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Crush the Commonwealth 2013

This topic contains 288 replies, has 52 voices, and was last updated by  Jim 1 yr, 3 mos.

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Anonymous

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Jan 17 2013 at 2:38pm #

C’mon boostuv, it’s a race after all! :) And unless you are going to do it in under 24 hours you are not going to sit 400 mile in one chunk. :F


Drewbacca

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Jan 17 2013 at 7:05pm #

thanks Marko… I just spit ice-tea all over my screen.


sohoweet

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Jan 29 2013 at 11:49am #

is it back?


StuInMcCandless

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Jan 29 2013 at 12:14pm #

Seems to be doing something.

I’ll let the powers that be make the announcement, though.


StuInMcCandless

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Jan 29 2013 at 12:15pm #

Yeah, it’s allowing us to post messages, but the forum page does not show me as the most recent poster. It does correctly show how long it has been since the last post. In this case, 22 seconds.


erok

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Jan 29 2013 at 12:23pm #

post away.  let’s call this the soft launch


punchcard

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Feb 5 2013 at 11:07pm #

Any hotel recommendations for out of towners?


StuInMcCandless

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Feb 6 2013 at 3:10am #

If price is no object and you want to be close to the start, I’d suggest the Wyndham Grand, downtown. They are bike friendly; you can keep your bike in your room. It’s literally across the street from Point State Park. But $250/night, JSYK.


StuInMcCandless

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Feb 6 2013 at 4:09am #

Thinking about this (and it looks like I cannot edit my post after 20 minutes– used to be an hour), if you’re not staying right downtown, then a couple of other things come into play, namely how are you getting TO the hotel, and then what path you might take getting FROM the hotel to the Point.

I’m assuming you don’t have a car and are not getting dropped off by a private individual. That further assumes you will need to know bus routes and schedules to get from some drop-off point downtown (via Amtrak, Greyhound, Megabus, etc.), or perhaps you flew here, which I guess some might do.

All our buses here have bike racks, so if your bike is assembled and ridable, you can bus the bike to the hotel or to some bus stop reasonably close. Also, Google Maps has transit info on them, so if you zoom in enough, you will see the bus stops, and hover over each stop to see the service it has. $2.50 for a bus ride.

Then, for the ride from hotel to Point State Park, please consult a native for tips and suggestions, because some spots can be a dicey ride, even at 4:30 a.m.

Example: Let’s say you try the Days Inn on Banksville Road. First, don’t. You cannot get Downtown from here. The only road in leads to a car-only tunnel, and to go any other direction requires an enormous hill climb. (It’s very near our famous Canton Avenue.)

A more reasonable example, the Best Western at Parkway Center (875 Greentree Road, 15220). At about $100/night, that’s a tad easier on the wallet. Zoom in on Google to see that the 38 Greentree bus goes right to the place, and tells you when. OK, that gets you there. Then, in the middle of the night, you check out, hop on the bike, and sail down Greentree Road. That would be a sweet way to start a long trip, a nice long downhill. Wiggle through the West End, but then, a nightmarish snippet of road called West Carson Street. You have to know how to do this. It’s not difficult, but tricky. It involves jumping over to the left sidewalk ASAP after coming down a fairly high-car-speed ramp. Even at 4:45 a.m., you gotta know what you’re doing. But once you’ve attained that sidewalk (and I suggest just using the staircase adjacent to the West End Bridge to avoid that whole thing), you’re home free, because the sidewalk takes you directly into the starting line at Point State Park. (Also I note that, at this writing, the StreetView image of the West End Circle area is very out of date. That ramp and the staircase are as they were, but the arrangement of lanes and pedestrian access to the steps is very different. And better.)


