Hot weather and regular chance of thunderstorms will not stop two local mothers and their sons from taking a unique trip to the Nation’s capital.
On Tuesday, Beth Beiter and her son Addison, 16, of Ellwood City, as well as Jen Slade and her son Logan, 13, of Portersville, embarked on a 330 mile bike trip to Washington DC via the GAP (Great Allegheny Passage) and C&O (Chesapeake & Ohio) trials.
“We’ll be biking 60 miles per day, with our shortest day going about 47 miles, and it will take us about a week,” said Beiter. “The trails are all flat with no steep hills, so it’s great for family biking.”
The foursome began their adventure near Homestead, Pa. on Tuesday and will be biking for about five days.
According to the GAP trial website, it says that when completed, the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage will connect with the 184.5-mile C&O Canal Towpath at Cumberland, Maryland to create a 334.5-mile traffic and motorized vehicle-free route between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.
Once the mothers and sons make it to Washington DC, they will meet up with their fathers who will drive to the capital. After site seeing and enjoying the city, they already decided 300 miles would be enough bike riding for one trip and ride home in a car.
Although they will have a ride back home, Beiter said many people bike the trial back home or take the Amtrak train. Either way, she said there are many options for bike riders.
Beiter is excited to have her son ride all the way to Washington DC, but is more excited about getting him interested in biking and Rails-to-Trails.
Rails-to-Trails is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., whose mission it is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people.
“You are essentially riding through America’s backyard,” said Beiter, who knows how pristine the trials are along the GAP and C&O. “It’s where old train tracks used to be, so you know they’re flat and they allow for easy riding.”
Since 1986, Rails-to-Trails has remained dedicated to the creation of a nationwide network of trails. Further, they are committed to enhancing the health of America’s environment, transportation, economy, neighborhoods, and people.
“We just love going on these bike trails, and would love to see some through Ellwood,” said Beiter.