A while ago I mentioned to my wife how I wanted to go back to Washington, DC (we lived there for a year) to tour the C&O canal in the Fall. To my delight she said she wanted to do this as well, she has never toured before. 4 months before the tour was to happen she got pregnant and she said she was still down for this so the plans kicked into high gear.
Because my wife was 4 months pregnant I decided to build her a world tour style bike using an old mid 80’s Diamond Back mountain bike I had lying around. The bike already had a good touring setup having all the rack mounts including low-rider braze-on’s. With this setup I was able to squeeze 26 x 2.35 tires run at low pressure for a soft ride. I also added touring bars and Bar-con shifters. I was riding my Palo Alto touring frame. Ultimately her bike was the much better setup for this. Both bikes should have had fenders but I didn’t want to deal with them what with shipping across the country, and in the end the bikes got a little muddy but otherwise being fender-less worked out OK.
The tour itself was timed perfectly with the fall colors. Being as we live in San Diego this was a real treat. The weather in the Fall is awesome and there’s no mosquito’s which I love. DC can be sloppy with mud and can be unbearable with the mosquito’s in the Spring and Summer. Fall is definitely the season to go. The trail itself is 184 miles long and goes from Georgetown in DC to Cumberland MD. This tour is what I would call a real vacation on bikes. No maps, no turns, no hills, no cars and no motels. There’s a campground about every 5 miles so you wake up, casually eat, jump on the bike and just ride until you are tired and setup camp in one of the free campsites along the Potomac river. Very little thinking and a whole lot of scenery. There’s plenty of motels and B&B’s though if that’s more your speed. If we had more time we would continue through Cumberland and jump on the Great Allegheny Passage which would continue the dirt tour all the way to Pittsburgh. Perhaps we’ll do this with a our new baby……
This is the very start of the trail for us in Washington DC. We chose to travel up river for our tour.