Posted by Gregory Maassen on November 5, 2021 - Latest revision November 18, 2021  Reading time: minutes remaining

Lincoln Highway E-bike Tour – Segment 01 – Washington DC – Pittsburgh – C&O and GAP

This is the first segment of a cross-country e-bike ride inspired by an historic military convoy that followed the Lincoln Highway in 1919. Ike Eisenhower was a reporting officer of the convoy. His experience would ultimately lead to the creation of the US Interstate Highway System.

We're Going to Get There: That's All

Lieutenant Colonel

Charles McClure

Expedition Commander, 1919 Convoy

This segment of the route connects Washington DC with Pittsburgh. The trail follows the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), not the convoy's route via Fredericksburg and Gettysburg.

Segment Rating Summary 

95% Overall

This is an easy segment to ease into long distance e-biking as charging the bike is not an issue if you plan your accommodation well. There is no electricity at the free NPS campsites. You will have to go to the canal towns or camping sites with electricity to recharge batteries. 

20.5%
grade
5%
Asphalt
95%
Gravel

E-bike Trail

The red line is the e-bike route. Red markers indicate stops by the historic military convoy that left Washington DC on July 7, 1919. TH markers indicate trail head markers.

Towns and Camping Sites

Places to charge your e-bicycle, eat and rest during our route. The red line is the biking route. The blue line follows Google's biking directions. Click on the legend in the top left corner for more details.

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       Red markers indicate campgrounds with electricity (please always double check). Green campsites most likely have no electricity to charge your e-bike.

The Widewater section at the C&O Canal Towpath south of the Great Falls - E-bike Lovers

The widewater section of the C&O Canal, 1.6 miles south of the Great Falls Tavern visitors center. 

Where we Stayed

We stayed overnight at the following locations. Distances are in miles

City/Town/Area

Location

Electricity

Distance

Total

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

Available

0

0

Washington, DC to Harpers Ferry. MD

Huckleberry Hill Campsite - NPS

Not available

61.5

61.5

Harpers Ferry to Hagerstown. MD

KOA Hagerstown

Available

41

102.5

Hagerstown to Little Orleans, MD

Indigo Neck Campground - NPS

Not available

37.7

140.2

Little Orleans to Cumberland. MD

Hotel/B&B

Available

52.6

192.8

Cumberland to Ohiopyle. PA

Starlight B&B

Available

62.8

255.6

Ohiopyle to Pittsburgh. PA

Hotel/B&B

Available

75.8

331.4

Other Segments of the Cross Country Tour

Lincoln Highway E-bike Tour – Segment 01 – Washington DC – Pittsburgh – C&O and GAP
Lincoln Highway E-bike Tour – Segment 02 – Pittsburgh – Fort Wayne
Lincoln Highway E-bike Tour – Segment 03 – Fort Wayne – Clinton
Lincoln Highway E-bike Tour – Segment 04 – Clinton – Avoca Near Denison
Lincoln Highway E-bike Tour – Segment 05 – Avoca – Gothenburg
Lincoln Highway E-bike Tour – Segment 06 – Gothenburg – Laramie
Lincoln Highway E-bike Tour – Segment 07 – Laramie – Salt Lake City
Lincoln Highway E-bike Tour – Segment 08 – Salt Lake City – Ely
Lincoln Highway E-bike Tour – Segment 09 – Ely – Carson City
Lincoln Highway E-bike Tour – Segment 10 – Carson City – San Francisco

Pros and Cons of this Segment

The C&O and Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trails are well established and popular with through-bikers and day visitors

Pros

  • The C&O and GAP are well-documented 
  • Plenty of campgrounds, B&Bs and other accommodation is available along the route in this segment
  • Follows the national cycling route #50
  • No wildlife safety precautions are necessary
  • Easy connections with AMTRAK in Pittsburgh and Washington DC

Cons

  • Gravel roads between and Cumberland are poorly maintained 
  • Pawpaw Tunnel is dark and has an unpleasant uneven path
  • No electricity in NPS campsites along C&O Canal
  • Water is treated with iodine in NPS campsites along the C&O Canal. It is safe, but the taste is unpleasant

Conclusion:

This first segment of the Lincoln Highway E-bike Tour is a great testing ground for going cross country. If you enjoy this route, you may enjoy the rest of the trip. If it is too difficult, train some more or enjoy shorter rides. You only have nine more segments and 3,101 miles to go from Pittsburgh to San Francisco. You can do it!

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