My planning was off this weekend. Yesterday I was planning a road ride and ended up on the trail – without my mountain bike. Today I planned to ride near Altoona but it was, well, cold. I mean late-winter type cold, low 40s around 10:00 a.m. I did not bring cold weather riding gear.
|Road to left – Trail on right|
I drove through Portage to East Freedom, Pa, looking for new cycling roads and passed the first church my dad served as a pastor, in 1958. But it was still too cold to ride.
|Western Section Terminus|
I drove towards Virginia then stopped in Hancock, Maryland. Andrew and I had ridden here before, probably around 2001 or 2002, but I knew there was a rail trail – the Western Maryland Rail Trail.
|Looking down – Canal in foreground
Potomac River in background
The trail is built on the former right of way of the Western Maryland Railway. It is a paved 23 mile trail. If one starts in Hancock, as I did, you are basically in the middle of it.
It was a bit warmer in Hancock, mid 50s, but I still wore knee warmers and a jacket. I headed out a road which seemed to parallel the trail and followed it as long as it seemed reasonable. And once on the trail I found access to the road, or a different road, and rode it as well.
The trail, at least the western portion, is in pretty good shape. The asphalt is in very good condition and there are minimal roots working their way up. I had remembered the eastern section being older and more rooted. But there were a number of small twigs on the path though.
It was an out and back good for 25 miles. It wasn’t a high mileage day or any amount of climbing but was a good way to break up the ride back to Virginia.
|C&O Canal in Hancock|