The Pedalshift Project 169: DC to Cincinnati – Takeaways + Epilogue

Part five of biking DC to Cincinnati. An epilogue story from my evening in Cincinnati, plus 11 takeaways from my trip from DC to Ohio.

Pedalshift 169: DC to Cincinnati - Takeaways + Epilogue

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DC to Cincinnati – Takeaways + Epilogue

For a preview of the ride, check out Pedalshift 162.
Part 1 on the C&O towpath – Pedalshift 165.
Part 2 on the Great Allegheny Passage – Pedalshift 166.
Part 3 on the northern half of the Ohio to Erie Trail – Pedalshift 167.
Part 4 on the southern half of the Ohio to Erie Trail – Pedalshift 168.
Part 5 on takeaways – Pedalshift 169.

Curated photos over at Instagram. All photos here.

The Journal: DC to Cincinnati Takeaways

1 – Ride your ride: loaded work for you? Great! Minimalist bikepacky? Awesome
2 – Prepare for a reasonable range of conditions
3 – Miles/Day versus experiences
4 – Flexibility in schedule
5 – Staying clean can be a big deal for mental elements of  touring
6 – Good batteries help remove worries about your ABCs (“always be charging”)
7 – Stealth camping is super fun. Spray painted tarp works ok!
8 – 3 days gets you to happy – 7 days gets you in a long term rhythm – 14 days says take a break
9 – Get a long ride in when you can
10 – Meet people. The ride is nice, but meeting people is often the best part of the trip
11 – All trails are different. Make sure you’re riding the ones that fit how you want to ride!
C&O – more backcountry/wildernessy. It’s not for everyone.
GAP – in the middle
OTET – best overall surface (mostly paved)
I happen to like them all and I like the challenge of having to shift gears (figuratively) to handle the differing surfaces.


The C&O outage at MM52 now has a low-level crossing. The permanent replacement is scheduled for the end of 2019.
The GAP keeps on truckin. No word yet on the rumored campground near or in Ohiopyle SP.
The OTET is encountering some severe flooding, especially in CVNP. The detour with no detour south of Akron is open again.


Cincinnati, OH
Guy on Vine yells over at me – “you should ride that bike across country!” I turn and see a late-50s  guy approach with an excitement I’ve encountered before, just not in the middle of a city when my bike’s touring character is a little more incognito without the panniers and bungees.
His name is Martin and he’s got s plan of his own. Ride from Cincinnati to DC with a bike and a lightweight tent.
He didn’t know that’s exactly what I had just done in reverse.
After I tell him that, we talk for 20 minutes about my bike… gear… how he could tell just by looking at my unloaded bike that it was built for touring… his plans… his hopes and dreams.
Our conversation turns to shaking off the ties that bind for a little while and looking to trips like this to reconnect with nature and explore freedom, even for just a little while. As I watch him walk off with a spring in his step, I know there’s no way he’s not riding that ride. It’s happening.

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