Bike the GAP offers bike rentals through our own fleet (Pittsburgh start only), and in partnership with rental outfitters who we know provide high-quality bikes and service.
The advantage to using a rental bike is that you can be assured of their suitability for the trail and their continued maintenance. We also welcome riders who choose to drive or ship their own bikes for the trip (see our tips below).
Our rental bike is the Fuji Traverse 1.5 which is well-suited to the GAP and C&O Towpath. The Traverse is a hybrid bike with upright, comfortable geometry; front shock; and disc brakes. All rental bikes come equipped with panniers, lock, helmet, DIY repair kit (multitool, spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, pump), light, and a bell.
|GAP/C&O 5-7 days||$200||$99*|
|GAP/C&O 8+ days||$220||$99*|
*Drop-off fee in DC can vary based on availability of secure drop location and shuttles.
Bike the GAP can now supply e-bike rentals for GAP and C&O trips (Pittsburgh start only). IZIP Peak and IZIP Path models are available for any tours covering 40-miles/day or less.
Either of the IZIP models are suitable for these trails and deliver smooth power thanks to their Shimano STePS (Path) or Bosch (Peak) pedal-assist motors. These bikes are ideal for riders who are unable to comfortably cover 30-40 miles in a day, unassisted.
The IZIP Path is a hybrid-style, trail bike with a step-through frame (smaller sizes) or slanted top-tube (medium/large models).
The IZIP Peak has a mountain bike frame with wide tires and front shock for an off-road experience.
The battery packs can be removed from each bike and will need to be recharged nightly at your lodging.
|GAP/C&O 9 days||$569|
|GAP/C&O 9+ days||$599|
*75% of an e-bike rental fee can be used as a credit towards a new 2017 e-bike purchase at Adam Solar Rides within 30 days*
The following are our bike recommendations for the best bike on towpaths. Each rider knows their own preferences and abilities best.
If you do prefer to ship your bike, let us know and we can try to connect you with a shop at the start of your trip to receive and rebuild the bike.
The best bike for rails to trails is a hybrid-style bikes and at least 28 mm-wide tires with minimal tread.
If the trail is packed and hasn’t seen moisture for a while, you can run thinner tires (down to 23 mm). Mountain bike-style tires, or wide (2 in+) tires with large knobby treads, are not necessary for this trail and will actually slow you down.
If the trail has been moist for an extended period of time, April and end of October/November, trail conditions can be soft and slow going. It will not, however, be as muddy as the C&O Towpath can become.
We recommend hybrid-style bikes and 32 mm-wide tires (or wider!) with some tread. If conditions are known to be muddy, don’t bring fenders; they only become clogged with mud.
Riders on road bikes with 23 mm or thinner tires will find conditions slow and bumpy. We discourage the use of road bikes and tires on the C&O. Parts of the towpath also tend to be muddy depending on the weather. Many parts of the towpath are similar to a dirt road, there is a mounded, grassy middle berm and sometimes ruts. Trikes and bikes with trailers which will have tires running along the middle of the trail can find this surface to be difficult.
Remember that if you are riding with loaded panniers, the added weight will affect your tire traction. If trail conditions are wet and you are running a loaded bike, a wider tire (or less inflated tire) is recommended so you don’t sink into the trail too much, making pedaling more difficult.
If you are bringing your own bike, it is strongly recommended that you do a thorough check over the bike before leaving for your trip. Bring at least two spare tubes and a patch kit; you’ll be able to purchase most tube sizes at bike shops along the trail, if more are needed. It is a really good idea to take a few last “test runs” on your bike before riding, just to make sure everything is dialed in.
We are happy to provide other bike recommendations specific to your trip, so give us a call with any questions!
If you can box and rebuild your bike on your own, and if you have good bike cases for shipping, BikeFlights or another shipping method can be much cheaper than renting a bike. If you need help boxing and rebuilding a shipped bike, we can direct you to bike shops along the trails which can assist you for a fee (usually $40-75/bikes).
More information about your options to ship bikes can be found in this helpful guide by Adventure Cycling Association.
“The arrangements and coordination were flawless. We could just relax and enjoy the trip!”
– Joe G