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Pittsburgh to Cleveland part 2

This topic contains 41 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  StuInMcCandless 1 yr, 8 mos.

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Erica

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Feb 21 2013 at 3:52pm #

I think the original thread got eaten, so I’m just starting a new one.
I think I have a good Idea of what to pack, and I have dates for it as well.
As for training, I’m going to take my days off and just ride on the GAP. Maybe 50 miles out, then turn around and ride back. I’ll do this a few times until I feel confident enough that I can do that, and still move the next day.

The last thing I need is route advice. The only thing I really want in a route is low traffic wherever possible, and a fairly cheap hotel that I can stay at for one night along the way.


reddan

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Feb 21 2013 at 4:15pm #

Adventure Cycling has a detailed route guide for $12.95.


Erica

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Feb 21 2013 at 4:20pm #

I think that’s worth the money at this point (I’m currently stocking up on supplies anyway, so another $13 won’t hurt)


Mikhail

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Feb 21 2013 at 5:01pm #

Erica,

Start with 25 on GAP in one direction and 25 back. There is border for many people somewhere between 50 and 70 miles in many terms but one is about how your butt is going “feel” it. You will learn if you need lantiseptic/assoss/butt’er and if you need — how often you should apply it. If you go for 100 miles from the beginning then it’s possible that you are going to be off bike for 3-4 weeks.


Erica

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Feb 21 2013 at 5:18pm #

good advice.
the shorter distance is something I can do after work, too.

I do need to buy a pair of real bike shorts too (Plan on doing that tomorrow if I have enough money – if not, it’ll have to wait 2 weeks)


Mick

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Feb 21 2013 at 5:34pm #

I’d say slowly work up to the distance you want to ride. Increase by 10% a week (or maybe 20%) until you are going farther than what you hope for your per-day distance.

I’ll be training this spring if you want to ride together. Our speeds and distances might be similar.


flyS564

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Feb 21 2013 at 6:51pm #

I think you will be surprised. If I recall the original thread mentioned taking a few days to do this ride? I highly encourage doing the MS150, perhaps beforehand if you can and you’ll see pretty average people and even elderly women riding 5 speed cruisers doing 75-100 miles in a day and then getting up and doing it again the next day. Some finish around dinner time and some finishing a little after lunch and a handful of people don’t finish at all.


Erica

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Feb 21 2013 at 7:32pm #

Actually, I didn’t really want to mention it yet, but I was hoping to do this ride to prepare for the ms150.


Drewbacca

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Feb 21 2013 at 7:59pm #

Don’t forget to pack some food/fuel. The first few 50 mile out rides I did almost wiped me out due to insufficient calorie intake.


Erica

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Mar 22 2013 at 2:05pm #

Adventure Cycling has a detailed route guide for $12.95.

I got this, and it’s from cleveland to pittsburgh. Is anyone familiar with this guide? can I just reverse the directions?


that guy

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Mar 22 2013 at 2:12pm #

I don’t see why not. There might be a few spots where things are awkward but the route shouldn’t be any different.

Does it take you along the Ohio and Erie Canal towpath?


Erica

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Mar 22 2013 at 2:17pm #

I’m not sure. I didn’t see it named when I skimmed it earlier. What area is it in?


that guy

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Mar 22 2013 at 2:27pm #

It goes from Cleveland south towards Akron. It’s kind of like Ohio’s version of the GAP.

http://www.ohioanderiecanalway.com/Main/Home.aspx


Erica

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Mar 22 2013 at 2:33pm #

I don’t see it named in the book.


reddan

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Mar 22 2013 at 3:24pm #

Erica wrote:

Adventure Cycling has a detailed route guide for $12.95.

I got this, and it’s from cleveland to pittsburgh. Is anyone familiar with this guide? can I just reverse the directions?

The guide should be bi-directional…if you look at the cue sheet for each map, there should be an EB (east-bound) and WB (west-bound) set of cues. You follow the EB column down the page, and the WB column up the page. Notes on amenities like convenience stores are in the middle columns.


Erica

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Mar 22 2013 at 3:30pm #

Wow, I didn’t even notice that. I was mostly looking at the maps more than the routes.
That is incredibly helpful!


mrosswog

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Mar 23 2013 at 11:29am #

I rode pittsburgh to akron on my 30th birthday last October. Akron is directly south of Cleveland and the two are connected by the trail system mentioned by others. Next time ill use those trails and go all the way to Lake Erie.

My suggestion would be to not spend your training hours/days on the GAP as it does not represent the type of riding you will encounter on your way out of the city and into Ohio. I would use the time you have to get used to riding on roads with higher speed traffic. From what I could tell it is going to be unavoidable.

