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Basic Itinerary*

Tuesday, July 19 (Start of the six-day ride)
Ebensburg to Johnstown and Staple Bend Tunnel: 40 or 50 miles depending on trail-building progress this spring; includes 60-percent on-road riding. Riders arrive Monday night or Tuesday morning for check-in.

Wednesday, July 20 (Start of the five-day ride)
Starting in Ebensburg, C&I Trail Loop back to Ebensburg: 30 miles. Six miles are on-road, and eight miles of the trail route are rougher—not ballast, but more like hard-packed earth. Riders arrive Tuesday night for check-in.

Thursday, July 21
Ebensburg to Saltsburg: 53 miles, including 33 on the Ghost Town Trail and 12-mile West Penn Trail. Stay overnight at the Kiski School.

Friday, July 22
Saltsburg Trails OR River Option.
Trails: Bicycle 30 miles total, including 15 on the Roaring Run and Westmoreland Heritage rail-trails, and 15 miles of road riding with hills.
Water: A 6- or 10-mile canoe or kayak float. Stay overnight again at the Kiski School.

Saturday, July 23
Saltsburg to Indiana:
31 miles to Indiana via the West Penn and Hoodlebug trails. Camp in Indiana and attend a special reception at the Jimmy Stewart Museum.

Sunday, July 24
Indiana to Ebensburg:
43 miles of smooth riding on the Hoodlebug and Ghost Town trails.

*Exact campsites or routes could change subject to road construction or unforeseen circumstances.

 

Greenway Sojourn 2011
Details

What is the Sojourn?

Part bicycle ride, part trail-building program, the Sojourn celebrates newly opened trails and promotes the completion of others to create regional trail systems. The Sojourn is like no other bicycle ride in the country. Those who take part in this adventure not only enjoy the rail-trails, but they actually help by showing up and impressing local decision-makers who may not fully appreciate the resource they have. By the end of the ride, through tours and lectures led by national, regional and local trail builders, you'll gain a much better appreciation of how trails are developed.

Supporting the Sojourn today means becoming a part of tomorrow's trail legacy. When a region is designated for the Sojourn, RTC works directly to help complete linkages, promote the economic and health benefits of these trails in the media, and give energy to existing trail-building efforts to further develop the trail system after the Sojourn has ended. In fact, at this time RTC is providing technical assistance and funding to complete critical links along the route of this year's Sojourn.


Route

This year, we are featuring two ride lengths, both of which start and end in Ebensburg, Pa.:

Five-Day Option
Starts Wednesday, July 20 — Sunday, July 24
Check-in Tuesday night, July 19

Six-Day Option
Features an extra day with more road riding.
Starts Tuesday, July 19 — Sunday, July 24
Check-in Monday night, July 18

Almost 80 percent of the five-day, 200-mile Sojourn is on rail-trails. These pathways are typically well-constructed, well-packed, crushed-stone surfaces that do not require a mountain bike. One 10-mile trail is asphalt and another is eight miles of unfinished trail—not ballast, but a mixture of hard-packed dirt and some gravel. Where trails are not yet complete, we won't be doing any bike shuttling, but will use rural roads, some of which will be hilly. After all, this is central Pennsylvania! Cue sheets will be given out at dinner each evening. In the coming weeks, we'll send out a Google Earth route map with elevation and surface types for the trails.

The six-day option to historical Johnstown and through the Staple Bend Tunnel—the first railroad tunnel in America—includes a 50-mile ride, 20 of which will be on trails, and the rest on roads with some tough hills. This extra day is geared for stronger riders and may not be appropriate for young kids or Sojourners using recumbents and trailers.

On day three or four (depending on the ride option you choose), you can opt for a six- or 10-mile water trip by canoe/kayak. If water levels are appropriate, the Conemaugh Dam will release water to ensure a fun (but not whitewater) trip. The bicycle ride that day is the most difficult of the five-day Sojourn, so this water option is an opportunity to save your legs and experience the greenways from a different vantage point. And when you come back, you can explore the rail-trail that links to camp. Riders will also have the option to experience the six-mile float later on that day.


Registration

Registration is online this year and limited to 300 riders. Our fee covers all meals, entertainment and a river float. The Sojourn almost always sells out, so don't delay!

Sign-up
Five-day option, adult: $600
Five-day option, under 18: $450
Six-day option, adult: $675

 

Cancellations

All cancellation requests must be in writing and postmarked no later than June 1, 2011. All cancellations are subject to a $50 processing fee. Only medical cancellations—with a 50-percent refund—will be accepted after June 1. A request for a medical refund must be in writing, accompanied by a physician's note.


Preparing Your Bike

A hybrid is recommended. We will be riding on hard-packed, crushed-stone trails and some road surfaces. On one day you will have the option of riding a trail that includes a rough six-mile segment, but it doesn't necessitate a mountain bike. Have your bike serviced by a professional bike mechanic before you come to the event, and discuss and remedy any bike-fit problems, like an uncomfortable saddle, early while training.

If you wish to rent a bicycle for the Sojourn, call Pocono Whitewater at 800.944.8392 and ask for Chrissy in reservations. The cost for the Trail Bike, which includes seat suspension as well as front fork, is $95.00 for the duration. To make your reservation, you'll need to provide inseam length, and all rental arrangements will be made through Pocono Whitewater.


