Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour

Three tips to get you ready for the spring biking season

With plenty of cool sunny days, spring is one of the best times of the year to hit the trail in Ohiopyle. And if you start riding now, you’ll have the fitness to put in some big rides this summer.

Ohiopyle bike Bridge Wilderness Voyageurs

The High Bridge just outside of Ohiopyle

Here are some tips to get you ready to ride:

Get a tune-up

Take your bike to your local shop (if you’re in the Ohiopyle area, that’s us) and have the mechanics tune it up. Fresh cables, brake pads, and tires will make your ride way more fun.

Check your tire pressure before every ride. The maximum recommended pressure is stamped on the sidewall of tire, but that’s usually a much higher pressure than you should ride (think of the max pressure stamped on your car’s sidewalls. My truck tires say 60 psi, and if I pumped the tires up that hard I’d be all over the road.)

Correct tire pressure depends on your weight, so you’ll have to play around with it a little. The tires shouldn’t be so hard that they bounce you all over the trail, and they shouldn’t be so squishy that they squirm under the bike. Also, pumping the tires up extra hard won’t make you go faster. A tire is most efficient when it can conform to the bumps it’s rolling over.

Check your saddle height

Seat height is really important to being comfortable on your bike. If the saddle is too low, you won’t be able to pedal efficiently and you’ll destroy your knees. Too high, and your hips will rock back and forth until you get super unpleasant saddle sores.

So to check your seat height, find a wall to lean against, get on the bike, then put your heels on the pedals. When you pedal backwards, your leg should be fully extended and your knee almost locked out. Spinning with the ball of your foot on the pedals, there should be about a 30 degree bend in your leg.

For a visual explanation check out this video, which features the handsomest bike mechanic in Ohiopyle. Or consider making an appointment for a bike fitting. 

Just remember, being able to touch the ground from the saddle has nothing to do with correct saddle height. Get off the saddle before you need to stop the bike.

Get on the bike as often as possible

You might not have time to do a long ride every day, but if you ride around the neighborhood for a half an hour everyday, your bike fitness will increase dramatically. It’s all about getting your body used to pedaling.

If you can only ride three hours a week, split that time into short rides everyday. Riding a bike will become routine, and longer rides won’t be a problem. In contrast, riding three hours one day on the weekend will just be a shock to your system, and probably a miserable time.

And if you can, commute to work on your bike. Along with all the hippy-feel-good benefits that come with bike commuting, it’s the absolute best way to become a better cyclist. Riding to work gives you a reason to ride (actually going somewhere), and will get you riding more than ever. After all, bikes aren’t just for recreation, they’re also a serious and efficient way to get around.

Swing through the shop if you are on the Great Allegheny Passage, or road riding through on RT 381.

Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle Pa, 15470




Categories: Biking Vacations, Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour, Mountain Biking, Ohiopyle, Wilderness Voyageurs | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

NEW! Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Bike Tour – Best of GAP 4 Day

Ride the GAP End to End in 2013!   Wilderness Voyageurs is introducing a new 4 day Inn to Inn journey from Homestead, PA to Cumberland, Maryland.  This trip will cover the Great Allegheny Passage at a relaxed pace and will allow for plenty of time to explore the trailside, small towns, and soak your feet in the Youghiogheny River.  This bike tour will average about 35 miles a day, as opposed to our 6 day Pittsburgh to Washington DC tour that averages 60 miles a day.

Great Allegheny Passage- Wilderness Voyageurs

The GAP Trail crossing the Cassellman River on the spectacular Salisbury Viaduct

Wilderness Voyageurs has been conducting tours on the Great Allegheny Passage since 1999, today we are the largest bike outfitter operating in the corridor. Why is this important?  Because, you get more time to enjoy your vacation when you put our 14 years of experience to work for you taking care of  all of the details, luggage moving, snack breaks, meals, lodging, and bike tuning.  We make it easy to explore and enjoy the trail.

You will meet your guides and fellow travelers at the Wilderness Voyageurs’ base in Ohiopyle, PA.  Here you will park your car and have your luggage loaded into the SAG vehicle.   Munch on a bagel while the guides load your bikes and attend to any last minute bike tuning before we load up to head for Homestead, PA and the start of your vacation.  You will spend 4 days, traversing from Homestead, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Maryland, on this world famous Rail- Trail.  Beginning your meander in the shadows of the Pittsburgh skyline and then quickly you will turn into the Youghiogheny Valley where tall trees and small towns are your companions.  Overnights will be spent in Perryopolis, Confluence, and Meyersdale, upon arrival in Cumberland you will be transported back to Ohiopyle where you parked your car.