The route I took was basically Route 51 all the way to the Ohio border, then jogging west and north on state roads as necessary (for some reason I really wanted to ride over lake Milton so that influenced my decision). If you are comfortable taking the lane and being assertive on the road, I would recommend this route to anyone. There is another approach people take where you go north out of the Rochester/Monaca area – this is to avoid a long and shallow climb to the pa/oh border.


mrosswog

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Mar 23 2013 at 11:35am #

I just looked at a map and it looks like you could follow route 14 in Ohio all the way from the state line to Cleveland. It’s a straight shot northwest and goes through a bunch of little towns.


Erica

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Mar 23 2013 at 3:28pm #

The rest of my training will be the route I’m taking.

My newest challenge is convincing my mom that I’m not insane:


cdavey

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Mar 23 2013 at 4:42pm #

I guess it really would be easier for you if she had enough confidence in your abilities as an adult, as well as enough respect for you as one to make this decision. Frankly, what I am reading is she is more concerned about how she would have to handle the situation if something actually did happen to you, so if you were a good daughter you should spare her the possibility of having to do that by cancelling your ride. My take on it anyway. Your mileage and others may vary.

Since you seem to be asking for ideas on how to handle this, you might consider telling her that while you understand and respect her concern for you, it is really important to you to try this and do it, and she needs to respect your desire to do this.

I have no idea how this will fly. But I would also say once you have made your desire and position clear to her, then ignore any additional flak you may get and JUST GO DO IT. Remember, this is important TO YOU. In the end once you arrive safe and sound as you almost certainly will, I bet she will get over it pretty quickly.

Some mothers have a lot of trouble accepting the idea that their kids are grown up and they don’t need to be mothered the way they did when they were younger. In other words, she’s out of that job and should be looking for another one.

If I come across as too harsh about this to you or anyone else, I apologize in advance.


Erica

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Mar 23 2013 at 4:45pm #

not too harsh at all. I was thinking of asking what exactly her concerns are, and telling them what I’ve done to deal with those. But that’s too much work. I like your idea better.


jonawebb

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Mar 23 2013 at 6:10pm #

I love the message from your mom. Thanks for posting it. No advice here–sometimes parents just need to see their kids can do things they never would.


stefb

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Mar 23 2013 at 7:30pm #

My mom flipped out on me when I was gonna ride my bike from morningside to pnc park to meet her and my family for a game. She had a fit so I just said nevermind, have fun without me.


cdavey

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Mar 23 2013 at 8:33pm #

@erica — “I was thinking of asking her exactly what her concerns were, and telling them what I have done to deal with them. But that’s too much work.”

Not only is it too much work, but if you do that you have agreed to play her game by her rules. Then you’ve already put yourself at a disadvantage before you start the discussion.

stefb gave you the ultimate answer in her post. Only thing I would say about that is that if it came to that (and it probably won’t), do the ride anyway to prove to yourself that you could do it. Just find a different end point with other people to ride to.


Mick

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Mar 25 2013 at 11:19pm #

For me, a message from a parent like that would motivate me to do more training rides. The humilation of trying and not making it would simply be too great for me to try it undertrained.

My father has expressed the thought that for me to ride to bike to DC is “crazy.” Even though it was fine when I did it in 2009. I think he is eager for me to give up practical riding and buy a car. Since part of my motivation of taking a trip (and training for it) is to increase my ability to get around town easily, he wants to discourage that.


Erica

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Mar 26 2013 at 9:07am #

about to do 40 miles. I’ve been having trouble eating enough, so today I’m taking a bunch of carrots, broccoli, a cucumber, orange, apples, granola bars, candy (for quick sugar, if I need it), nuts, and 2 bacon & avocado sandwiches. I think that about covers the pyramid.


cburch

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Mar 26 2013 at 11:21am #

i think what you’ll discover as you go through this process is that what seems like an insane or extremely challenging distance to ride right now will in fairly short order be so mundane that you wont even think about it anymore.

the problem is most people are too lazy/afraid to start moving in the first place. you’ve already kicked that one square in the nuts. just keep moving forward!


JaySherman5000

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Mar 26 2013 at 1:46pm #

I agree with the idea that you should not train exclusively on the GAP trail. Do some longer rides on the road, weighted with whatever amount of gear you might carry, so you can practice how you will play.

You might want to spend some time riding on PA Bicycle Route A. Basically, if you take 51 N out of town, you will eventually find signs marking the bicycle route. It will take you along highways where cars pass you at 60+ MPH, sleepy hamlets where you will move at the speed of traffic, and some scenic passes through the woods. I discovered this route thanks to the Kittens and Puppies Ride with Pittsburgh Randonneurs.

