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By George Schmidt

Editor note: This column appears regularly in Cycling Circular, the magazine of the Western Pennsylvania Wheelmen.

George's Autumn Rail-Trail Picks

The following is a list of my favorite rail-trails to use as the leaves change colors. Some of these places are very popular so you should plan to be on the trail early before the rookies turn out. I tend to like trails next to larger bodies of water and bridges for the panoramic views they offer leaf lookers. Of course, I have omitted some beautiful trails like the Ghost Town Trail, Montour Trail and the Butler-Freeport Trail. I picked these below because of the "jaw dropping" views and scenic destinations.

Family Outing: Oil Creek State Park Bike Trail

Beautiful paved trail along Oil Creek to the historic Drake Oil Well. Titusville, and fast food, are only a mile past the well. Bike rookies don't realize the nine miles out are uphill and are delighted to find they hardly have to pedal on the return trip.

Extended Family Outing: Ohiopyle Bike Trail (Ohiopyle Section)

Have non-riding grandparents meet you at the bandstand in Confluence for a picnic lunch and to purchase a Halloween pumpkin at the Pumpkin Festival.

Big Kid Ride: Ohiopyle Bike Trail (Connellsville Section)

Ride 18 isolated, scenic miles to Ohiopyle for lunch at the Falls Market. Awesome views from the Wheeler Bottom Bridge in Connellsville and the High Bridge in Ohiopyle.

Mr. Natural Ride: Rockwood to Pinkerton, Allegheny Highlands Trail

Beat the crowd with a short ride through this secluded area of the Allegheny Highlands Trail in Somerset (PA) County. The views of the Casselman River Valley from the Markelton and Pinkerton Bridges are huge. Drive to nearby Mt. Davis for a view from the highest point in Pennsylvania.

Seagull Ride: Presque Isle Bike Trail, Erie

The Department of Environmental Resources (PA) extended the bike trail past the Admiral Perry Monument. The total round trip is now 18 miles. Add another 10 miles and you can follow the bike route to the spiffy new Erie waterfront for lunch and go up in the observation tower for a neat view of Lake Erie, the peninsula, and the city.

Big Rail-Trail News!

Bob McKinley, Executive Director of the Regional Trail Corporation in Western Pennsylvania, says that the Youghiogheny River Trail (YRT) should be extended another mile north of Boston (toward McKeesport) to Dead Man's Hollow. Then, everything is falling into place for another mile in McKeesport from the 15th Street Bridge to the new McKee Point Marina. These two sections should be done by the Youghtoberfest. The Pennsylvania History and Museum Commission has just released funding for the Smithton-Dickerson Run project. This the final 13-mile segment needed to complete the YRT from McKeesport to Connellsville. Completion is projected for September 1, 1998. Just in time for the Governor's 1998 Keystone Ride on Western PA rail trails!

Check this out. The buzz is that the Allegheny Highlands Trail is being extended east to Confluence, west to Meyersdale. This should be complete by fall 1999. In other words, in two years we should be able to ride from McKeesport to Meyersdale on a continuous system of rail-trails.

WPW Map Packages Available

Unsure about roads, routes, directions, hills, mileage or other information? The 1996 WPW Bicycle Ride Map package is available in two forms.

The complete 1996 WPW Bicycle Map package includes: a ride index and ride maps for 153 rides (over 7,000 miles of rides) and a folder to hold the maps. This map package price is $16.

If you have the 1994 WPW Bicycle Map package, we offer a supplement that upgrades that package to the 1996 issue. The supplement provides the new ride index of 173 rides, revisions to eight maps, and 11 new maps. The map supplement price is $4. If you want to have either mailed to you an additional $3 mailing and handling fee is required. The complete map package or supplements are available at club meetings or by writing to:

WPW Bicycle Club
P.O. Box 6952
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

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