spring bicycle tour

The Pedalshift Project 160: The Spring Bicycle Tour Is…

Recorded live on March 31, 2019 with a big tour reveal (my longest bike tour in years!) plus listener questions   on e-bikes, the Great American Rail-Trail, the C&O, water on tour, bicycle advocacy and more!

Pedalshift 160 spring bicycle tour

Hey it’s the direct download link for  The Pedalshift Project 159: Bike Show Touring Gear Talk (mp3).

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Special thanks to Pedalshift Society and Hawbuck Dyneema Wallets for sponsoring this episode of the show!

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Mark the calendars… Portland… Pedalpalooza… Friday June 14. We’re doing the first ever Podcastpalooza Ride along with The Sprocket Podcast, The Joyride Podcast and more. Details coming later this spring!


Charted in India at #2 in outdoor pods this week! Not sure how accurate these things are but it’s fun to see. Jamaica still has love at #4, but Slovenia apparently found 73 other new best friend outdoor podcasts ¯_(ツ)_/¯ 

The Journal: Spring Bicycle Tour Announcement

My next tour is… DC to Cincinnati, rocking three of the best trails east of the Mississippi!
A few things that prompted this trip:
  • finances – wanted to keep this a less expensive tour that stretched out longer
  • nostalgia – all trails have been on the pod
  • new to me – OTET
  • challenge – three complete trail through rides
  • trailblazing – connecting GAP to OTET in a way I haven’t seen before


  • C&O
  • GAP
  • Road route + possible mini fast forwards
  • OTET
Pittsburgh to Cincinnati is the build in progress. Originally I planned to use PA Bike Route A… a state sanctioned bike route, what could be wrong? 
Plenty. Pennsylvania. Shake yourself. Route 51 north of PGH is a verified death trap, yet it’s sanctioned as PA bike route A! Google a bit and see what the situation is! PGH people I think you have my back on this.
Some research showed a few options:
  • The trail options used by the Eastern Express and FOTS Brian Bellman looked like good alternatives.
  • Brian’s route looks really awesome, but not this early in the spring (North Bend trail in particular). Check his videos out over on youtube as Biking Brian.
  • I’ve long looked at the Eastern Express, but I decided against this one because I’ve decided I wanted to do complete rides on the OTET and GAP. Eastern Express at its most efficient cuts both off. But put a pin in it.
  • That leaves PA route A… AKA the deathtrap… OR…
  • A little transit FF courtesy of Allegheny County and the opposite side of the Ohio River. Then rejoining the route and using some lesser-traveled roads in Ohio to get to Kent.
  • THEN it sort of depends. I have a FF option to get me to the lakefront and the start of the OTET, or 35 miles of cycling that I’ll just be re-riding back south. All depends on my attitude and timing.
From Cleveland, it’s OTET all the way to Cincinnati and a *very* 3am-ish timed train back to DC.

Cross Country Ride, Part 1

I’m viewing this trip as part 1 of a 5-part cross country ride. I’m intending to pair this with 4 other 10-14-day rides over the course of the next couple of years that will do the following:
  • Join the Eastern Express route through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado.
  • Join the Trans-Am up through Missoula
  • Take the Lewis & Clark through to Portland
I have no specific agenda for when these 4 other segments will get done, or if they’ll be done in east to west order. All I know is this is my goal since being able to take a full 10 weeks to do it isn’t in the cards for this year.

Cincinnatti Meetup?

Meetups… the only say I know for sure I’ll be anyplace is my final day, which is Tuesday May 14th in Cincinnati. If anyone is interested in potentially doing an evening meetup not unlike what we did in Orlando, go to pedalshift.net/cinci and let me know. There’s a Reds-Cubs game that night… not a big baseball guy, but that’s my time-killing strategy option if there’s no meetup, soooo… pedalshift.net/cinci (and I recognize Tuesday night is super not convenient).

My answer (after forgetting a few and amending) was 15: DC MD VA WV DE NY FL SC MT WA OR CA AZ CT PA
add MO (2018), OH (2019) so I’m up to 16 and soon 17. I could cheat and cross the river for a minute and get Kentucky, but that is definitely #cheating.
how many I’ve biked length or width?
6 – DC, MD, FL, WA, OR, CA (soon 7 with OH)
Very close: NY
Chat box… how many states have you biked in? International folks who haven’t cycled the US, how many countries have you cycled in? (FTR I’m very lame… only 5! US, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Italy. I rolled my Brompton in an airport in England but that doesn’t count!)


Hi Tim, you’re show is my favorite podcast!  Just wondering if you have tested or open to testing any e-bicycles.  I bought 2 last year, to commute to work 46 miles round trip, and to explore longer rides with a second battery when I ride alone.  I want to do a week tour this year with my e-bicycle and 2 batteries (enough for 80-100 miles a day). Curious if you have seen anyone like this or if a bike shop has offered to let you test one?  Joan from Buckfield Maine.
I love e-bikes. I’ve ridden a few of the deckles bike share versions here in DC and I’m fascinated with the potential for using them in touring. My first tour on Climate Ride there was a pair of recumbent riders who had e-assist (talk about early adopters!). I think this will certainly be something that gets more prominence in the future as we can make batteries and the bikes lighter. It sounds like 2 batteries and your range is great… would love to try it out someday! Any e-bike shops out there who want to spot me? 😉
What’s the latest on the Great American Rail-Trail?
I think nothing more than the reveal in about a week of the connected route. I’ll be literally in the middle of it right then, but too far (I think) from Columbus to join in the festivities. More to come when I hear.
From John… Why not carry a water purifier on tour rather than a large supply of water in bottles?
I do, but not always. Sometimes it’s just easier to find a spigot or a shop with a faucet that it would be to find a creek! On this next tour, I suspect it will be pretty easy to find water but since I’m likely to be riding with full panniers I may toss it in just to have for wild camping or on The GAP, which I find to be a little tricky with water in parts.
From Christopher… Is there any advice you have about how to advocate for cycle touring, or bikepacking opportunities where trails already exist? Or at least just access to camping? There are some sites along the trails, but they are few and far between.
There may be groups that are in your area that do this… cycle clubs, transportation advocacy groups, friends of local trails. I’d work with them for sure. And as far as building more camping infrastructure on trails, consider looking at Boy Scout organizations or similar groups. A ton of free camping on the GAP are Eagle Scout projects. Might be a good partner!
Thomas Shadow asks about the C&O conditions!
I’m hearing fairly good reports on the trail itself… we’ve had a nice run of dry weather lately (although it rained today). There was an outage around MM64 that was quickly fixed, but the outage at MM52 remains and probably will through the first part of summer.
The Paw Paw tunnel descaling project will likely shut the tunnel down in a week or two from what I hear, which means I’ll be hoofing up  the mountain unfortunately! There are smaller detours here and there that aren’t a big deal.
Semi-related: the GAP is now fully open since Big Savage Tunnel reopened on Friday!

Pedalshift Society

As always we like to close out the show with a special shoutout to the Pedalshift Society! Because of support from listeners like you, Pedalshift is a weekly bicycle touring podcast with a global community, expanding into live shows and covering new tours like this spring’s DC to Cincinnatti bike tour! If you like what you hear, you can support the show for 5 bucks, 2 bucks or even a buck a month. And there’s one-shot and annual options if you’re not into the small monthly thing. Check it all out at pedalshift.net/society.

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You’ve been hearing about Jason Kent and his music for many fine episodes. Their latest album may be their best yet. Go get it.

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