In order to celebrate the completion of my graduate degree last summer, I decided to blow off some steam and take off on a cross-Pennsylvania (and Maryland) ride with my friend Ben.

I started off in the rolling hills of Lancaster County, and made my way to Gettysburg, where Ben and I stayed with the makers of Jack’s Hard Cider. From Gettysburg, we hooked up with the C-O Canal in Williamsport, MD. We rode the C-O to where it meets the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), and it was nothing but trails the rest of the way to Pittsburgh.

If your Philly wheels and wanderlust ache for Pittsburgh, here are a few bits I wish would have been in my pre-trip knowledge kit:

1. Bring Bike Lights (for the tunnels)

There are a number of really neat tunnels along the C-O and the GAP. The Paw Paw tunnel, which stretches out for nearly a mile, takes the prize for being the most spooky, especially in if you’re riding in the dark (not recommended).

2. Plan to Visit Falling Water, just not on Wednesday

A waterfall and a house in one! This architectural gem, designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is a just a couple of miles off route near Ohiopyle State Park. It is open every day of the week, except Wednesday. Really, Wednesday?!? Don’t mist it! (Please pardon the pun.) 

3. Stop at Confluence Cyclery

You know how some bike shops feel like home? This small town shop fits cyclists like an old glove (without the smell).

4. Plan Your Return Trip

Spontaneity begins to lose its appeal after a couple of hours in a Greyhound Station. Your options for getting back to Philly via public transit are limited, so if you have the time, just keep on riding!