C&O Canal Uni Trip

The excitement has set in! I have only 3 more days till I begin my unicycle/camping journey on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal! I have been living in Harpers Ferry, WV (mile 61 on the canal) for 1-½ years now and I have wanted to make the 184 mile trip but because of my lack of vacation time, I have only been able to go on short stretches around my home. I now have a nice vacation (changing jobs and leaving yourself time between jobs is key!!!) and I figured there was no better way to spend it than riding my uni the whole time!

I will be starting in Georgetown, Washington D.C. and working my way up the Potomac River to Cumberland, MD. There are designated sites through out the canal for camping and most of these have water pumps for you to freshen up and fill your water bladders. There are also many small towns along or not too far from the canal should anything unexpected happen.

I am a little worried about how my bum will hold up, as my recent decision to change jobs did not leave me enough time to train for the amount of time that I will be spending on the seat. I do have previous long distance experience (I rode around Ireland on the uni in 2000) so I am hoping the knowledge of what to expect will help prepare me.

This will be my first uni trip with camping as I stayed in hostels while in Ireland, however I think my pack will weigh about the same for both trips. I also use a seat post luggage rack that sticks out the back of the uni. My tent, ground pad, and rain gear fit well on the rack and it does not get in the way of my legs while pedaling. It does however make it slightly harder to turn tight corners, but a little practice makes it easy to compensate for the extra weight.

As for my pack, I carry a 1500 square inch (I think) backpack with plenty of pockets for easy access for the important stuff. I carry a small tool kit with only the tools that can be used on my uni and assorted equipment. These include socket wrenches, alan wrench, crescent wrench, crank pull, tire pull, patch kit, extra tube, and pump. For water I use a 1.5 liter camel back and I have a 1 liter platypus bladder for back up (I carry this bladder empty in case the camel back breaks). I will also be carrying my sleeping bag (in the pack) and sleeping pad on top of the pack. Other supplies going in or on my pack will be a camera, film, batteries, C&O Canal Guide Book, journal, first aid kit, matches, flashlight, bike bell (there is a $40 fine if caught with out a bell on the canal), hat, sun tan lotion, bug spray, TP, tooth brush, soap, deodorant, and a few extra clothes. Food can be bought in the small towns along the canal so I will only bring a few snacks along with me. I will also be carrying a cell phone in case of emergency.

My travel uni is a 26” DMATU with a Clyde (tandem bicycle) rim. The tire is a VelociRaptor 26x2.1 MUni tire. I would normally use a slick or semi-slick tire for long distance however the clay on the canal toe-path gets slippery when wet. I have 6" cranks and I will be sitting atop in comfort (comfortable for a few miles anyways :wink: ) on a carbon fiber Miyata seat. I do have a Miyata air seat due in today but I don’t think the seat post will fit the DMATU. :frowning:

Should everything go well I expect the trip to take 5 or 6 days. As you can see I am not going for a speed record. In the past I have averaged about 6 miles per hour fully loaded and that will also leave me plenty of time to enjoy the sites and talk with fellow canal users. If anyone is interested, I’ll post again when I finish the canal and let you know how everything went!
Talk to you all later!

Oh yeah, this week’s best quote… (old man after seeing me jumping from a porch about 2 feet high) “That’s got to be tough on the do dads!” :smiley: