Figure 1: Map of the Great Allegheny Passage
The Great Alleghany Passage (GAP)
GAP is 150 miles rail to Trail over valleys in Maryland to Pennsylvania. It runs from Cumberland, Maryland, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It consists of several trails, including the Allegheny Highlands Trail of Maryland, the Allegheny Highlands Trail of Pennsylvania, and the Youghiogheny River Trail. It is one of the most famous American Trail and one of the best idyllic adventurous places for bikers, trikers, and hikers. This Trail runs over the 20 bridges and through 5 tunnels. The Great Allegheny Passage further connects with the C&O Canal towpath, which extends all the way to the Georgetown district of Washington, D.C., for a total length of 334.5 miles.
It was built on the abandoned railway corridor of the Western Maryland Railway Company. The beautiful sceneries along the Trail are mesmerizing, that no one regrets investing their time to enjoy this Trail. Some of the activities mostly done on this Trail are fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, triking, cross country skiing, and hiking.
e5.3 Falco eBike System
Falco’s e5.3 system web page can be foundhere. The web page states – “Falco e5.3 is a 500W, 417Wh, 36V, 11.6Ah eBike system. This system transforms any bike into a smart outdoor hybrid eBike or eTrike. It combines Zero Carbon high-speed bicycle commuting and recreation into one core direct drive technology with tremendous benefits to the end user. The e5.3 system delivers a huge range and can achieve speeds of up to 28 mph. With its lightweight lithium batteries mounted to the frame, you will experience incredible power in the ride.”
Photo 1: Falco eBike System e5.3.
The photo shows an electric wheel, a battery, a wireless console, a wireless plus minus and a thumb throttle. The maximum advertised range is about 70 miles. However, I was able to get about 90 miles on Level 1 and 2 use on Day 2. Also, compare Falco technology vs. Bosch with these YouTube videos:
Additional YouTube videos for installation can be found here
Below is an example of how the bike has been converted using the system:
Photo 2: An off-shelf Motorbecane converted with a Falco e5.3 electric bike kit.
The system has zero complexity in installation and operation. There are three main components of the kit – Electric Wheel, Battery, and Console. You can also operate the wheel using a Smart Phone.
I, Baldev, Sanjeev, and Paul together planned this ride. The plan was for Paul to fly in Washington, DC from Boise, Idaho, on Wednesday, the 07th of October. On the 08th of October, on Thursday at 1:30 PM, we drove to Cumberland, MD. Then Paul could rent the bicycle from the Cumberland Trail Connection. The store closes at 6:00 PM. We were to be there by 5:00 PM so that we may select a bike for Paul. Then we planned to stay overnight at the Hotel Ramada. On Friday, the 09th of October, early morning, we were planning to ride to Confluence, PA, with a starting elevation of 610 ft. At 23.5 miles to Eastern Divide, the peak stood at 2,392 ft. It is downhill from there. At 62 miles, Confluence, PA is at 1,330 ft. or at 76 miles, we might take it all the way to Ohio Pyle, PA. On Saturday, the 10th of October, we will ride to Pittsburgh, PA, with the elevation at 720 ft. We planned to stay at a hotel there. Then on Sunday, the 11th of October, we planned to ride back to West Newton, PA, or take a shuttle from Pittsburgh itself to Cumberland.
Photo 3: Mileage Chart for the GAP trail
Paul arrived at the Washington DC airport. Sanjeev picked him up from the airport. As per the plan, Sanjeev, Baldev, and Paul were in Washington, DC before 1.30 PM, Then they drove to Cumberland at 2 PM. I went to Cumberland from Dulles, VA, at about 7 PM. Since Paul did not have a bicycle, he rented one. I had my bike with the e5.3 Falco e-Bike system, and as usual, we took some food, water, tools, and accessories.
Below is a table showing how we covered various distances over two days.
