We did it! After 1450 miles in 15 days (of riding) we reached Boothbay Harbour on the coast of Maine and enjoyed lobster rolls to celebrate. We’ve ridden 112 and 119 miles in the last two days so we’re pretty tired today. So just a short post! But we’re heading south now, back home to DC.
This update is coming from Burlington, VT, on day 13 of our Eastern Tour. We’re actually taking a rest day today as the bikes required some repairs – thanks to Ski Rack who sorted us out and replaced the bearings and springs in Pete’s rear cassette. We’re now set to go again and can’t wait to start riding again tomorrow.
Since my last update we’ve cycled right across upstate New York, averaging a little over 100 miles a day to keep on track to reach Maine.
Niagara Falls, seen on the morning of day 8, was as impressive a natural wonder as anything I’ve ever seen. Yes, sure it’s touristy, but we were there really early to beat the crowds. We stood in awe, gobsmacked that people have survived going over the falls in barrels, or even one extraordinary story of a drunk chap who thought it was a good idea to go over in only the clothes on his back. Nutcase!
From there we picked up the Erie Canal for 60 miles or so, heading due east to pass south of Rochester, before turning up to Lake Ontario. We were in rural, redneck America – most homes had a “Repeal the SAFE ACT – respect the 2nd amendment” in the front yard. It was interesting country to travel through.
The Adirondacks gave us the best riding of the tour so far – fantastic quiet roads, big mountains, bigger forests and stunning mountain lakes. This was exactly what we came for, and we have many incredible memories from this section.
Our route now takes us east over the Green Mountains and on towards southern Maine. We’re aiming for Rockport or Portland as our final destination on the east coast, before we turn south for the last leg back to DC.
Update from the road on day 7, sitting in a NY diner. Last night we finished the Underground Railroad Pittsburgh spur and camped on the shore of Lake Erie, two days of 75 miles and 114 miles. There was so much packed into two days: heavy industrial landscapes as we left Pittsburgh, many crossings of the Ohio river, some testing little climbs, Amish country, miles and miles of open countryside, Pete’s back brake failing, replacing it under an awning as a huge thunderstorm rolled by, getting completely soaked, hitting our first century distance as we raced the sunset to the PA/NY state line, and lastly watching the sunset from camp on the shore of Lake Erie. A really great two days.
We’re in Pittsburgh now, at the end of the Great Allegheny Passage, having left DC four days ago. It’s been an excellent few days, 340 miles of traffic free cycling, the majority of that in secluded, quiet forests. The section leaving Cumberland was all uphill until the Eastern Continental Divide, 2392ft high. Whilst the gradient was mild and steady the whole way, it still tired us out. The views were spectacular wherever we had a break through the trees.
We rode through four long tunnels yesterday, leftover legacies of the canal or rail builders taking direct routes through the mountains. We also passed the Mason-Dixon Line so we’re officially in the North now.
Our camp last night near Confluence was one of the best of the summer so far. Chatting around the fire with fellow bike tourers and walkers, and Pete and I were inducted into the genius of the s’mores! Real, gooey ones made over a campfire, superb.
Today we put in 53 miles before lunch, gorged ourselves silly on big sandwiches at West Newton, and then cruised the last 38 miles into Pittsburgh, through increasingly industrial landscapes.
Excuse the brevity of this post – I’m typing on an iPhone.
My brother and I are having lunch in Cumberland, MD, at the terminus of the C&O canal and the start of the GAP trail to Pittsburgh, our next target. It’s been two and a half days of really enjoyable riding from DC. Some rough surfaces aside, the trail has been relaxing riding through the woods with great campsites along the edge of the Potomac River. My back hasn’t been too bad and continues to get better. The bikes have been great and we’re not wanting for anything, despite our light setup.
We’re heading out of Cumberland shortly, aiming for Pittsburgh and then on towards Lake Erie.