Preparation for Riding the GAP

Essential Action Items

Action Items In Preparation for Riding the GAP

  1. Are we camping or are we staying in hotels? For us: hotels
  2. Plan route - start and stop locations. In our case: Pittsburgh to Cumberland,MD
  3. Determine miles reached each day. We are shooting for about fifty miles a day.
  4. Decide on sites to see along the way. I bought a guide specific to the GAP trail.
  5. Make hotel or camp site reservations.
  6. Check List of items to bring. See below.
  7. Make arrangements for “one way” travel from the end point where cars are parked to beginning of route.
  8. Meet with other riders ahead of time to discuss all these items.

All the Right Gear at the Right Time

Proper Biking Gear for Three Days on the GAP For an enjoyable adventure it is important to insure that one has the essential gear for a three day bike ride. On the flip side lugging unnecessary gear for 150 miles over three days can contribute to a less than fun experience. Here are the essential items to bring along when on a bike ride, without weighing you down.

And remember: this gear list is for those stayig in hotels along the way. If you are camping each night, your essential packing list becomes a bit longer.

  • Obviously you need a bike. However which bike? Since this trail is 85% hard packed gravel I recommend a hybrid bike. My choice is the Trek FX2 Disc in red. I don’t except any endorsements for this recommendations. The FX2 series from Trek runs less than $800. Sometimes a little more or less depending on what features that Trek or the bike store has added to it. This bike is just one of many that will work for your trip. bike

  • Panniers - don’t skimp on them and make sure they are waterproof.


  • Sunglasses
  • Bike shorts
  • Rain Jacket
  • Cycling Gloves
  • Cycling Shoes For Clip-In or sneakers for Clip-less Pedals
  • Bike Helmet
  • First Aid Kit
  • Head light or bike light
  • Patch Kit and Tire Levers
  • Allen Wrenches
  • Pump / Mini-inflator
  • Waterbottles
  • Sun Protection
  • Energy Snacks and Electrolyte Drinks
  • Mobile Phone
  • Wallet (bring cash for buying snacks at stops along the way)
  • Lightweight change of clothing
  • Personal items: toilettres
  • Optional: Top Bag between Panniers


  • Optional: Route Map
  • Optional: Pocket Knife
  • Optional: Off Bike Clothing
  • Optional: Off Bike Sandals

  • Optional: Speed and Cadence sensors communicating to a bike computer or bike application.
    1. I have used both bike apps for your phone and bike computers. The two main features that most bikers are primarily interested in are:
      • How fast am I going?
      • How many miles have I traveled?
    2. The next two big features that riders seem to like in an app or computer are:
      • A map
      • Cadence
    3. On this trip I am using the CYCPLUS speed and cadence sensors that communicate via bluetooth to the Cadence app on my iPhone.
      • All of our phones are expensive these days so I am trying to maximize its usage.
      • I like the feature of adding cadence tracking. I have never paid attention to cadence before so it will be interesting to see if I am able to find it productive by using an app on the phone rather than buying another device that has to attach to the bike.
    4. On my street bike I use the CATEYE Patron bike computer ($55). It does not track cadence. It works well but I am interested in trying something new. They CYCPLUS sensors ($32) communicate to the free Cadence app (with some very annoying ads). I may break down and pay for “ad free” or try another app!
    5. The final thought on apps and computers. For me, it is all about “large readout” on the computer/phone so that I only have to quickly glance down and not take my eyes off the trail.

In all categories, go as light and compact as possible. There are bike stores at each end of the GAP and several along the way in towns to pick up any other essentials.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.

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