- March 8, 2019
Weather Along the GAP
Although Golden Triangle Bike offers great weather guarantee (just kidding), we still find it necessary to talk a as much as possible about the elephant in the room when it comes to bike trips: WEATHER!!! We have been in business long enough to see that the weather patterns have shifted since our humble beginnings. We get more rain, hotter days, shorter seasons, unpredictability, more remnants from hurricanes, early season snow, and everything in between. We want your expectations to meet reality, so we are going to lay it on the line and talk about the best and worst of the weather along the trail. Let’s break it down by season
Off season: December through at least Mid-March
Don’t ride the trail! You may be able to squeak out a ride at the beginning or end of this season, but its not likely. Constant freezing, thawing, snow, rain, and not much sun make the surface slow and alot like quick sand. It is not for the faint of heart….even on a fat bike. Go ride in the south at this time of the year.
Early Season: Mid-March Through the first week (or two) of May
Well, to put it bluntly, the temperature could be 70 degrees or it could be 30 degrees. Usually, the surface on the GAP portion of the trail is good to go by mid April. The Towpath can still be messy until it sees some heat and sun to dry it out. Of course, all of this depends on how harsh of a winter we have had leading up to the season. This time of the year can present a few surface and weather related challenges, but can be the most rewarding on the adventure spectrum.
First ⅓ of Peak Season: Mid-May through June
The trail surfaces have firmed. Temperatures are pleasant to hot. The threat of rain is always present. Some years we have the best conditions during this time period. Temperatures in the 70-80 degree range, sun, bursts of spring rain that bring out the flowers and vegetation. In my humble opinion the forests of the Laurel Highlands are at their peak during this time frame. The lush forest is bursting with life!
However, the 2018 season saw unprecedented rains during this time frame. Our riders were troopers and rode through bottom bracket deep water at times. But very few gave up and didn’t forge ahead.
Second ⅓ of Peak Season: July and August
At this time of the year you are less likely to get rain that hovers over the area and last for days. However, you will be riding during the warmest part of the season. Temperatures in Pittsburgh usually hover between 75-85. The Laurel Highlands are 5-10 degrees cooler. Cumberland to DC (185 miles) can be 80-90+ degrees with high humidity. If you don’t mind the heat and humidity, this is a GREAT time of the year to ride. The surface is at its best. There crowds are low and you will have your choice of where to stay, eat, and hang out. We LOVE this time of the year.
Final 1/3 of Peak Season: September through October
Ahhh! High pressure and lower humidity move in, the summer heat fades, and we see some blue skies. Interesting fact: Pittsburgh sees about half the number of cloudless days as Seattle. But, if you are going to see blue skies in this part of the country, this is usually the time period. Everyone is trying to time their ride with the fall foliage. The peak is usually around the middle of October with fall colors starting to show around the last week of September. This is what most would consider prime bike riding weather!
The biggest concern at this time of the year are the remnants from hurricanes. We had two major rain events in the fall of 2018 that were the result of hurricanes. Constant rain that lasted for most of the week….. Our customers were troopers and very few abandoned their ride.
The vast majority of our customers have a great trip without weather related incidents. However, we definitely make it a point to encourage our customers to consider travel insurance as the weather becomes more unpredictable. Check out our terms and conditions and let us know if you have any questions