Frequently Asked Questions
The following are commonly asked questions. If you have any questions that do not appear on this list, feel free to email email@example.com, and we'll make sure that this list gets updated. If you are ready to go and experience some of the most beautiful parts of our country, go register today.
Get Out & Go Tours provides fully-supported bicycle tours, that we refer to as "active tours for active people." We specialize in offering off-road tours on rail-trails and canal towpaths. Headlining our tours are those on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park (C&O Canal) Towpath, and the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), which we have offered for more than 14 years. When you ride with us, you feel the enthusiasm we have for these trails, the concern we have for people, and the energy we have for ensuring this experience is the best tour experience you've ever had.
From great fitness, to great sights, riding a bike is an exhilarating way to see the scenery. Riding a tour with Get Out & Go Tours will give you an opportunity to ride through extensive colonial-to-industrial revolution history, including key civil war sights, and to experience vast scenic beauty. Cycling between Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA creates a small-town vacation experience anchored by two key, major cities, with cultural, dining, and tourism opportunities of their own. Washington, DC, as the Nation's Capital, is the perfect place to end a tour and spend a few days sightseeing.
The key to an enjoyable bicycle tour is to TRAIN BEFORE THE TOUR. All Get Out & Go tours are active tours designed for active people. Tours are designed so INTERMEDIATE CYCLISTS will enjoy the tours, while ADVANCED CYCLISTS will have adequate time to explore around the trail.
Cyclists should build mileage and saddle time, completing two 30 mile back-to-back days prior to the tour, and ride 10 miles per day for a week, prior to the tour. Because it is a gravel/dirt trail, experience in the saddle before attempting the tour is key to personal physical comfort. Tour leaders will provide information, maintenance support, and assistance with cycling or lodging related issues. Any active person should be able to complete the tour with proper preparation. There is no age limit, however, discretion should be used to ensure participants are capable of riding 30-60 miles in one day. During the fall, daylight hours are reduced.
There is space in the support vans to carry cyclists who opt not to ride segments, but space is limited. Tour support will be able to advise the best sections to shuttle around and to ride, for those desiring shorter daily mileage.
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Typical tours include men and women, singles and couples, with most between their mid-30's and mid-60's. The youngest person to ride on a tour is 12, and the most senior, 76 (so far). Riding experience, skill, and fitness levels vary as well. Participants ride at their own pace throughout the day, taking breaks at pre-determined "rest go's" and at scenic spots. A typical day on the trail will be from 8 a.m. to somewhere between 3 and 5 p.m., with some exceptions. We generally advise that participants be able to sustain a riding speed of 10 miles per hour on their usual rides to be ready for an off-road tour, and be able to ride two 30 mile back-to-back days, prior to their scheduled tour. Faster cyclists will find that they have ample time for exploring and sightseeing around the trail.
Trip may be run by MOUNTAIN, HYBRID, or CYCLO-CROSS BICYCLE ONLY. The canal towpath surface is not favorable for road bikes. The towpath is crushed rock in the early miles giving way to more of a dirt path in the central section, and returning to crushed rock for the conclusion. The path is ribbed with tree roots and rough surface in a few places.
You may BRING YOUR OWN BIKE OR USE A RENTAL. Most local participants bring their own bike, while most who fly in use rentals. For tours that start riding from the start location, you are responsible for getting your bike to the starting location. We will return it with you, from the distant end. For tours that start with a shuttle, your bike will be shuttled to the distant end with you.
BICYCLE RENTALS are available in a limited number. Get Out & Go Tours will provide delivery to the starting location and return from the end location for rental bikes. Rentals will usually be Trek Verve 3 hybrid bicycles, with a few Trek 4500D Mt. bikes and a few Trek Boone 7 cyclocross bikes and tandems are available in limited sizes. The cost for a hybrid rental bike is $25 per day, or $100 for a week (tandem additional). See our rentals page for more information about reserving a rental bike. We also rent bikes for use in the Washington metropolitan area while you are in town on business and want to see the sights in an active way, or for your own through trek on the C&O Canal and Great Allegheny Passage.
