Sharing My Recent Cycling/Camping Trip

Well I am finally getting around to posting about my recent trip. If you remember, I asked for recommendations on what to take in regards to flashlights (Link).

What I ended up taking (in regards to flashlights, of course there was much more! See the photo below) was my fake L2 with an Ultrafire 3-mode XM-L drop-in (disappointed in medium running 1.5A instead of the expected 1A), my Ultrafire Uf-H3 headlamp (my most used light - more on this below), my new 4AA XM-L headlamp, my Black & Decker flex 360 3AA light (due to the flood ability and long runtime in normal AA's, my Coleman 4AA pack-away lantern (modded with glass frosting spray - worked great, but hardly used it), and my 3AAA Rayovac Sportsman Extreme light (simple AAA light with low & high and good runtime - last trips favorite light). I also took (2) of the Int'l Outdoor ML-102 USB chargers with (1) King Kong INR26650 both for charging Li-ions and the USB out ability to recharge other devices (never needed this as we had access to electricity everywhere we stayed). I did carry a small supply of AA NiMh's and AA & AAA alkalines and my (6) 18650's. Here is a photo of everything I had to pack away (minus the two 20oz water bottles) to carry on my bike! I was overwhelmed, but got it all to fit!

Here is what my bike looked like fully loaded up:

Front view:

Rear view:

It wasn't that hard to ride with the weight (once you got it pretty well balanced), but it could throw you off balance if you made really quick maneuvers. I know I carried too much stuff, but am unsure what I could/would eliminate next time. I greatly decreased the size of some items from last year (i.e. sleeping bag, camp stove, gas cylinder for stove, amount of snack bars, etc . . .). I could drop a few flashlights and batteries. I had way more than needed and greatly over-estimated the amount of battery power I would need! I never changed the battery in the UF-H3 or the fake L2 and I had the UF-H3 on constantly from dark until we went to bed (+/- 11:00 to 11:30pm) each night.

The new leather saddle was MUCH MUCH better than last years padded seat. I didn't have enough time to fully break it in, but I'd say it was mostly broken in after the end of the trip. It started to get to the point where when I would sit on it, I would slide right into a "sweet spot" where it was fairly comfortable. I never experienced the butt pain I had last year, but my butt did get numb at times. The next day after the trip I felt no pain or numbness and was back to normal ready for another trip! The seat I bought can be found here. (I believe our own cehowardGS owns at least one - see link here.) Thanks BetweenRides & Cone for your help on this seat!

The trip itself went ok, but spirits were dampened by rain and the forecast of more rain (thankfully the forecast of a full day of rain was changed overnight to just spotty storms). For this years trip we were planning to ride The Great Allegheny Passage from Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh, PA suburbs (the trail is not quite finished yet, so you can only ride so far) and back which would total about 280 miles not counting any spurs (heading into town, side trails, etc. . .). My buddy Phil and I ended up changing our original plan from 6 days/5 nights to 5 days/4 night (we started Sunday instead of Saturday).

Starting from Cumberland, MD you have 22.5 miles uphill at a pretty good grade. You climb 1,787 feet in elevation in that 22.5 miles. It wasn't too bad at first, but after a couple miles it got old quick and was wearing us out (remember we're carrying a lot of weight too). We slowed down to 3.8MPH at the slowest. I couldn't ride any slower or else the bike would fall over. I think it took us about 5 hours to make the climb to the high point (compared to about 1.5 hours to go down on the return trip). There is a gorgeous scenic view from the top overlooking the valley, but we were there last year so it wasn't such a big deal this year.

Day 2 we ran into a small bear on the trail. He was just slowly moseying down the trail. We slowly followed from a distance to watch where he was going (we were on a curve and trying to keep him in view). He turned into a picnic area and checked out each picnic table (where I got some good zoomed in photos), returned to the trail, saw us, and dashed into the woods. Here is the best photo I got of him:

During the evening of Day 2 is when the rain came. We barely rolled into Connellsville, PA before it downpoured! We were at a small shopping center and decided to duck into a pizza/sub shop for dinner while waiting for the rain to pass or at least come up with a plan (stay at a motel? proceed to planned destination? choose another camping spot?). The forecast was for rain/storms all night and all the next day. The storm finally passed and it looked like we had about an hour to get somewhere before more rain came. We decided to run into an auto parts store, pickup a large 12' x 16' tarp and some rope. and head to the closest commercial campground (about 20 miles short of the more rustic campground we had planned to stay at). So we made it to the campground and rushed to get things setup. We ended up right on the bank (literally the top of the slope) of the Youghiogheny River where we mounted the one end of the tarp between two trees and draped it down to a picnic table. It was the most redneck looking camp setup I think I've ever done! It was functional though and kept us dry all night! Here are some photos:

Note: We didn't even see that "No Trespassing" sign hanging there when we setup camp.

Wednesday morning we awoke to a decent looking day. We checked the forecast and it was downgraded to scattered showers throughout the day. Our original plan had us starting 20 miles further up the trail, heading up to Pittsburgh, and returning back to that same campsite. We decided that we didn't want to chance continuing to Pittsburgh, getting into a rain delay, and not making it far enough back in order to get back to Cumberland by Thursday evening. We also knew we couldn't make it all the way to Pittsburgh due to falling short on day 2. So we decided to just head back but take it easy and enjoy the camping more. Therefore we only made it to mile marker 92 on the trail.