One of the things that has us so excited about this new tour, is our new lodging partners, the Levi Deal Mansion in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania.  This gorgeous B & B is 2 blocks from the Great Allegheny Passage, and will be our refuge on night 3 of this tour.   Meet our innkeepers and have a peek into their beautiful home, that they have lovingly restored to turn of the century grandeur……

Details of the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Tour – 4 Day

The inaugural departure for this tour is July 21, 2013 with additional departures on September 8th and October 6th.

KATY TRAIL Bike Tour - Wilderness Voyageurs

KATY TRAIL along the Missouri River

Have you already biked the GAP?  If so, you may be interested in the KATY Trail, the longest Rails to Trails project in the US,  an excellent 6 day biking vacation that crosses Missouri.

To reserve your biking vacation, or have your questions answered, call us at 800-272-4141, or stop into our shop at 103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle PA, 15470

Don’t want to talk to a human?  Reserve on line at



Categories: Biking Vacations, Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour, Ohiopyle, Wilderness Voyageurs | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Mountain unicycling in Ohiopyle- Something completely different

Since I tweaked my shoulder last month, it’s hurt to go uphill on my mountain bike. I figured that I needed to take some time off riding to let the shoulder fix itself, but I couldn’t just sit around. And I can’t stand walking or running. So my only reasonable option was to hit the trails on a unicycle.

Mountain unicycling trails in Ohiopyle

Wobbling and waving down the trail.

The trails around Ohiopyle are tight, twisty, and covered in rocks and roots. And this time of year, they have a slimy coating of leaves. They’re tricky to ride on a mountain bike. Take away a wheel, a set of handle bars, and the ability to coast, and they’re trickier. By a lot.

Riding a unicycle feels weird. To go forward, I have to lean until feel like I’m going to fall on my face, then catch myself by pedaling forward, which rotates the unicycle backwards. So riding in a straight line is a constant back and forth between falling and pushing myself back up with the pedals.

Add in some hills, off-camber paths, and bumps, and staying upright becomes a weird flailing dance. Lean back on a descent, resist the wheel, push the saddle forward into the climbs, wave right arm into a left turn, shake the left into a right, grab the saddle hop up a rock, and twist around and around.

It’s exhausting.

I can happily do a 50 mile day on my mountain bike, but after six or seven miles of unicycling I’m ready stumble off into the mountain laurel and pass out (and I almost never do that when I’m sober.)

Unicycling down a trail

My photographer was able to take surprisingly artistic shots while running behind the speeding unicycle.

Despite being really hard, unicycling is fun. I’m started to get the hang of riding technical stuff, and I’ve done my seven-mile commute to work on the thing. Although it takes three times as long as it does on a bike, it’s still slightly faster than running. And unlike running or riding a bike, when I’m on the unicycle people always smile, wave, laugh, and yell encouraging things. Which makes sense, because I look ridiculous:

Categories: Biking Vacations, Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour, Mountain Biking, Ohiopyle | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Allegheny Passage Bike Tour

Dear Bill, Travis, Gary, Heather and all the other staff members who were part of making my bike trip so special,


There are no amount of words that can express how wonderful and memorable my bike trip was with your organization. From my first conversation with the reservation staff to the last van ride to Fredrick, MD, it exceeded my expectations.  I don’t know where to begin.  Travis and Gary took such good care of us in so many ways.  They were not just guides, they were our  friends, confidants, mechanics, cooks, historians, and there for us at ever turn.  The group became like family, we encouraged each other and supported each other yet we could ride at our own pace and choose to do the things we enjoy.  There are too many highlights to mention.  Well maybe the chocolate chip cookies!



Mile 0 of the C & O Canal Towpath

Journey Completed

Needless to say, I had a wonderful time, doing what I love ( biking) and meeting interesting people and seeing our beautiful country in an unique way.  I think my expression on the attached picture says it all!


Thank you … Thank you… Thank you….


Can not wait until my next bike trip!


Diane Riley

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Designing Bike tours in Pennsylvania

Another tough day of work here at the Wilderness Voyageurs Bike tour division!  Our Civil War bike tour is really starting to take off.  This year we have a number of custom bike tours in the central Pennsylvania region, that means we are  out driving and biking around the beautiful countryside, looking for bike friendly routes.

Thought  I would share some improptu pics from a route we are working on between Gettysburg and Antietam

Great spring day, dogwoods and red bud trees  were putting on a show.    Found a great route that makes getting over South Mountain almost pleasant.  Lots of creeks and cool rock formations to accompany you on this ride.    The Monocacy Valley and  Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland and Adams County Pennsylvania are really awesome biking destinations.  Lots of friendly roads, and there are so many old buildings and barns around every corner.  The topography can be challenging but not make a ride feel like work.