Table 1: Table below shows how the distances were covered over the two days
|The 09th of October, 2020||10:57 AM||Cumberland||0 Miles|
|The 09th of October, 2020||1:15 PM||Frostburg||16 Miles|
|The 09th of October, 2020||3:06 PM||Great Eastern Continental Divide||26 Miles|
|The 09th of October, 2020||3:57 PM||Meyersdale||32 Miles|
|The 09th of October, 2020||5:24 PM||Rockwood||44 Miles|
|The 09th of October, 2020||7:54 PM||Confluence||62 Miles|
|The 10th of October, 2020||7:44 AM||Confluence||62 Miles|
|The 10th of October, 2020||9:11 AM||Ohiopyle||73 Miles|
|The 10th of October, 2020||10:54 AM||Connellsville||90 Miles|
|The 10th of October, 2020||1:59 PM||West Newton||116 Miles|
|The 10th of October, 2020||4:37 PM||Boston||130 Miles|
|The 10th of October, 2020||6:30 PM||Homestead||141 Miles|
|The 10th of October, 2020||7:48 PM||Pittsburg||150 Miles|
Photo 4: In the afternoon at 3.30 PM, just arrived at Cumberland, Baldev, Paul, and Sanjeev
Photo 5: Paul around 6 PM near Cumberland with his newly rented bike from trail connection bike store.
Photo 6: On the 09th of October, Early morning, having Breakfast Clockwise from left, Rakesh, Baldev, Sanjeev, and Paul.
On the 09th of October, around 9 AM, we charged ourselves with breakfast in the morning to keep us energized for the whole day ride. I had my bicycle, my partner "Trail" equipped with Falco eBike e5.3 system. We were ready for the ride at around 10 AM.
Photo 7: After breakfast, we are ready for the ride with our bicycles at the lobby of Ramada Inn in Cumberland
Photo 8: Near the Trail, in Cumberland, From Left to Right, Rakesh, Sanjeev, Baldev, and Paul. Our destination is Pittsburgh.
Photo 9: Since I had a fast eBike, I took off and gained substantial time over the other three. Gave me time to take some beautiful pictures along the way. This picture was taken near Frostburg, MD.
Photo 10: Around 12 PM with the shiny Sun on my head near Frostburg, MD
Photo 11: We arrived at Frostburg around 1 PM. We had a quick rest and headed onwards.
Photo 12: At Frostburg, from Left to Right, Sanjeev, Paul, and Rakesh
Photo 13: Paul near Big Savage Tunnel at about 3 PM
The “Big Savage Tunnel Mountain” was the first tunnel on the way to our ride. Everything around has a remarkable history. The beauty of the tunnel, greenery on the roadsides was merely superb and breathtaking.
Photo 14: At Eastern Continental Divide at about 3:15 PM
Photo 15: We are at the peak of this Trail at the Eastern Continental Divide, with an elevation of 2388ft.
Eastern Continental Divide, the highest point in the Trail, is situated at the height of 2338ft. Ride to the top is challenging without an electric assist. But this challenging part was easy for me with the help of the Falco eBike system. I just flew over the hill.
Photo 16: At 3:58 PM, 117 Miles to Pittsburg. We clicked a memory for Paul.
Photo 17: At 4:15 PM, Paul at Meyersdale, One of my favorite stops along the Trail. It is so historical with its train museum and engines. You can see Falco eBike in the background.
We stopped at Meyersdale, resting station had a quick break, and the departed further. This rail-trail has almost all the facilities that a rider needs. Passing over the beautiful bridges, while the breeze is blowing around with a sweet mesmerizing sound, cannot be described.
Photo 18: At 4:31 PM, Salisbury Viaduct. I love the view from here. It is so high up in the air, everything around looks like magic, and it is more magical in the fall.
Photo 19: At about 5:30 PM at Rockwood, Paul decided to try my bike with electric assist.
At 5:30 PM, we arrived at Rockwood. After this, we passed through the second tunnel on our way, "Pinkerton Tunnel." The next stop was Confluence and next to that Ohio Pyle. At Ohio Pyle, we had a break and refreshments.
Photo 20: At 6:17 PM at the Pinkerton Tunnel, from left to right, Baldev, Paul, and Sanjeev
As our plan, we reached Connersville at around 7 PM. Then we halted there at River View Kitchenettes, 629 River Rd, Confluence, PA 15424. We had dinner at Mitch's Fuel & Food 479 Latrobe Ave, Confluence, PA 15424.
Photo 21: Starting from Confluence at about 7:45 AM, Rakesh, and Paul
Photo 22: Paul on the bridge over the Youghiogheny river
Photo 23: At 9:15 AM, Paul and Sanjeev warm up with coffee. Ohiopyle trail stop has good amenities and shops.