HELMETS ARE REQUIRED EQUIPMENT. Not only do they protect from serious injury in case of an accident in this remote area, they also protect from low branches overhead, and just plain make sense. If you are using a rental bike and wish to have a helmet provided, please advise head size at time of rental confirmation, and we will advise if we can accommodate the request.
See our "useful links"; page for air and ground transportation contacts and notes. We do not provide airport-to-start transportation, however, when traveling by air, note that the Reagan National Airport is near the start location, and a trail from the airport connects with the tour starting location. Some airlines, such as Southwest, allow one-way travel to one of the endpoints, and from the other (for a small additional fee), saving you the ground shuttle time.
Maybe. Because of the mileage and surface of the trails, it is important to consider carefully the age and strength of children, when planning to bring them on a Get Out & Go Tour. Children who accompany an adult on a tandem, for example, will fare better than riding a single bike. If you have questions about the ability of your children to complete the tour, please contact us and discuss the matter with us.
TERRAIN: Level. Packed dirt and crushed stone surface. 6-8 feet wide. The section between Cumberland and the Eastern Continental Divide is a railroad grade incline, but it is still a gradual and easy ride. It looks large on the profile map, however, stretched out to a longer scale, it is obvious that the rest of the trail is very flat, and the climb is not steep. Tours are conducted mostly off-road, with no traffic to contend with. There are occasional segments that are on-road, where detours are required. The surface varies between the C&O Canal and the GAP trails, with the GAP being a smooth, hard packed, crushed limestone surface, and the C&O being a bumpier, more rustic and original trail surface. Most tours we offer on rail-trails will have surfaces like the C&O Canal towpath
The terrain is not difficult in either direction, although looking at the profile elevation map, you might think so. The trail between Washington, DC and Cumberland, MD is nearly flat, changing only 610' in elevation over 184.5 miles. This elevation change occurs at each lift lock, which raised or lowered a canal boat an average of 8' per lock. From Cumberland to Deal (at the top elevation), the trail rises about 1,800' in 23 miles, with a maximum grade of 2%. From Pittsburgh to Deal, the trail rises about 1,400' in 130 miles, with a maximum grade of 1%.
When looking at this profile elevation map, keep in mind that the change in elevation looks steep, because the elevation change is comparatively large, when compared with the nearly flat C&O Canal Towpath that comprises most of the distance. Heading east out of Pittsburgh, the rise occurs in 125 miles and the descent into Cumberland, over 23 miles (with another 610' lost over the last 184 miles to Washington, DC). Heading west out of Cumberland, the rise occurs in 23 miles (after rising just 610' over the first 184 miles out of Washington), and the descent occurs over 125 miles into Pittsburgh. Neither direction is ever considered steep, with the maximum grade being 2% east of the eastern continental divide, and 1% west of the eastern continental divide.
The most challenging riding is on the C&O Canal Towpath, as it is a rougher surface than the Great Allegheny Passage trail, with the GAP having a smoother, packed surface, and the C&O Canal being more natural and bumpy. It is because of the C&O Canal Towpath surface that we recommend that you have sufficient saddle time in before making the trip. Riding the C&O Canal is similar to riding on a gravel road.
Other trails we tour (Virginia Creeper, New River, Greenbriar River, North Bend, etc.) have similar grades.
Trips will be run RAIN or SHINE. Mt. Bikes are ideally suited for inclement weather with fat tires and good traction. Please come prepared for the weather. A full day of riding in rain can still be enjoyable, if you have the proper equipment. During the Spring, or on the GAP trail, the sun can be intense, and sunscreen is recommended. Again, shuttle space will be insufficient for transporting a large number of participants simultaneously. While we reserve the right to cancel or re-route tours for weather conditions beyond our control that cause the park to be closed, we have never cancelled a tour due to weather or park closures in 27 years of running them (though we came real close during the government furlough in 2013). If for some unlikely reason we must cancel the trip, you will receive a full refund.