Join us for a Pennsylvania bike tour and explore the country’s history while vacationing hassle free, you can’t beat it.

happy trails

Categories: Biking Vacations, Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour, The Americana Bicycling Vacation, The Civil War Bike Tour | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

West Newton and The Great Allegheny Passage Trailhead are Still Open!

Beginning Friday, July 2, the West Newton Bridge walking deck will be Reopened to pedestrian and bicycle traffic only – just in time for the Fourth of July festivities. On June 22, the West Newton Bridge was closed so that a substructural issue could be repaired. The bridge is expected to  reopen to vehicular traffic within four weeks.


Wilderness Voyageurs Guided Bike Tours

We Still have spots available on our 3 and 6 day Great Alleghney Passage Tours!!!

Categories: Biking Vacations, Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer Thrills: Alive and Thriving

Wilderness Voyageurs Bike Tour

Great Allegheny Passage Tour from Pittsburgh to Washington DC

Bike Tour Season is finally here! Our first trip of the year set out on Sunday completing day 1 of 6 in our Great Alleghany Passage tour from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. With tornado warnings to the north and flood watches to the south, the fleet managed to reach the first checkpoint in Ohiopyle without seeing a drop! For the rest of the trip, lets hope our “Gearheads” are able to out pedal  the storm.

Wilderness Voyageurs Cheat Canyon

"The Beast of the East" - Cheat Canyon

Sundays rain did however affect our Upper Yough trip planned Monday afternoon when river  flow exceeded the raftable level at 3.5+ ft, but the day was not lost to our  adrenalin junkies who booked, they were sent  down to West Virginia to  battle class IV and V rapids of  legendary Cheat Canyon!

Wilderness Voyageurs- Lower YoughWith the water on the rise,  this weeks Lower Yough trips could also  expect some extra flow. Our guide assisted  trips can accommodate groups up to 80 people making it the perfect summer outing  for any local club or adventure group.  Head out to Ohiopyle this summer and beat the heat!
Categories: Biking Vacations, Family Fun River Trips, Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour, Ohiopyle, Upper Yough, Whitewater Rafting | Leave a comment


Stop down to Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle this Memorial Day weekend to check out our AMAZING Holiday Specials.  The weather forecast is projecting sunny skies with temperatures reaching the mid-80s by Sunday, so thrill seekers, jump on one of our Upper Yough trips challenge your “American Spirit”. But if your looking for a more relaxing way to spend the holiday, our Americana Bike Tour will have you traveling through Pennsylvania’s rich historic landscape.

upperyough Wilderness VoyageursBike Tours Wilderness Voyageurs

  • Save $26 per person on the Upper Yough this Friday 5/28: Raft the Upper Yough for only $99
  • Paddle & Shred: 2 days of Class III-V whitewater fun! Raft the Upper Yough on Friday for only $99 AND the Lower Youghiogheny on Saturday in a shredder with a FREE upgrade. Save $60 per person!
  • Sale $100 on the Americana Bike Tour: Spend a few days enjoying Pennsylvania’s beautiful country side on two wheels.
  • Ready to learn to paddle? Keep the beginning package weekends in mind. The first weekend of every month. Meals, Equipment & multiple days of instruction. Great deal at only $185! The first weekend in June is SOLD OUT! Book your spot for July now!
  • Learn to Fly Fish with Wilderness Voyageurs! Our instructional classes are selling fast but there are still seats available for the first weekend in June. Call and reserve you spot today!
Categories: Biking Vacations, Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour, Outdoor Gear, The Americana Bicycling Vacation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bill’s review on Cannondale’s Quick 2

Cannondale's Quick 2

Cannondale's Quick 2, a great option for the Americana Bike Tour or Civil War Cycle

Today, I was fortunate enough to test a Cannondale Quick 2, which we just added to our bike tour rental fleet. The Quick series was designed for the rider looking to: recreate, commute in an urban setting, stay fit, pedal instead of drive to their favorite weekend destination, and just plain have fun.  In the past, when I thought of commuter style bikes, I always pictured a bike that would compromise style and comfort. Yes, I can be vain from time to time. However, I have never come across a bicycle that could do all these aspects of cycling well. In fact, sometimes bicycle companies try to make a bike do too many things, which results in a bike that doesn’t perform well at anything. The Quick certainly isn’t lacking in the style department.

How does the Quick 2 ride you ask? Lets start with the frame. This bike features a Hydroformed 6061 Alloy main frame with Carbon seat stays for a more compliant ride. By adding carbon only to the seat stays, it allows Cannondale to give cyclists an incredible ride without breaking the bank. However, Cannondale does have the Quick Carbon 1 and 2 for those looking for the utilmate in compliance and light weight. I was a firm believer in the Quick’s forgiving nature after riding over many downed branches along the trail. Be sure to watch out for branches that move. They aren’t always black snakes like the fella I made friends with today.

