As travel begins a new normal in the Laurel Highlands, biking has quickly become one of the most popular ways to exercise, get outdoors and keep social distancing. Whether you're riding for the first time since childhood or are an experienced cyclist, the Laurel Highlands wants to keep you safe and healthy by following these biking etiquette tips!
For more information on biking and help planning your trip, check out our resources on local bike trails, bike stores and shuttle services, and the Great Allegheny Passage (be sure to purchase a new TrailGuide for the most updated info)
Plan your Ride
Now more than ever, a good plan goes a long way to having an enjoyable day biking and seeing the best of our natural beauty. With many riders out for the first time and with new equipment, take some time to familiarize yourself with your bike, properly inflate the tires and be sure your chain, brakes and gears are all functioning properly.
Once your gear is in good shape, it's time to plan your visit. We recommend riding only with your immediate family at this time, so keep your group small and full of people who have been isolating with you.
Then, select your trail. The Laurel Highlands is loaded with scenic, nearly-level trails from the Great Allegheny Passage that connects Pittsburgh to D.C., to shorter trails, such as the Five Star Trail and Westmoreland Heritage Trail, that link our counties and towns, each with something new to see and enjoy on your ride.
Try Somewhere New
If you pull into a trailhead loaded with vehicles and riders, it's smart to have a backup plan. Avoid the crowds at Ohiopyle and tackle less frequented sections of the GAP. Ride from Connellsvile to West Newton and end your day with a Bloom Brew craft beer, or ride from Rockwood to Meyersdale for the state's best maple products.
There's more to explore in our three counties, too. Discover history on the Coal & Coke Trail which connects Mount Pleasant to Scottdale as you pass old coke ovens that made this region prosper while enjoying the beauty of Jacob's Creek and local wildlife. You can even cross state lines by taking the Sheepskin Trail from Point Marion to West Virginia!
Early mornings and late evenings are the least busy times on all of our bike trails, plus you'll stay cooler than on an afternoon ride.
Social Distance as you Ride
We all know how to practice social distancing in a store now, but these same rules also apply when you're on our trails. We ask that you please stay six feet apart as you ride, giving a wide berth to other riders and hikers. It's always good trail manners to announce yourself when you pass, and this is now more critical than ever! A simple "On your left" and a bell ring as you pass make sure all riders stay safe while biking in the Laurel Highlands.
Double Check Your Accommodations
If you are planning an overnight or multi-day bike trip through our region, be sure to double check with your lodging. Some overnight areas remain closed, and hotels and bed & breakfasts may be operating at a reduced occupancy rate. A simple phone call before your trip is always a good idea!
Rest assured, all of our places to stay are doing the most to ensure your safety during your visit. This includes remote check-ins, deep cleaning of rooms and limiting use of common areas, so remember to practice social distancing even when you're done with your ride.
Wear a Mask, Wash Your Hands
If you come up to a crowded section of a trail or stop with a large group, we ask that you treat the trail just like any other business. Wear a mask if you're within six feet, and be sure to sanitize your hands and anything you might have touched (handlebars, backpacks, water bottles, etc.) during your ride.
Stay Home If You Don't Feel Well
Let's keep the curve flattened and our trails open. If you don't feel well, save the trip for another day! The Laurel Highlands and our amazing trail system will be here when you're better, and we're happy to welcome you back whenever you feel comfortable.