Good luck with your trip, and ride safe!


jonawebb

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Mar 26 2013 at 1:54pm #

Hmm… if you do that watch out for West Carson Street. It might be enough to put you off the route entirely. There’s high speed heavy traffic with trucks, bad road surface, and narrow lanes with a Jersey barrier wall along the right at some points. Not fun.
On Sunday’s randonneur we took the trail along the Ohio to McKees Rock bridge and that worked pretty well. Alternatively, you could take the 21 bus out to Neville Island and start from there. It’s much better. Though there’s still high speed traffic, there’s also a shoulder, the lanes are wider and I don’t think the traffic is as heavy.


Erica

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Mar 26 2013 at 1:57pm #

broke a spoke at (6.66 miles. no kidding) and once I got to thick from there for repairs, I started to think that maybe instead of this trip (which I planned to do solo), I should do the ms150 instead, since it has mechanical support and is about the same length…


Mick

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Mar 26 2013 at 1:57pm #

Erica wrote:about to do 40 miles.

Yay, Erica!

Y’know out the Gap, Dravo Cemetary is 22 miles each way from my home in Oakland.

5 more miles to 1st St and Blythesdale Rd, Elizabeth PA (Google says exactly 27 miles from my place), there is the “Yough Twister” Ice cream stand. Google says it’s Elizabeth, everyone else says Sutersville.

Cheeseburgers and chocolate malted milkshakes do it for me!

Visible from the trail

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/23/1579550/restaurant/Pittsburgh/Elizabeth/Yough-Twister-Sutersville


Erica

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Mar 26 2013 at 2:07pm #

did not do 40 due to broken spoke.


edmonds59

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Mar 26 2013 at 4:19pm #

Rather than changing your plan completely, I might suggest “nibbling” away at it in stages. Ferinstance, ride from home to the airport one day (to Carnegie and west to the airport to 30 I would prefer to rt 51, and would be a good route to get past the worst of the suburban “ring”). Then on a weekend ride to the Ohio border and back.
I would be interested to know how the Adv Cycling guide gets you to the border, that would help with route advice.
On the day you start the full trip, I wouldn’t even be ashamed to jump the 28x as far as the airport. That would give you a nice jump start and get you past some meh riding.


StuInMcCandless

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Mar 26 2013 at 4:30pm #

The 21 Coraopolis leaves downtown at 6:10 am and would get you out to the Sewickley Bridge by 7.

The first airport-bound 28X rolls thru downtown at 4:40 and would have you out there by 5:20. Then runs every half hour.

Either would be worth the 2-zone fare, IMHO, for the reasons Bill stated above.


cburch

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Mar 26 2013 at 5:32pm #

the 21 will take you within a mile of the montour trail too. if you want a nice mellow ride to the airport.


flyS564

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Mar 27 2013 at 8:44am #

Erica wrote:did not do 40 due to broken spoke.

I recommend going to Kraynick’s and learning how to 1.) temporarily secure the spoke and true the wheel while on the road and 2.) replacing the spoke and truing the wheel. They encourage helping others so you should be able to find help with this.


Erica

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Mar 27 2013 at 9:00am #

kraynicks is a great shop, but it’s not for me. I become increasingly anxious when failing to complete a difficult task. I once had a panic attack in kraynick’s while trying to replace a spoke. I don’t think I’d be comfortable doing that again.


jonawebb

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Mar 27 2013 at 9:01am #

@fly, or get a FiberFix. It’s still a pain to fix the broken spoke, you have to take the wheel and tire off, but it is something you can do on the road (no need to get the cassette off if it’s on that side). But if I had a choice between fixing a broken spoke on the road and riding a few miles home to do it I’d choose the latter.


Erica

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Mar 27 2013 at 9:03am #

yeah, I walked/rode the 3 miles from where it broke to thick. They didn’t have much going on at that moment luckily, so they fixed it on the spot. I still got a good 10 miles of riding done, and it gave me time to think about my plans.


JaySherman5000

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Mar 27 2013 at 9:45am #

@Erica: have you considered the drop-in classes at Free Ride? There’s a class on April 7th that will cover Wheel Trueing. Replacing a spoke is basically:

1: Remove broken spoke and nipple
2: Insert new spoke and nipple
3: true wheel

The third step is actually the hardest part to get right, and trueing your wheels before a long ride can actually help prevent broken spokes in the first place. If you’re interested/available, the shop will be open tomorrow night from 6-10pm (hooray for Spring/Summer hours!). I’m planning to take a pair of wheels there to overhaul the hubs, but I’d be happy to run through a basic wheel-trueing crash course with you or anyone else that’s interested. I’m planning to show up between 7-8pm and stay until Ned kicks me out.

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