Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    63

    C&O Canal Towpath on a roadie?

    I'm moving back to Cumberland Maryland and I'm going to find myself on the canal towpath often. I currently ride a Spec Allez Elite with 23mm 4000gps.

    I stopped at the LBS store and got a few different stories. Cyclocross bike, dual sport bike, and just fatter tires.

    What's the best recommendation for this? I currently ride on Hed Belgium/c45/cc rays on a 25mm rim.

    The towpath is mostly packed dirt, and mud and very light gravel. Parts are paved. It's very eclectic as a whole.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    7,927
    Quote Originally Posted by gravitywell View Post
    I'm moving back to Cumberland Maryland and I'm going to find myself on the canal towpath often. I currently ride a Spec Allez Elite with 23mm 4000gps.

    I stopped at the LBS store and got a few different stories. Cyclocross bike, dual sport bike, and just fatter tires.

    What's the best recommendation for this? I currently ride on Hed Belgium/c45/cc rays on a 25mm rim.

    The towpath is mostly packed dirt, and mud and very light gravel. Parts are paved. It's very eclectic as a whole.
    doable on racing bike with 23mm tyres. At least that's what I ride dirt/gravel roads on. Another person refuse to go there with a similar setup. Slightly fatter tyres would not hurt for sure. But it really depends on the specific quality of the paths so it's probably better to try them in person.
    Blows your hair back.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    63

    Re: C&O Canal Towpath on a roadie?

    Growing up, we always used wal mart mountain bikes and I had an old Predator. From my Memorex banks, the majority of the area I will be living near, is dirt, some mud puddles/pits and a few washed out parts. Growing up we never went far, maybe 5 miles in either given direction.

  4. #4
    xxl
    xxl is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    16,247
    Quote Originally Posted by gravitywell View Post
    I'm moving back to Cumberland Maryland and I'm going to find myself on the canal towpath often. I currently ride a Spec Allez Elite with 23mm 4000gps.

    I stopped at the LBS store and got a few different stories. Cyclocross bike, dual sport bike, and just fatter tires.

    What's the best recommendation for this? I currently ride on Hed Belgium/c45/cc rays on a 25mm rim.

    The towpath is mostly packed dirt, and mud and very light gravel. Parts are paved. It's very eclectic as a whole.
    Can you get shots of the trail on Google Earth, maybe? I found this link, and it looks like it's entirely doable on a road bike with fatter tires: coTowpath : Chesapeake and Ohio Towpath

    I used to live in parts of Ohio where the roads weren't often paved, and we'd ride 'em with touring tires (28-32mm), no real problems. I wouldn't imagine, given the flat topography, you'd have a problem.

    Or is the answer you actually need is "Yeah, you really do need a new bike for this"?

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    63

    Re: C&O Canal Towpath on a roadie?

    As much as I would l love to add a cc bike, I can't afford one. Buying a fatter set if tires is doable, but if I can roll on my 23mm, that would be better.

  6. #6
    irony intended
    Reputation: carlislegeorge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    858
    i've lived in dc area for a long time and been on the C&O bunches, not much out by cumberland though. for that path, hybrid bike ideal but road bike fine if as stated above you at minimum put 28mm tires with some durability on your ride. bigger if your frame permits.
    2011 Tarmac Pro SL3 Project Black (gone but not forgotten)
    2012 Parlee Z5 SLi (because I can)

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    63

    Re: C&O Canal Towpath on a roadie?

    Do you, or anyone have recommendations for some 28mm? I'm definitely not opposed to swapping tires based on my intended purpose. Eventually, I'll seriously look into a cx bike, but for now, I don't mind getting practice.

  8. #8
    pmt
    pmt is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    819
    From what I've read in other forums, you want at least 38s at a minimum.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    549
    I havent ridden the towpath, but plan to do so. I now have a 2nd bike with 33C tires that I use for gravel rides. From what I have heard, you can get away with 28C, but 32C+ is better. Again, not have ridden it yet but speaking to people who have, the road varies from areas that are nice and smooth hard pack to areas that get rutted out and can be rough.

    Hed Belgium/c45/cc rays on a 25mm rim.

    This is a 19mm wide rim?

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    63

    Re: C&O Canal Towpath on a roadie?

    My apologies, 23mm rim. HED Belgium C2

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    549
    A 23mm rim stretches out the tire. I run GP 4000s 25mm on 23mm rims and they are almost 28mm. If you measure your tires, you will see they are more like 26mm now. How much room do you have left in the forks, chainstays?

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    93

    Re: C&O Canal Towpath on a roadie?

    Quote Originally Posted by pmt View Post
    From what I've read in other forums, you want at least 38s at a minimum.
    That's a bit excessive. It's fine on 32s. 28 is possible for a light & unloaded rider. Beyond that, it depends on the segment--some are pretty smooth, some you're running into some good size rocks and roots, and you'll flat or bend something if you hit with a really narrow tire.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    18,978
    Quote Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    Can you get shots of the trail on Google Earth, maybe? I found this link, and it looks like it's entirely doable on a road bike with fatter tires: coTowpath : Chesapeake and Ohio Towpath

    I used to live in parts of Ohio where the roads weren't often paved, and we'd ride 'em with touring tires (28-32mm), no real problems. I wouldn't imagine, given the flat topography, you'd have a problem.

    Or is the answer you actually need is "Yeah, you really do need a new bike for this"?
    The general feedback is that you would prefer wider tires if they will fit your frame. They won't cause you much penalty on the road if you buy good tires. Since you haven't told us your weight you have to factor that in - 23 mm might be fine for a 100 lb. rider and terrible for a 220 lb. rider. The other thing to consider is the weather. Parts of the path are pretty sticky in the wet.

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    63

    Re: C&O Canal Towpath on a roadie?

    I'm 185lbs, at the moment. I've lost a good bit of weight over the last year peddling and eating better. So far, I tend to be a fair weather rider. I've been caught in the rain a few times, but I won't specifically go out in it. That being said, the Cumberland end is all dirt, and shaded very well. Water and mud, tends to linger.

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    803
    I do a 30-40 mile ride on the C&O quite often. I use a CX bike with 32mm tires but I do see roadbikes from time to time. From what I have seen it would be fine in most situations from white's ferry to DC. You would have to watch out for mud and some thicker gravel in spots. the thicker gravel can be tricky for me if i'm going real fast. its a pretty nice ride with lots of nice views.
    Dogma 65.1 CAAD 10 Cervelo RS Felt CX F65X
    Epic Expert Flash Alloy 1 Boris Fatbike

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    82
    When I lived in Oxnard CA I would on occasion use Sycamore Canyon trails off the PCH in my route (you can come out in Thousand Oaks for a loop). I'd be on my road bike (Paramount OS) with 23s. Got some looks from the guys on dual-suspension MTBs but what the heck. I would say try it with whatever you're running and just see how it goes. For me the hard spot was getting through loose stuff esp. sand and getting out of my pedal when stuck without falling over was a trick too. Eventually I switched to using my commuter bike, which was a re-purposed Fuji Touring Series III. The triple (half step with granny) was a big help and I also bought a second set of wheels (27" on that thing) that I mounted some 1-3/8" knobbies (I guess that works out to around 35). I ran those at 60 psi and could get through anything. Downhill on a drop bar doesn't give such a good brake position and was kind of hard on my wrists.

    scott s.
    .

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Sea Otter Classic

Hot Deals

Contest


Latest RoadBike Articles


Latest Videos

RoadbikeReview on Facebook