It began with an idea to do something crazy! I wanted to load up a bike and pedal! I'd been section hiking on the AT over 123 miles with a friend and knew the feeling of a loaded pack on my back, my shoulders were saying let's try something different. Besides, for an adventure to reach the proportions of crazy, it would have to be of a length that might prove difficult to get anyone to join me. So safety was paramount for my foray into the realms of bikepacking.
My first thought was to do the East Coast Greenway trail which extended from Maine to Key West. That's perfect for the crazy category! The challenge became the expense of being on a trail that didn't offer camping spots, the ECG goes through major cities like NYC and Philadelphia. I'm not exactly a proponent of stealth camping, camping solo was going to be a new experience no need to add the element of a covert operation to the mix.
A post by REI on Facebook, of all places, sparked the idea of biking from DC to Pittsburgh on the C&O Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage trails. It was perfect!
- Ease of camping or b&b/hotel lodging
- Popularity of the trail (figured if I had to do some days alone, there would at least be others on the trail)
- Relatively close to family in case of an emergency (Something about the possibility of a helicopter rescue didn't sound appealing for my first bikepacking trip)
- Not on the road with cars to knock me about
- Good distance to qualify as crazy
It was decided, DC to Pittsburgh was the goal! I partnered with a local non-profit trying to make a difference in the world water crisis to raise funds for a water project in India. Through this biking effort funds were raised to help Humankind change the water situation in a community in India.
Whether biking, hiking, running, or just about any activity, water is vital. I can't imagine not having access to clean drinking water. When I can go to the tap and trust the source, it's hard to fathom having to walk miles for access to water, and dirty water at that. Bringing awareness to the water crisis just seems to be a natural fit with any kind of physical activity.