StuInMcCandless

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Feb 6 2013 at 4:24am #

Boy, that “Edit” link expires quickly. About that StreetView link above. It’s labeled 875 Greentree Road (the hotel) but the image is that of the West End Circle ramp to West Carson Street, a couple miles away. You would have to come down this ramp, as mentioned above, and immediately get left, across traffic, to get to the sidewalk closest to the river. Do not try to ride West Carson itself! There is neither sidewalk nor shoulder, and traffic speeds are high. But the river-side sidewalk will take you right up onto the Fort Pitt Bridge over the river and directly into the park.

As to the staircase I mentioned, rotate the view to see it. There is now a protected sidewalk to get to the steps from the spot the image is taken from.

Anyway, I’m being very long-winded to make the point that each hotel has a getting-to-it story and a getting-from-it story that you need to know before you book a room.


cburch

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Feb 6 2013 at 4:26am #

dont forget the holiday inn express on the southside. cheap for a downtown hotel. nice and new. easy trail access to downtown. thick bikes is right down the street if you have a last minute bike need.

also check the sheraton station square. not sure how cheap it is, but its right across the river from the point. easy access via the smithfield st bridge or car free access via the ft pitt bridge sidewalk.


Marko82

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Feb 6 2013 at 9:27am #

There is also a hotel at the South Side end of the Hot Metal bridge that is right on the trail. Not sure of price or bike friendlyness though.


Pierce

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Feb 6 2013 at 7:41pm #

You could also ask on the forums and see if anybody would let you spend the night. If you live in Philadelphia, you could return the favor next year


frisbee

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Feb 6 2013 at 8:45pm #

The hotels near the hot metal bridge are all marriot-affiliated. I have stayed in about 10 marriott hotels with my bike without a problem… Do people usually have an issue with bringing a bike into a hotel room?


Mick

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Feb 7 2013 at 11:44am #

When I’ve travelled by bike, I’m aways way nervous about bringing a greasy, road-dusty chunk of metal and street tires into a hotel room. I usually find places outside to lock my bike (plastic bag over seat).


pbeaves

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Feb 7 2013 at 1:29pm #

So thought i’d post some of this since ppl have inquiries.
(ok, i’m sitting here kind of bored.)

here is a very small sampling of hotels, there’s an additional 30+ within a short distance to the start of the ride.

- SpringHill Suites Pittsburgh SouthsideWorks

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pitss-springhill-suites-pittsburgh-southside-works/

2950 South Water Street · Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15203 USA
(ss of Hot metal Bridge – 3+ miles from point park)

single night / double occupancy: 4/18 check in – 4/19 checkout $199

- Holiday Inn Express – Pittsburgh-South Side http://www.hiexpress.com/hotels/us/en/pittsburgh/pitxs/hoteldetail?cm_mmc=mdpr-_-GoogleMaps-_-ex-_-pitxs
20 South Tenth St Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania 15203 United States
(ss of 10th st. bridge – 2 miles from point park)

single night / double occupancy: 4/18 check in – 4/19 checkout $145

- Quality Inn University Center (PA369)

http://www.qualityinn.com/hotel-pittsburgh-pennsylvania-PA369?source=gglocaloz

3401 Blvd of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA, US, 15213
(oakland – 5 miles from point park)

single night / double occupancy: 4/18 check in – 4/19 checkout $105

- Hampton Inn & Suites Pittsburgh-Downtown https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/hp/reservation/book.htm?execution=e1s1
1247 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15222, USA
(downtown – 1/2 mile from point park)

single night / double occupancy: 4/18 check in – 4/19 checkout $199

-Hyatt Place Pittsburgh-North Shore http://pittsburghnorthshore.place.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels-pittsburghnorthshore-place/place/index.jsp?null
260 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(north shore – 1/2 mile from point park)

single night / double occupancy: 4/18 check in – 4/19 checkout $199

so it’s looking like the closer someone wants to stay to the start, the more they will need to fork over for the room.


Pseudacris

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Feb 7 2013 at 1:41pm #

When I rented a bike in LA for a few days, the hotel did not want the bike in the room, but they offered to tag it and keep it in the locked room with the luggage.