Meals

We supply 17 meals (15 for the five-day ride, with two additional for the six-day option). And we aren't serving your usual high school cafeteria fare. We make a major effort to bring you wholesome, fun, local, delicious food at a very economical price, including our vegetarian menu. Our caterer, Gala Gourmet, will serve most of these meals, but you will have a chance in the town of Indiana to sample local restaurants for dinner.


Baggage & Bike Transport

Baggage will be transported from one overnight stop to the next via truck. Riders only need to carry personal items during each day's ride. See below for a list of recommended items to bring.


Tent & Towel Rentals

Tent and towel rentals are available from Comfy Campers. Also available are chairs, mattresses, early morning coffee and other comforts and amenities. All arrangements must be made through the Comfy Campers website, which is separate from your event registration with us. Rentals are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Small and large tents are available. Taking advantage of these rentals is a convenient way to cut down on luggage and relax in camp soon after arrival. Also, a shower truck with individual locking shower stalls and pullout sinks will be at each campground.


Training

There's no substitute for adequate training, and this tour is designed for riders in good physical condition. Cyclists on the five-day Sojourn will average 40 miles a day, with one day reaching 53 miles. Riders are expected to be capable of reaching destinations under their own power. Spring and early summer are a great time to get out there and hit the trails or ride the roads so that you can cycle strongly and enjoy the Sojourn. 

The longest day of the Sojourn is 53 miles, so that should be your goal. Below is a training schedule to get you started, and remember to include some hills in your training! Working in even a few incline rides will greatly boost your stamina.

June
  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Week 1 ride 15 miles ride 15 miles ride 15 miles ride 30 miles
Week 2 ride 15 miles ride 15 miles ride 15 miles ride 30 miles
Week 3 ride 15 miles ride 15 miles ride 15 miles ride 35 miles
Week 4 ride 20 miles ride 20 miles ride 20 miles ride 40 miles
July
  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Week 1 ride 25 miles ride 25 miles ride 25 miles ride 45 miles
Week 2 ride 30 miles ride 30 miles ride 30 miles ride 53 miles
– you win!

 

What to Bring

An ANSI- or Snell-approved helmet must be worn by all riders. Hybrid bikes and tires with some tread are recommended because of the crushed-stone trail surfaces. Bicycles must be in good working order. Have your bike serviced by a professional mechanic before you come to the event, and discuss and remedy any bike-fit problems, like an uncomfortable saddle, early on in your preparation and training. Unless you have made arrangements with Comfy Campers, all Sojourners must bring their own camping equipment to accommodate sleeping in any weather.

Participants are limited to two bags, weighing no more than 40 pounds, total. We strongly recommend durable duffel bags. Plastic bags or corrugated boxes will not be permitted. At registration you will receive identification tags to attach to your body, bags and bicycle. Particpants are responsible for loading their own luggage into the truck. RTC is not responsible for loss of or damage to baggage.

Expect that your luggage will get wet at some point on the Sojourn. We ride rain or shine unless there is lightning, and there is often some lag time between when bags are unloaded from the luggage truck and you get them stowed in your tent. Dew or rain-soaked tents, which are compressed by other baggage, will leak onto unprotected gear. The solution: Pack in plastic every item you want to keep dry inside the duffel bag. You'll be glad you did!

If it rains overnight, you will also appreciate having a lightweight plastic tarp with you to cover your bike and any luggage that doesn't fit inside your tent.

Use the following checklist to ensure you have the necessary items on your tour. Remember, the total weight limit is 40 pounds. In addition, please leave lawn chairs, trunks, mattresses, coolers, cots, flammable fuels, stoves and extra bikes at home. (If you want a chair, reserve one with Comfy Campers.)

Choose the proper clothing for a summer event. Cycling-specific shorts with synthetic chamois padding help prevent saddle-induced irritation. Bring at least two pairs—one to wear, one to launder. Lightweight shirts made from moisture-wicking fabrics will keep you drier than cotton.

Equipment Checklist
  ANSI/Snell-approved helmet   Handlebar or seat bag
  Frame-mounted bicycle pump   Spare tire, tubes, tools
  Two large water bottles or
equivalent water bladder such
as CamelBak
  Flashlight with fresh batteries
(consider bringing a headlamp that
can double as a light for your bicycle)
  Lightweight sleeping bag   Pillow (inflatable)
  Tent and ground cover   Cycling/paddling gloves
  Sleeping pad   Bike lock
  Rain gear   Rain gear
  Riding clothes (breathable) and shoes   Plastic tarp to cover bike and luggage
  Swimsuit/rafting clothes and shoes   Camp clothes and shoes
  Medication/aspirin   First aid kit
  Insect repellent and sunscreen   Underwear
  Sunglasses and hat   Washcloth or sponge
  Bath towel (or sign up for towel rental)   Medical insurance card (carry always)
  Identification (carry always)    

 

Overnight Stops

A shower truck with individual locking shower stalls and pullout sinks will be at each campground. Participants will camp in tents they supply themselves, unless they have secured the services of Comfy Campers. If you would like to make other arrangements for lodging, you are free to do so, but we can not transport you to hotels or motels. In camp, we will have music and speakers highlighting the area's history.


More Information

Check back here throughout the spring for new details about the ride. We will also send you periodic e-mails with updates, including parking and arrival information in Ebensburg, Pa. For other Sojourn inquiries, contact Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Northeast Regional Office at sojourn@railstotrails.org or call 717.238.1717.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037
+1-202-331-9696