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I'm going to do the Great Allegheny passage from Pittsburgh to Cumberland June 1-3. We're only doing 50 miles each day and just hanging out most of the evenings. This is my first time doing a multi-day endurance ride, but I'm just curious if any of you have done it before and if so, a couple questions.

1: We're arriving on a train Sunday night, and are planning on doing the first 43 miles at night until we get to our first campsite. Does anybody know if the Allegheny trail at the Pittsburgh entrance is closed at night or if it would be a problem?

2: Are the trails distant from civilization where we should pack a good amount of food, or should we be okay with energy snacks and stopping at grocery stores on the way?

3: Is the terrain pretty much groomed loose gravel?

4: I understand this question is probably for a different forum, but I have three bikes; 24lb hardtail 29er | 29lb full suspension 650b | 35lb rigid fat bike...

My friend is using my carbon 29er, since it's his first time doing this distance and I want it to be the best experience for him. As for me, which of the other two bikes do you think I should go with? The rigid fatbike or full suspension 650b? I'm weighing pros/cons of on-trail maintenance versus what is best for my endurance.

Thanks for reading and special thanks for any input!
 

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I can only speak to the first 75 miles or so from Pittsburgh as that's what I ride. I've never heard of the trail being closed at night, but I've also never ridden it at night. It can be tricky in some areas if you're not familiar with the trail since sections connect to roads that lead back to the trail. You should be fine with a good map and light though. Once out of Pittsburgh there are some towns along the way to get food/water. Confluence has plenty of stuff, but that's the furthest I've been so not sure what you'll hit past it. As for bike, I always ride my cross/touring bike. Definitely take a hardtail and throw on some slick tires if you have them. The trail is primarily crushed limestone.
 

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My brother and I rode the whole GAP/C&O Canal towpath a couple of years ago and enjoyed it a lot. You should have fun. We left from McKeesport because at that point the connectors to downtown were not open and we didn't feel like getting run over on the roads in the region. It was our first trip bike packing anywhere and my brother literally did not train at all beforehand except for one 33 mile rail trail ride and we still managed to finish without issue.

We stayed just outside of Connelsville our first night at a riverside campground, in Rockwood the second night at the campground just off the trail, and then at campsites next to the canal and at a lockhouse for the C&O part of the trip. The campground in Rockwood was awesome. When we were there they had cords and cords of wood pre split and stacked at each campsite.

I also have no idea if the trails are closed at night, but I could see having some difficulty navigating the routes in the McKeesport region as kmoses said earlier. There used to be a fair amount of jumping onto and off of different roads for the stretch of trail in that region.

I rode my Surly Crosscheck with 35cc tires and full coverage fenders with a rear rack for gear. My brother rode a Trek 4300 with semi slicks 45cc and a rack as well for gear. I found the GAP to be extremely well groomed and very rideable with this setup. You could probably ride much skinner tires without issue.

We carried camping gear and food/clothes and generally supplied our own food 2 meals a day and stopped to purchase food along the way for our other meals, generally at a restaurant. You shouldn't have a problem in the area you are traveling as long as you can carry some food for the distances you are riding each day, just stop and purchase food accordingly. The only really desolate section with minimal supply zones that I found was on the C&O just east of Cumberland. You are "out in the cut" then.
 
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