Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bike Support Team to D.C. Endures Rigors of Elegance

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bike Support Team to D.C. Endures Rigors of Elegance

Article excerpt

Have you been thinking about doing that bike trail to Washington, D.C., but find the idea of riding 335 miles daunting?

My wife and I discovered it isn't that bad when you do it by car. Not the trail itself, of course. Too many cyclists clogging the way.

We were backup for my daughter Jane and her husband Dien, who came from Boston for the big challenge last month. They asked if we'd drive along with their gear and meet them each night at a bed- and-breakfast.

Why not? It was an opportunity to hang out with them for a week and get in some miles here and there with our bikes. As a bonus, we got to see America off the beaten path, so to speak. (You should see Paw Paw, W.Va., at rush hour.) And the natural beauty, encounters with history and the B&Bs were memorable.

Our first stop was Meyersdale, Somerset County, and the Levi Deal Mansion, named for the coal and timber baron who had it built in 1900. After near demolition, the turreted, 15-room grand dame was magnificently restored as a B&B with high-quality amenities. Its third-floor ballroom was transformed into the owners' spacious apartment, a dazzling model of one-level living with wonderful views in every direction.

Before driving off the next day, we biked across the nearby Salisbury Viaduct, an old railroad bridge 101 feet high. (Yes, there are sturdy railings.) Stretching a third of a mile over the Casselman River valley, the viaduct offers a glorious panorama of the farmland below and the gigantic wind turbines in the distance.

Cumberland, Md., was a surprise, with its dramatic hills. We met Jane and Dien at the must-stop Queen City Creamery, which offers sample ice cream cones with lunch, bless it. We then settled in at the Bruce House Inn (1840), perched on a steep hill with expansive views.

We walked the cobblestone streets before dinner, taking in other handsome examples of Victorian architecture, and hung out on the inn's front steps while engaging friendly locals walking their dogs on a gorgeous summer evening.

At our next stop, Paw Paw, the cyclists had to endure a killer half-mile-long tunnel with no lights (what? …

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