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Ride the GAP 2023

Espwa’s Ride the GAP is a fundraising adventure bike ride on the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP). Join us as we ride the GAP trail from Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh, PA – approximately 150 miles over 3 days. Riders of all skill levels are welcome on this fully supported ride.

While you ride, you’ll only need to be concerned about 2 things: riding safely and having fun. The registration fee includes transportation for you and your bike from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD, overnight stays in local hotels for both nights, meals, and snacks. We’ll also have a bike mechanic on the ride if any issues should arise.

Please note: This year’s ride is Saturday to Monday.

Funds raised from this charity bike ride will be used to support the projects of the Espwa Foundation. Check out our project page for more details.

Register for Ride the GAP

Dates: August 5 – 7, 2023
Registration Fee: $400 ($200 deposit due by July 1st)

Fundraising Minimum: $300 ($2 per mile)

12 spots available

Route Overview:

Start: Cumberland, MD
Finish: Pittsburgh, PA

Mileage: 150 miles total (Day 1: 30 miles; Day 2: 60 miles; Day 3: 60 miles)










More information on the Great Allegheny Passage is at the GAP Trail Website.

Trip Details:

Saturday, August 5

– Meet at Northgate Church, 238 Westview Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15229 @ 8:30 AM.
– Your vehicle can remain at Northgate Church for free during the trip
– Transportation for you and your bike will be provided to Cumberland, MD
– Day 1 route is 30 miles from Cumberland, MD to Meyersdale, PA
– Overnight location is Meyersdale, PA

Sunday, August 6

– Day 2 route is 60 miles from Meyersdale, PA to Connellsville, PA
– Overnight location is Connellsville, PA

Monday, August 7

– Day 3 route is 60 miles from Connellsville, PA to Pittsburgh, PA
– We will cycle to Point State Park (downtown Pittsburgh), then will be picked up on the North Shore and transported back to Northgate Church by late afternoon

Overnight Room Details:

Rooms are provided as part of your registration fee.  Rooms will be shared by participants at each overnight location and all linens are provided.

In order to participate, there are two commitments:

1. Registration Fee of $400 ($200 deposit due by July 1st)
2. Fundraise an additional $300 ($2 per mile)

Your initial registration will include a non-refundable $200 deposit that is due by July 1st, 2023.  To make this initial deposit, simply click the blue registration button above.  You can choose to pay just the $200 initial deposit or the whole $400 at the time of registration.

Once you’ve made your initial deposit, you’ll receive an email from The Espwa Foundation with links to make your final payment (unless you paid the full balance) and start your fundraising page. The final payment can be made by visiting our Store page and selecting “Ride the GAP – Final Payment” under the Event Payment section. The direct link is here.

Your fundraising page will be hosted on the Espwa website and can be forwarded via email and social media. You can also accept checks made out to The Espwa Foundation with “Ride the GAP – Your Name” in the memo line and these can be credited to your social fundraiser.  Check the “Fundraising How-To” tab for more information.

To participate in the ride, you’ll make a commitment to raise at least $300 in addition to your registration fee.  The Espwa website has tools that will allow you to create your own fundraising page.  This method is known as ‘social fundraising’ or ‘peer-to-peer fundraising.’  Once you upload a photo and any applicable text, you can send out the link to your page via email or post to any social media platform.  Your friends, family, coworkers, etc. can go to the page and submit a donation to support your ride.  All donations are tax-deductible.

If you receive a check, ensure it is made out to ‘The Espwa Foundation’ with ‘Ride the GAP – Your Name’ in the memo line.  Simply email us at ridethegap@espwa.com and we’ll let you know how to submit it.  We will credit it to your social fundraiser.

To set up your individual page, click the button below, then click “Become a Fundraiser.” You will know your page is live when you go back to the link below and see your individual page listed on the event page.

 Set up your fundraising page

What should I wear for the ride? 

– Helmet – of course! You should wear one every time you ride, and you must when you participate with Espwa. Modern helmets are lightweight, airy, and stylish as well.
– Jersey – a cycling jersey with rear pockets is handy for carrying snacks, your wallet and other items. Summer jerseys are usually made from a material that wicks moisture way from the skin, keeping you drier and more comfortable. Plenty of casual riders simply pull on a T-shirt, but realize that sweat (or a rain shower) makes cotton heavy and clammy.
– Shorts – cycling shorts are key for long rides like this.  They assist by minimizing chafing and other discomforts when sitting on a saddle for any length of time. Good shorts have a large, smooth, lightly padded liner (“chamois”). If you don’t care for the skintight look of Lycra, opt for the “baggie” mountain bike style that look like casual shorts but still has a liner. Being a loose fit, though, means they could bunch uncomfortably during long rides.
– Gloves – short-finger cycling gloves absorb perspiration for a safer grip, protect against raw spots and blisters, and pad your palms to reduce road shock.
– Shoes and socks – dedicated cycling shoes, either for road riding or mountain biking, are the best choice. The reason? Very firm soles that let you press as hard as you want without feeling uncomfortable pedal pressure. You can use mountain bike style shoes with or without toe clips and straps, or with clipless pedal systems. Plenty of casual riders simply wear running shoes, but their softness makes them less suitable for longer distances. Socks are important for comfort and sweat absorption.
– Sunglasses – it’s best to use a sports model with unbreakable lenses that have 100% UV protection. The wraparound style will reduce bothersome wind, important if you wear contacts.


What should I pack?

You will want to bring 2 – 3 days of biking apparel (mentioned above). Your call on how much you want to stink vs. carry.

– 2 water bottles (on bike)
– Spare tube for your bike
– Toiletries
– Change of clothes to wear when not biking
– Rain gear
– Snacks
(Linens, pillows and towels are provided at each overnight location)


How should I pack my gear?  How will my gear be transported?

We’ll have a SAG (Support & Gear) Driver to transport our gear along the trail and at each overnight stop. Please pack as light as possible. Each person is allowed one bag and one carry on.


What about rain or bad weather? 

This ride is rain or shine. So pack and dress appropriately.


What’s the best bike for this ride?

Advice from the GAP website:

“Most bicycles will be fine on the trail which is for the most part surfaced with fine crushed limestone. Experienced riders tend to prefer a hybrid (cross between road and mountain bikes) as thin tires can sink into the trail surface and make the going slow. People with mountain bikes tend to prefer hybrid tires or conservative mountain bike tires with just a little tread in the center and lugs on the edges to handle mud. Barring the extreme tire widths, any bike will work just fine. Be sure the bicycle, particularly the saddle, is comfortable. If you do your own maintenance, check the bike over before leaving for long trips. If you don’t do your own, take the bike to your friendly local bike shop for a safety check and tune-up.”

We highly recommend getting a safety check prior to the ride. A good “once over” from a local shop will ensure your bike is ready for this adventure. If you need recommendations for a local Pittsburgh shop, please contact us at ridetheGAP@espwa.com and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Need to rent a bike for this excursion? Contact Golden Triangle Bike Rental in Pittsburgh.


Wow, 150 miles is a lot, right?

Yeah it is, we know. We’re confident that if you are in decent shape and up for the challenge, you can do it! We welcome all levels of cyclists. This is a casual ride, not a race. If Chris Pfeiffer can do this ride, we know you can!


More questions? Please contact us at ridetheGAP@espwa.com. Thanks!


August 5 @ 8:30 am
August 7 @ 5:00 pm