Nick D

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Feb 8 2013 at 8:00am #

I have never had an issue with taking a bike into a hotel–including some 4/5 star places. I always side with not asking and just doing it.

Anyone have plans on getting back?


rice rocket

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Feb 8 2013 at 9:58am #

I looked up rentals, $118 total which isn’t bad.

Anyone want to split?

Nick, I sent you a PM, but I think it went to your other account? Not sure what happened.


Pierce

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Feb 8 2013 at 12:08pm #

Gah, if only rentals came with hitches, oh wait, and also bike racks


stefb

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Feb 8 2013 at 4:58pm #

You should also have a plan to get back from points between pgh and Philly in case something happens and you can’t finish.


stefb

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Feb 9 2013 at 9:06am #

Also I think that you should do a 400-600km before doing this. Or at least train and do back to back 200ks. I am being advised against doing it fixed. If you are thinking about doing it fixed, do back to back 200ks and see how your knees feel.


reddan

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Feb 9 2013 at 5:05pm #

There’s a few local opportunities for 100Ks and 200Ks in the months before CtC: see here for some details.

The Kittens and Puppies rides denote easier (note, I do not say easy) routes; the Spring populaire and Spring 200K are a bit more challenging…good training for CtC.

I could possibly be persuaded to lead a 200k-ish ride on Sunday 3/24 (the day after the Kittens and Puppies 200K), if people want a nice back-to-back weekend riding fiesta.


that guy

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Feb 15 2013 at 2:14pm #

Anyone have plans on getting back?

My current plan is to turn around and ride back.

Time to push this to a new level of crazy.


stefb

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Feb 16 2013 at 8:29am #

Wow I never considered that. I would need a lot more time off of work to do something like that.


dmg

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Feb 16 2013 at 9:00am #

My parents live in Philly so I always try to do double duty and hang out for a bit before or after CtC. Getting back with the bike a couple of days after everyone else has headed back to has always been a pain. Riding back definitely has its appeal; it would be a good way to get in shape for a 1200k.


chrispissingrivers

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Feb 23 2013 at 12:04am #

We can probably host 2-3 people the night before if anyone is really strapped for finding a place to stay. We live in Bloomfield, which is really just a quick downhill and then flat stretch to the Point. Maybe about 5 miles total, but it’s all downhill or flat and I’d be happy to ride down with you in the morning to get you there quick.

Our place may be in various stages of remodeling in April, but just let me know (send me a PM or something) if you’re not having great luck finding a reasonable hotel.


jonawebb

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Feb 23 2013 at 8:31am #

If people start riding round trip as a regular thing, this could become PPP (Pittsburgh-Philadelphia-Pittsburgh, or vice versa), a 1200K-or-so randonneur comparable to (though as I understand it harder than) the famous randonneur PBP (Paris-Brest-Paris).


dmg

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Feb 24 2013 at 11:34am #

I wonder if there’s some other way to ride back – riding 1200k seems less terrifying that doing 180 miles on the GAP and losing my mind in the process.


stefb

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Feb 24 2013 at 12:51pm #

Danny chew and, I am sure, others know roads back from somerset, but I think a lot more climbing is involved.


reddan

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Feb 24 2013 at 12:55pm #

dmg wrote:I wonder if there’s some other way to ride back – riding 1200k seems less terrifying that doing 180 miles on the GAP and losing my mind in the process.

^^^^That.


reddan

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Feb 24 2013 at 12:57pm #

stefb wrote:Danny chew and, I am sure, others know roads back from somerset, but I think a lot more climbing is involved.