The fork is Cannondale’s full carbon Ultra X with just enough rake to make the frame and fork combination incredibly snappy and responsive, hence the name, Quick. I found this out after weaving in and out of various trail users on my way to Blue Hole, and could totally picture this bike tearing it up through city traffic. This setup was incredibly comfortable with the flat bar and ergonomically sensitive grips, which are designed to take the pressure off one’s hands that often contribute to numbness after a few hours of riding. I found the Quick’s geometry to be comfortable in the full on racer boy position while trying to make time, and to test the lateral stiffness, as well as a more upright position to lower the heart rate and enjoy the scenery. Both positions have their place on our bike tours.

How about the parts group? The Quick 2 features a solid 105 level build. After working in the bicycle industry for over 12 years, I have been fortunate enough to ride everything from Alivio and Deore level components to ultra bling Campy Carbon 11 speed and Sram XX. This is particulary beneficial to me when it comes to choosing parts for my personal bikes. I have always preffered a working man’s build on my everyday bikes. Typically, you are going to sacrifice durability and longevity for the ultimate in lightweight and overall performance. Granted, I like high-end components on my race bike because I don’t ride that bike everyday, but the build spec on the Quick 2 is going to give you a solid combination of performance and value. This is the first adventure/commuter style bike I ever tested that came spec’d with the new industry standard BB30 shell. The BB30 was devloped by Cannondale in response to the standard 24mm BB Shell that had gotten the job done for years, but Cannondale engineers wanted to make it better. The larger diameter 30mm shell of the BB30 increases stiffness and saves weight. It was proven in the Tour De France in 2000. Cannondale Racers gave rave reviews, and it’s now being adopted by many other companies as more people are seeing it’s benefits, definitely a very nice feature on the Quick 2. The spec also includes Formula CXR 350 wheels, Kenda Kwick Roller Sport 700/32 tires, an FSA Omega Mega EXO Triple crankset 50/39/30, Shimano SL R440 9 speed shifters, Shimano 105 derailleurs, Tektro Mini V brakes. It also featured a sleek yet comfortable Selle San Marco saddle. I have spent time on this saddle without wearing full on cycling shorts, and I have to say, it was incredibly comfortable. These components are tried and true, which is why we chose this model to be part of our bike tour rental fleet, since you will be enjoying them for longer than the average ride around town.

Overall, I genuinely enjoyed riding this bike. The large frame fit my 5’10, 32 inch inseamed carcass well. Usually, I have to do some tweaking to the headset spacer stack height, saddle position and sometimes include an offset seatpost in order to fit me comfortably on account of a bum hip.  The only thing I dialed in was my saddle height and it was good to go. It was very responsive, comfortable, laterally stiff yet forgiving all while turning heads on the trail. To be honest with you, I would consider adding the Cannondale Quick 2 to my personal fleet as an everyday commuter, and all around transportation bike. It will be a great option on either the Civil War Tour or Americana Bike Tour. Feel free to stop by the store if you have any questions about the bike tours, the Quick 2 or any of the other phenomenal bikes in Cannondale’s line up. My name is Bill and I love to talk bikes.

Categories: Biking Vacations, Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour, Ohiopyle, The Americana Bicycling Vacation, The Civil War Bike Tour | Tags: | 5 Comments

Gearing up for 2010 Bike Tours!

Summer is almost here and that means getting ready for Bike Tours! Garrett street is hopping with activity today as the wonderful weather allows guides, guests, and managers to get outside and gear up. For our Bike Tour Manager, Bill Hall, Christmas came in April. Our new roof racks for our Bike Tour vans arrived. Bill got to spend some glorious sunshine time this morning installing the new racks on our vans.

 Also our other Bill got to spend some quality outdoor time while tuning up our Cannondale A400 Bikes. These bikes are one of the rental choices riders on our Bike Tours have to customize their experience! We also rent these bikes out for day trips along the Great Allegheny PassagewayMountain biking has also come into full bloom this time of year as the trails dry out and riders get to enjoy spring sunshine!

New biking gear has made its way into our Wilderness Voyageurs Outfitter store! Swing by and visit us in Ohiopyle, PA or visit us online at Our Friendsville, MD store is also now open for every release day on the Upper Yough! Click on Upper Yough to check out the 2010 whitewater release schedule and Ways to Save for current specials on all of our rafting tours!

Enjoy the weather! We sure are!

Categories: Biking Vacations, Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour, The Americana Bicycling Vacation, The Civil War Bike Tour | 1 Comment

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