Biking from Pittsburgh to Leesburg | The last days
August 17, 2009
So close to the end. We woke up on Day 6, knowing that the rain had been pounding all night and would barely stop during the day. Packed up our wet gear and soggy selves, and continued onwards.
Even though the rain was steady all day, it still was nice to ride in the morning. We passed some great sites, had pizza for lunch in a little town, and enjoyed the wet ride.
(Since it was raining, we didn’t stop much nor did I take many pictures.)
McCoy’s Ferry to Antietam Creek Campground = 40.6 mi
We spent the night at Antietam Campground, which is near the historic battlefield. I spent the last 10 or so miles singing songs, since it was the best way to make the day less miserable since we were damp, cold, and hungry. Getting to camp was great since we knew that there would be hot food and the false belief that we could dry off. The C&O trail gets particularly muddy so we were dirty and our bikes and panniers were covered in mud in every place possible. We lost one of our riders on this stretch of riding, since his derailleur hanger broke off his bike and his rack started to break. Instead of trying to convert to a single speed (we tried. unsuccessfully. the chain was too long but taking out one link made it too short. it was tough) he had family come and pick him up from a house along the way (kind people who let us use their garden hose to hose off the mud from our bikes).
Day 7 (the final cycling day)
Woke up the next day, without much reprieve from the rain.
We were trail weary at this point and nobody had any dry clothing. Thankfully it wasn’t too cold, so once we started moving our bodies warmed right up. The rain wasn’t as constant as the day before, but there was a constant drizzle. Stopping for a hot meal in Brunswick was a great way to spend a few hours midday, drying off and eating food we didn’t make ourselves.
After a few hours of rest, we knew we had to push on. Only a few hours until the ferry ride and the trip is over. Hot showers, washer/dryer, beers, and our friends awaited us in Leesburg!
When we arrived at the ferry, the owner of the cafe allowed us to use the hose out back to clean off our gear before getting on the boat. Thank god. We really needed it.
We hopped on the ferry at Whitehaven to cross over to Leesburg. The ride was a cable ferry and the ferry is one of historic importance (there is little info online re: the ferry, but that link takes you to a pdf newspaper article which details the long history).
When we reached the other side, we were greeted by a van for our hotel, where the Cirque du Cyclisme was being held. But before packing our stuff up in the van, we figured a nice group photo was in order:
Antietam Creek Campground to Leesburg, VA = 33.9 miles
Total trip from Pittsburgh to Leesburg = 290 miles
We went on this trip to attend Le Cirque du Cyclisme, which is an annual vintage racing and touring bicycle rally/symposium/event. It was awesome to enter the hotel and be greeted with hundreds of bicycles on display. HUNDREDS!
Over the weekend we rested. We drank beers. We ate awesome mexican food. We heard bike builders and painters talk about their process and how they got to where they are now. We went on a bike ride around the surrounding farm lands. We went to a swap and saw more lovely bicycles. And then we headed home.
And felt accomplished. All the photos (lots more than on here) can be found in this flickr set. If you’re planning on riding either the Great Allegheny Passage or the C&O Trail and have any questions that weren’t covered in this blog series, shoot me an email or leave a comment. I will gladly assist!
Now…who wants to see some knitting???