HOTEL accommodations are provided for all tours. Accommodations are requested to be non-smoking, as our trips are designed to provide a non-smoking environment for participants. Rooms include two double beds and will be filled as double-occupancy. Participants have the option to room together, up to four persons per room. As a trip that runs through small towns and remote areas, the hotels are of the class and style The tour is not priced for single room utilization, and requests for single room accommodations may not be possible, or may require a significant premium. Please inquire before registering, if you require a single room. EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS will be provided with trip confirmation.
Meals vary with the type of town we are in, the interest of the group, and other factors. Breakfasts are generally continental style, with the morning snack stop(s) focusing on breakfast type foods and cycling foods such as bananas and juices. Lunch is picnic style, and includes cold-cut and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, variety of vegetables, fruits, chips, cookies and trail-type snacks. Afternoon snack stops typically include weather appropriate snacks, including cold fruits, nuts, granola bars, and other high-energy snacks. Dinners range from full set-dinner, to buffet style, with daily variety in the focus. Some meals are at a restaurant, and others are catered, depending on the town and its offerings.
We have succeeded in supporting vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and other special needs.
The group typically eats breakfast between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., and departs for the trail at 8 a.m. Snack stops are typically provided every 12-20 miles, depending on the segment, the terrain, and the time it takes to ride through an area. Lunch will be at a pre-designated daily location, and will typically be between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Depending on group size, density, and interest, lunch location and time may be flexibly located to meet the interests of the group. Afternoons may include an extra snack stop, and shuttle opportunity, and participants typically come off the trail between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Dinner is generally scheduled to start between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., and with socialization of participants, may carry on for a few hours, after which people retire for the night.
Maps, cue booklet, trail cue card, luggage shuttle, trailside support, snack stops, lodging, most meals (the rare excluded meals are identified on tour pages), sag/shuttle support, chartered advance or return transportation, guide information, mechanical support, and more.
GROUP EQUIPMENT for the trip is provided (coolers, bike tools, chairs, etc.). You must PROVIDE YOUR OWN personal gear. Gear, up to a medium size (about 4000 cu. in.) duffel bag, will be shuttled to the hotels and back to the start by the shuttle vehicles. Please keep personal gear to the minimum needed for the length of your tour (but do not spare cold weather clothing or rain gear for spring or fall tours).
Participants should bring spending money for the occasional excluded meal, optional trips, such as whitewater rafting, visits to Falling Water, Kentuck Knob, or other side tours, and for any off-trail purchases or trip souvenirs. Tours are designed to be all-inclusive, with exceptions occurring only when it is advantageous to the client. For example, Cumberland has much dining variety and instead of a group dinner, participants may wish for varying experiences, such as patio dining, or different meal classes.
Tips are optional and at your discretion. For the support staff that works hard, they are appreciated, and often help pay significant living and self-improvement expenses (like rent and college tuition). They are never squandered.
A $100 DEPOSIT is required to sign up for any multi-day tour. Trip balance is due 30 days prior to the start of your tour. Cancellation more than 30 days prior to your tour forfeits deposit. Cancellation within 30 days of trip forfeits 1/2 of trip cost. Cancellation within 14 days of trip forfeits full payment. All trips are filled in the order of receipt of deposits, followed by an ordered waiting list. *Registration within 30 days of a multi-day tour, or late payment of balance due costs $25 extra.
Download the waiver and registration information. If you can not get it from the web site, you may obtain a copy by contacting Get Out & Go Tours, LLC Tour Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or 571-572-BIKE (2453) (phone). Upon receipt of deposit and waiver, a confirmation letter, rooming arrangements, emergency contact numbers, and directions to the starting point will be provided.
Mail deposit and signed waiver form, or balance due payment to: Get Out & Go Tours, LLC, 43160 Wintergrove Drive, Ashburn, VA 20147-4438. Directions to the starting location, tour lodging and parking information will be provided with trip confirmation, and cue materials will be provided about a month prior to the tour.
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