It’s on. And it’s on a couple weeks earlier than it has been in recent years.
I am sorely tempted since it’s a eastbound year. Can make for a fast and fun trip across the Commonwealth.
I have heard of CTC, and it sounds fun. I do not know PA bike routes, or this specific route. How much is on bike trails? it looks like most of it. How much is pave?. Can my velomobile make it? or is too crazy with unpaved surprises?
Tim, going eastbound (like 2013’s edition), you spend about 15 miles or so in Pittsburgh in a neutral roll out. In the past, this has not been on trails, but with the possible finishing of a key segment of a trail near Sandcastle water park in early spring, it may be mostly trails this year. At mile 15 one hits the unpaved limestone trail of the Great Allegheny Passage (aka GAP trail), and you are on that miserable thing for 90 miles. A velo wouldn’t be great on that, but you’d survive. Its a miserable trail because its slow (usually because its wet and mushy that time of year) and terminally boring. And you can’t stop pedaling to coast. Not for more than 10 seconds perhaps.
Then you get off the GAP at Rockwood and hit paved roads and follow PA bike route S. You stay on PA bike route S (over what is the hilliest / most mountainous section of the course between Rockwood and Breezewood. In Breezewood you do have the option of staying on S and climbing several god awful mountains, or you climb a goat path to get on a 9 mile section of the abandoned turnpike that goes under the mountains in two very spooky and dark tunnels. Assuming you could get the velo up the goat path – the abandoned turnpike sucks – its full of rocks, sand, dirt, weeds, fallen trees, shrubs, sleeping bikers, etc. But you’d survive on the velo. You might have trouble getting through the jersey barrier baracades at each end of the abandoned road. I recall the spacing being pretty tight.
After that you get back on PA Bike Route S and its all roads from there to Valley Forge. At VF you get on the Schuylkill River Trail which is mostly paved, all the way to downtown Philly. You have about 3 or 4 miles in downtown Philly to get to the Liberty Bell.
Here is the route, more or less: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/235886
All in all, I’d say a velo is do-able, but far from ideal. Use good, puncture resistant tires. PA roads are not kind.
There are lots of photos and ride reports on the internet if you go searching. They will give you a better feel for what the race is like.
Here is my report from two years ago: http://www.recumbentjournal.com/views/columns/item/369-treading-lightly-upon-not-crushing-the-commonwealth.html
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