Not much to say about the rest of the trip. On Thursday (day 5) we had a very easy day. We only had to ride 20 miles! We camped at the same campsite we had used on the first night. This time we arrived at 2:00pm and relaxed. We planned a good dinner complete with adult beverages picked up from the local tavern and a nice large campfire. Oh, I can't forget to mention that that last night was AWFUL! It got down to 40 degrees for a low (who plans on 40 degree weather in June in this area???) and Phil and I ended up sleeping out next to the campfire and feeding it logs all night! It was miserable! Added to the fact that you are sleeping across river from a very active train line and since you're at a populated town you hear the trains horns all night! (BTW - earplugs did nothing for the train noises!)

Here are a few photos with captions above:

Me getting ready to depart Cumberland, MD:

Riding up the 22.5 mile climb had its share of views:

Inside the Mt Savage tunnel (3,294 feet long and lit inside):

Typical trail conditions:

Typical camp setup (note: this was a commercial campground along the trail. The "rustic" camp sites do not have firewood provided.):

Using the UF-H3 headlamp as an area light for the campsite. I LOVED the way this worked out! It was a huge even flood of light. This photo is fairly accurate of the conditions. The light was dimmed down to the point where I still had plenty of light yet conserved some battery power.:

My fake L2 with Ultrafire 3 mode XM-L drop-in on high on the trail (my buddy said it looked like a train was coming down the trail):

The Rockwood Opera House (notice who's coming on the sign):

No Phil you can't sit on that bench! It's only for horseback riders!

And showing the wear on my new leather saddle (bought this one after PM'ing BetweenRides & Cone for suggestions):

It's tough to only pick a few photos to share. If anyone would like to view all of my photos from this trip, they can be found on my Google Picasa site. There are 139 photos total.

Thanks for looking!

Looks like a GREAT trip. Thanks for sharing.

Did you do anything special to mount the UF-H3?

I used mine in similar way last camping trip and was lucky enough to have a metal lantern pole to mount it to the whole time.

I took two bungee cords that held my packs on my bike and wrapped them around the nearby tree. I then took the UF-H3’s headband and fed it under the bungee and found pieces of the bark sticking out to situate the light at an angle which best positioned the light. Worked out well! I also had brought along some screw hooks to screw into trees, but I guess people frown upon such use (and I don’t know how I would have mounted the light to those anyway).


Cool trip and beautiful pics! I'm surprised you were able to fit all the stuff in the first pic on your bike.

Yeah, I don't know which was worse, last years or this years!

Last year's photo of what gets packed on the bike (sorry, everything is in the bags and not removed):


Oh, I forgot to list some of this years bike trip “quotes”! Most are ones that should not be used in the presence of innocent bystanders that don’t know the context of the situation.

Here are ones I remember:

“How’s my rear end look?”

“Are my sacks sagging?”

“Looks like your left sack is sagging.”

“Ouch! My a$$ hurts!” (Definitely not to be said while both of us were walking near other people.)

“Hi Uncle Wall!”

(I’ll think of others I’m sure.)



Looks like a great trip. :)

LMAO at the load on that poor bike! Do you know how much it all weighed (minus the bike)? looks like a nice trip. More photos in this thread please. I like-um.

Keith (who needs a bike with electric assist)

Hey Garry, thanks for sharing the photos of the trip. Sure sounds like you guys had a great time. And for what it’s worth, it was my pleasure to talk bikes with you and I’m glad I could help.

If you follow the last link to my Google Picasa page, the first few photos show what my large bags weighed. I figured I was carrying about 45 pounds of gear total. That bike can handle it! It’s handled all the abuse I’ve ever thrown at it effortlessly! Never a lick of trouble with it! It’s a “real” Schwinn - 1989 model.
I did forget to mention that we ran into an older lady that seemed to be riding an awful lot (i.e. we kept seeing her). We ended up at the same campground one night and her husband came over to chat with us. He told us she is65 and keeps a log on her computer for all her rides and that she is up to 98,500 miles!!! My buddy and I were blown away! She just looked like your average older lady (i.e. not decked out in professional cycling apparel) and her bike was nothing special at all.

Sounds like y'all had a great time .

45 lb up a hill! Nice old bike. That sure does look like a very pleasurable journey indeed. I am now curious how many years the dear ole lady has been riding. I”ll look at the pics later.


Wow it looks like it was a great trip, thanks for sharing.

Thanks for sharing!

i hope you guys didnt have probs with mosquitoes, midges or punkies. Or gnats. That's the worst i disliked about my camping trips. And i hope you got a chance to take a refreshing shower ;)

At this rate, you're going to need one of those bike cargo trailers to pull behind your bicycle -- loaded with all your gear and then some.

Bugs were not too bad this year. Yes, we were able to shower since we stayed at commercial campgrounds each night (originally not the plan). I also had some large wet wipes which are intended for "bathing". They actually worked out pretty well too. About those trailers, I hear that's worse than carrying it on the bike. Not sure I'd want to pull a trailer of gear uphill.


Gosh, i havent been camping in 3 yrs. i wanna pitch my tent!

That tunnel looks too cool. Is that for motor vehicles too?

No motor vehicles along the trail at all. Even horses are only allowed in certain short stretches. That tunnel was a big todo back when they renovated it for a few million dollars.


Really cool thread. Thank you for sharing your adventure. Enjoy and be safe.

Looks like fun. Something about being on a bike miles out in the country. Makes you feel great. I’ve never done an overnight on a bike. My rides have always been just day rides or less. Would love to try it sometime. It looks like you really had a good time.

Thanks for sharing the pics, it’s great to get out an do stuff like that. Recharges your batteries. I’ve done a lot of hiking trips but I would much rather ride than walk.