Rte 31 from Somerset back through Mt Pleasant would work, as would the few parallel side roads. But yes, there’d be a wee bit of extra climbing involved…


Drewbacca

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Feb 24 2013 at 3:41pm #

I think that out of Breezewood, 30 to 26 to 36… then old 22 up Cresson Mountain wouldn’t be too bad. 30 and 22 are both four lanes with wide shoulders and little traffic due to faster alternatives (30 parallells the turnpike and old 22 parallels the newer highway before they combine in Ebensburg). 26 wouldn’t be too bad as it isn’t super heavy on traffic… maybe I’ll go try riding the portions of 26 and 36 when the weather picks up and see how it feels. The Ghost town trail avoids the elevation dips between Ebensburg and Blairsville. From there, it’s not too difficult to piece together a path of rail trail or back road into Apollo, but I’m not sure the best route from there.

Can boxed-bikes go on that Amtrak route?.. you know, before they end up shutting it down forever? Might be cool to transverse the “historic Horseshoe Curve” by train one last time before it is no longer possible.[edit: OK, no boxed bikes, per se after reading the ctc blog... you have to let the bike ride down to DC and then to Pgh and pick it up a few days later apparently... if I were to do that, I'm just going to go with my bike and take the CandO_GAP back (not a promise of my participation, as I doubt I can get the time off)].


stefb

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Feb 27 2013 at 10:11pm #

i am still unsure of exactly how i am getting back to town.


cburch

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Feb 28 2013 at 12:10am #

i thought i was driving you back?


jonawebb

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Feb 28 2013 at 8:24am #

Just so it’s here — I’ve been thinking about riding CtC and taking Amtrak back, in case I can convince myself I can make it there by Sunday morning. The Amtrak site doesn’t seem to show any checked baggage options for the ride back, but Steven cleared that up on another thread:

If you plan a trip from Philadelphia to Washington on Amtrak’s site, it will show that the Northeast Regional trip at 4:40 AM allows checked baggage, as does the Carolinian at 8:35 AM. None of the many other trains on that route do.
On the bright side, either of those trains would get you to Washington in plenty of time to catch the Capitol Limited at 4:05 PM. :-)
It seems like Amtrak might let you take the (more convenient) Pennsylvanian directly back, and arrange to get your baggage back to Pittsburgh the following day via Washington. The site says “If checked baggage is not offered on a train/bus in your itinerary, it may be accepted on another train/bus bound for the same destination (excluding firearms). Advance check-in is recommended. En-route transfers between stations will require at least two hours of scheduled layover time to avoid delays.” Assuming you can trust Amtrak not to lose your stuff, and can be without it for a day, this might be the best option they offer.


steevo

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Feb 28 2013 at 10:00am #

somerset fairly safe = 31/381/130 into wilmerding to braddock ave into
Penn into city.

there are obviously better ways but this is like 4 roads


jonawebb

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Feb 28 2013 at 10:47am #

BTW, the train is $54 + $10 for bike shipping + $15 for the bike box. They have boxes at the station (don’t know if they’ll have enough if lots of people do this). You have to partly disassemble your bike. Don’t know about insurance but given that the bike leaves later by a separate route and changes trains in DC it sounds like a good idea to me.
Another way to get back is Greyhound, $30-$74 depending on how you buy your ticket, plus $30-40 for your bike, which you must pack in a container for shipping. I don’t think they have bike boxes there. You can insure your bike for an additional charge.
And you can also rent a car one way. It’s about $110 including all fees but not gas at National. Pick up in Philly, drop off at the Pittsburgh airport.


Marko82

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Feb 28 2013 at 11:01am #

I’m not riding – But someone could rent a small u-haul truck and bring everyone’s bikes back while allowing riders to come back via bus or train. The only hassle would be to coordinate the collection of the bikes on the Philly end (use Philly rider’s house?), with an acceptable depart time. It seems like a cheaper alternative if someone was willing to be the coordinator and driver.

Edit: a 10 foot box truck one way rents for $244, Turnpike toll is $39.55


pbeaves

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Feb 28 2013 at 1:49pm #

given the costs of train / bus (after shipping factors into things), it seems cheapest for a few people to split the cost of a rental vehicle.

heck, with a group of people all chipping in, it might not be a bad idea for a rental van to serve as a sagwagon for the way out then a bike carrier on the way back.

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