Photo 24: At 10:54 AM, at Connellsville Wall Mural
Photo 25: Paul at Connellsville at about 11 AM
Photo 26: 41 Miles from Pittsburgh, At about 1 PM. I am ahead of the pack because of my fast torque-sensor-enabled eBike.
Photo 27: 34 Miles from Pittsburgh, At about 2:00 PM
Photo 28: At West Newton, PA, after lunch. The pizza here was extraordinary.
Photo 29: Rakesh and Paul at West Newton, PA
Photo 30: At 4:00PM Near Buena Vista, PA
Photo 31: At Boston, PA, at about 5:00 PM. After Boston, the ride to Pittsburgh is screwy.
There is no continuous trail. Sanjeev was a former resident of Pittsburgh. So we could navigate to our destination quickly.
Photo 32: Amazing history of American Steel Workers. We stopped at Homestead on our way to Pittsburgh. Sanjeev wanted to take a rest before the final push. The crew was getting tired as it had started to drizzle as well.
Photo 33: The plaque at Homestead. Events 128 years ago took my breath away. America has come a long way to establish human rights and equality, and we still have a long ways to go.
Photo 34: Some of the remnants of the steel plant at Homestead with immense historical value. In the background is the Monogahela river.
Photo 35: The dilapidated pump house. The pump house for crucial for steel production. Extraordinary engineering achievement of those times and now of immense historical significance.
Photo 36: Here is a picture explaining the significance of the pump house and the volume of water needed at those times to run production.
Photo 37: At 7:45 PM, we reached Pointe State Park. We had become relatively slow from Boston onwards. It would be another hour or so before we get to our hotel.
After reaching Pittsburgh, we stayed at SpringHill Suites Pittsburgh North Shore, 223 Federal Street Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15212 USA.
Photo 38: At 8:00 AM in the Morning, Outside Springhill Suites. We are ready to board the shuttle to head to Cumberland.
Photo 39: At about 8:30 AM, all bikes are loaded, and we are ready to leave.
On the next morning: on Sunday the 11th of October, we loaded up our bicycles on the vehicle and drove back to Cumberland. This ride was terrific.
Some of the details were captured using the Strava app, as shown below.
Figure 2: From Cumberland to Frostburg
Figure 3: Frostburg to Eastern Continental Divide
Figure 4: Eastern Continental Divide to Meyersdale
Figure 5: Meyersdale to Confluence
Figure 6: Confluence to Ohiopyle
Figure 7: Ohiopyle to Connellsville
Figure 8: Connellsville to West Newton
Figure 9: West Newton to Boston
Figure 10: Boston to Pittsburg
Here are some screenshots captured during the ride from the Falco Flash 4.0 phone app.
1 At the start of the ride, the battery capacity is at 400Wh (WH Remaining)
2 By about 2:49 PM, I had consumed 80Wh of battery capacity (WH Remaining)
3 By 7:54 PM, I had consumed 240Wh as 160 is the WH Remaining (Day 1). I used between 240 to 300Wh to cover about 60 miles. Approximate drive efficiency of about 4.5Wh/Mile.
4 At the end of Day 2 in Pittsburg, I used up about 320Wh during the day. However, the last 80Wh is not enough to go anywhere with such a low battery voltage of 31V. Safely we can assume that my consumption for the whole day was between 320 and 400Wh to cover about 90 miles. Approximate drive efficiency of 4Wh/mile
I have done several rides using the Falco eDrive system. This was perhaps the longest two-day ride wherein the system was used continuously. Although I wanted to turn the system off as one of my priorities is health. I tried to use more of my physical effort than that of the motor. I always realized that with the system ON, I could have more fun. I could go faster than others. I could get more thrill. I could regulate my heart rate the way I wanted it and not give up on any of the health benefits I sought. With the fast eBike, I also got more rest. I could get 20-30 minutes ahead of everybody in the group and enjoy nature more and get more rest.
The part that really amazed me was that I could get a drive efficiency of 4 to 4.5Wh/mile, which is massively extraordinary. That means with a tiny 400Wh battery, I could cover close to 90 miles in a day. That is a testament to the incredible prowess of the 5-phase direct drive technology of Falco. That conclusion was quite satisfying.