The Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal rail trails are great gems of our area. If this is your first time hearing about these trails, the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) goes from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD and the C&O Canal continues from Cumberland to Washington DC. The combination of 0 (read: zero) car traffic, low elevation change, cute trail towns, and free camping, and ample water sources makes this trail combo world renowned. People come from all over the globe (in normal times) to ride this route combination of nearly 333 miles. And since these trails are basically in our backyard, we've ridden them a lot.
So while the trails can be ridden on most wide-tired bikes, having a bike built up with the knowledge of what the trail entails and what the rider needs, means that the bike can disappear and one can simply enjoy being in the moment - surrounded by the beautiful scenery that the Mid-Atlantic has to offer.
That brings us to Shawn's Low Kicker Polyvalent build. He lives nearby to the trail and was ready to upgrade his current ride to a bike with dedicated front and rear racks, wider tires, upright position, fenders, and a timeless aesthetic. After a few conversations, we settled on a build list and went to work getting everything fitted. This is one ultra smooth and comfortable ride.
Let's talk cockpit. Trekking Bars are one of those love 'em or hate 'em sort of selections. Shawn liked them for their upright position and multiple hand positions. They're super popular in Europe for that reason, too!
Braking is handled by our favorites, the TRP Spyres, which we paired to our Grand Cru Brake Levers. The calipers have a piston on either side of the rotor, so it squeezes more consistently.
The wheels are our Rear and Front Disc Hubs laced to Voyager Rims. So while they are extremely shiny, they're also super tough as well as tubeless compatible. We opted for Ultradynamico 650bx48mm Cava tires. I really like these for all sorts of crushed limestone and roughly hewn trails.
These trails can get pretty messy after rains and when the snow starts melting, so a good set of full coverage fenders should be a must. He opted for the 650b Wavy Fenders (a personal favorite) and front and rear mudflaps.