is hard packed  mostly single track ground which will not be a smooth of a ride as the first two days.

Bike GAPCO – Daily Mileage and Options

Day One:  Homestead to Ohiopyle

  • Total Mileage: 68
  • Mileage Options of: 18—43—68

Day Two: Ohiopyle to Cumberland

  • Total Mileage:72 (Last 20 is downhill)
  • Mileage Options of: 32—43—72

Day Three: Cumberland to Little Orleans

  • Total Mileage: 43
  • Mileage Options of: 20—43

Day Four (Day Five is a non-riding day):   Little Orleans to Shepherdstown

  • Total Mileage: 72
  • Mileage Options of: 40—72

Day Six: Shepherdstown to Leesburg

  • Total Mileage: 38
  • Mileage Options of: 20—38

Day Seven:  Leesburg to D.C.

  • Total Mileage: 35
  • Mileage Options of: 20-35

Note:  Daily Mileage and Mileage Options Subject To Change

The 2018 Bike GAPCO Tour is sold out

Occasionally a slot will open up if someone cancels.  To join the 2018 Bike GAPCO waitlist, fill out the form at the bottom of this page by clicking this link.

To view other rides offered by Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers, view the Schedule page.

GAPCO Riders: Access the GAPCO registration forms here

Sorry-this-event-is-sold-out

What’s included?

  • Lodging Sunday thru Friday
  • Dinners Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
  • Breakfasts Monday thru Saturday
  • SAG Support Daily
  • Daily Route Sheets
  • Baggage Transportation Daily
  • Transportation from the ending location to starting location

What’s not included?

  • Lodging the Saturday before Bike GAPCO starts
  • Lodging the Saturday Bike GAPCO ends
  • Breakfast Sunday
  • Dinner Monday and Thursday
  • Lunches
  • Tours or Excursions
  • Bicycle Repairs

Bike GAPCO – Frequently Asked Questions

Question: When will we actually start riding?

Answer:  Bike GAPCO starts Sunday June 24  8:30 AM

Question: Where does Bike GAPCO start?

Answer:  Bike GAPCO will start at the Pump House Trail Head.  880 E. Waterfront   Munhall, PA.

Question:  Can you suggest a lodging location close to the starting point?

Answer:  There are several lodging choices very close to the starting location.

  • Courtyard by Marriott      412.462.7301
  • Hampton Inn                     412.462.4226
  • Holiday Inn Express         412.205.3904

Question:  Where can I leave my vehicle for the week?

Answer:  You have two options.  Check with your lodging location to see if long-term parking is available.  The starting point is a very short bike ride from the mentioned hotels.  There is long-term parking available at the Pump House Trail Head.  Small fee associated at the Trail Head lot.  (Click here for a parking permit.)

Question:  Is there a possibility of leaving my vehicle in Washington DC before the ride starts and have it available when finishing?

Answer:  Amtrak offers carry-on bicycle service on several of their long-haul routes, including the Capitol Limited, which connects Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh. For GAPCO riders who might want to have their car available in Washington at the end of the ride, you will have the option of driving to Washington and then catching the Capitol Limited to Pittsburgh for the start of the ride. Bicycles do not have to be boxed or broken down and can be loaded directly onto the train. Space is limited (8 bicycles per train) and, according to Amtrak, must be reserved early.  What a fun way to start your vacation.

Question:  If I am flying, what airport do I use and how do I get to my lodging location?

Answer:  You will fly into the Pittsburgh International Airport.   Check with your lodging location choice for possible shuttle service.  For commercial shuttle service contact “The Super Shuttle” at  (412) 322-8507

Question: What if I am not up to riding the entire day?

Answer: No problem. There will be daily options available and the friendly SAG drivers will never ask you why.

Question: Will there be services along the way?

Answer: There will be SAG Stops or SAG Check-Ins at regular intervals along the route daily. There will also be places along the trail to find food and drink.

Question:  Will there be cell service on the trail?

Answer:  Part of what makes Bike GAPCO such a beautiful event is the fact it is remote.  For that same reason, cell phone coverage can be limited while riding.

Question: What happens when we get to DC? How do we get back to Pittsburgh?

Answer: You, your bike and your baggage will be transported from the ending location to the starting location via a deluxe motor coach. Your bikes will be wrapped in a moving blanket and transported from the ending location to the starting location.

Question: What if I want to fly into Pittsburgh but out of DC?

Answer: Not a problem.  The Washington Marriott of Georgetown, 202.872.1500 is a short bike ride from the ending location.  Bike GAPCO will transport your baggage from the ending location to the Marriott.

Question: What type of bike should I bring?

Answer:  Hybrid or Mountain bikes are strongly recommended for this tour.  32cc or wider tires are also recommended.   Is it possible to do Bike GAPCO on a road bike or trike?  Sure it is possible however it will not be as much fun.  The C&O section is hard packed dirt with single track making a road bike/trike a more difficult ride.

Optional BONUS DAY: Pittsburgh Riverfront Pedal
Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

Plan to arrive in Pittsburgh a day early  for a guided tour by Pittsburgh natives and veteran GAPCO riders Snowflake and Lillian.

Discover why Pittsburghers love their beautiful city and why Pittsburgh consistently lands on the top 10 lists of most livable cities.

Leaving mid-morning, Saturday June 23rd  from the Waterfront you pedal into the city of Pittsburgh for your first photo op at the terminus of the GAP located at Forks of the Ohio marker near the fountain in Point State Park.

After a short stop across the river you will go, to the North Shore on our way to the famous Bicycle Heaven bicycle museum, a must see. Bicycle Heaven, home to 3,500 bicycles, is not only a museum but the largest bicycle shop in the United States. The shop contains over 3,000 antique and collectible bikes including Pee-Wee Herman’s bike from the “Big Adventure”! Literally, the floor to the ceiling is covered with amazing machines that appeal to all ages. Whether you’re an avid biker, a collector or simply someone who enjoys a bike ride around your neighborhood; there’s something in the 5,000 square feet that will catch your eye and put a smile on your face. You will have plenty of time to explore this one-of- kind attraction.

Bicycle Heaven Museum

Bicycle Heaven bicycle museum, Pittsburgh, PA

Next stop, the Duquesne Incline. USA Today calls it one of the top 10 sites in the world for viewing a cityscape.   We are sure you will agree.  You will have plenty of time to enjoy the views while taking those memory pictures.

View of Pittsburgh from the Duquesne Incline

View of Pittsburgh from the Duquesne Incline

Leaving the incline, it will be a short ride to a fabulous lunch, provided by the tour,

Hope to see “Yinz” on the Pittsburgh Riverfront Pedal.  Make your plans now to join the others; it will be just too much fun to miss.

This 25 mile guided tour will be on paved trails and will offer a great opportunity to extend your cycling vacation while enjoying a great day of sight-seeing.

The 2018 Bike GAPCO Tour is sold out

Occasionally a slot will open up if someone cancels.  To join the 2018 Bike GAPCO waitlist, fill out the form at the bottom of this page by clicking this link.

To view other rides offered by Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers, view the Schedule page.

GAPCO Riders: Access the GAPCO registration forms here

Sorry-this-event-is-sold-out

What’s Included

  • Tour Guide
  • Entrance to Bicycle Heaven
  • Entrance to Duquesne Incline
  • Lunch including non-alcoholic beverage
  • Extra Memories
  • Laughs
  • Chance to get to know your fellow GAPCO riders sooner

Additional registration form must be completed and mailed, along with extra fee, with your GAPCO registration.  Advance registration is required.

Additional Information

  • Mountain bikes or hybrid bikes are strongly recommended for this tour.  32cc or wider tires are also recommended.   Is it possible to do Bike GAPCO on a road bike or trike?  Sure it is possible however it will not be as much fun.  The C&O section is hard packed dirt with single track making a road bike/trike more difficult of a ride.
  • Bike Rentals are available:   www.bikepittsburgh.com
  • Bike fenders will keep you and your bike cleaner.
  • A bike helmet must be worn at all times while riding your bike.
  • A working head light is a must for tunnel crossings.
  • Participants must have the knowledge, willingness and proper tools to change a flat bicycle tire.
  • At times there will be no cell service while on this tour.
  • Two water bottles or a Camel Back is strongly recommended
  • GAPCO will start at the Pump House Trail Head in the town of Homestead, PA; a suburb of Pittsburgh
  • Those registering as a double may have to share the same bed

Text by Doug Kaufman

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GAPCO Riders: Access the GAPCO registration forms here

2018 Bike GAPCO Waitlist Form

This event is sold out but occasionally a slot will open up. Fill out the form below to join the waitlist for the 2018 Bike GAPCO tour.

Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers is the proud recipient of Florida Bicycle Association Bicycle Business of the year for 2016 in recognition for efforts and achievements which shape the vision for Florida to be a state where bicycling is safe, respected and encouraged as a means of transportation and recreation.