Last month roll: Assistant GM Kyle Beecher set out on his roll: A:1R to conquer a long contemplated ride from Pittsburgh to DC, and discovered that even experienced riders still have much they can learn. Kyle and Dorian was kind enough to share his experience and the (literal) ups and downs of traversing PA in our latest blog post.
They also made a movie of thier experience, check out the trailer here.
What inspired you to ride the GAP/ C&O from Pittsburgh to D.C?
Well, I’ve always been inspired to ride it after finding out about it and have had thoughts about it for the last 5 years since moving back from Pittsburgh. I use to ride the south-side section to and from downtown for my morning commute when living there. Had heard about a couple friends who have done it, and was something I always thought “someday” ill do, but never actually planned it or had anyone crazy enough to ride it with me, until I met Dorian.
Who did you ride with?
My girlfriend Dorian, who is fresh to biking as of 5 months ago, and had less than 150 miles under her belt before joining.
What was the best part of the Trip?
The 25 mile downhill from the eastern continental divide to Cumberland was quite a treat. We coasted downhill for most of the way with a constant grade around 3 percent. The view overlook at the top was pretty rad as well.
What was the hardest part of the trip?
Expectations. Gravel is a lot slower going than road, by far. After the first day the expectations of “just busting out a quick 50-60 mile ride in the morning and having the rest of the day to chill” were far out the window. We made sure we stopped and smelled the roses/ enjoyed the ride much more after that.
What is one piece you gear you couldn't have done without?
The Ortlieb bags by far. I had a secondhand pair of bags I used on my bike while Dorian used my dads nice ortlieb bags. By the end of the trip mine was held together with duct tape and zip ties, and may of not been as waterproof as previously thought, and Dorian’s bags kept everything bone dry with zero issues. I should of spent the extra money on bags instead of duc-tape.
What is something you wish you had?
Less stuff! I found out we didn't use our jet-boil stove and ate out the entire time as cooking food didn't sound pleasing after a long 8-10 hour day of riding.
What was something that surprised you on your trip?
How many flats we didn't get, and how little problems both our bikes had. Absolutely zero flat tires for 350 miles. The only time we had any issue was slight problems with gears after about 150 miles of rain and gravel gunked up over 3 days, which the solution was to clean and put some lube on.
What was something you wish you had done differently?
Trained properly, and not gone into things blindly.
What did you learn about yourself that you didn’t know before?
Not much, I know myself pretty well. Maybe pain tolerance? I had some seat issues that were less than ideal that should have been fixed prior to leaving that made comfort kind of rough.
What is your next adventure?
Not sure, have an east coast rv trip in the thoughts before it gets cold with sights set on Maine lobster at the finish and a Philly cheese-steak along the way in a freshly restored rv that is still in the works. Probably hanging up the bike-packing bike up until next year.