Father Linus Klucsarits wanted to do it – and he did it.
Earlier this month, the St. Bernard headmaster rode his bike from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., soaking up the many sights and sounds of the country while traversing both the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath.
He began his quest by driving to Vienna, Virginia to meet his sister Meg, who then ushered Klucsarits to Pittsburgh.
“My (other) sister (Ann) and I did part of the trail once about 15 years ago, and I enjoyed it very much,” said Klucsarits, who covered 336 miles in six days. “I read that the two trails were connected now, and that’s why I decided to train for it in January.”
Klucsarits’ incredible journey began at Point Park in downtown Pittsburgh on June 9.
The 55-year old completed the 150-mile trek of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) in three days, which landed him in Cumberland, Maryland.
Along the way, however, Klucsarits faced a couple of obstacles.
The back brake on his bike went out on Day 1, and he suffered a blowout on Day 2 — the issue compounded by an ill-fitting spare tire.
Luckily for Klucsarits, he met several good Samaritans who were more than willing to assist him.
A man named Charlie helped with his brake problem, and a couple — one of three groups to check on Klucsarits — attempted to patch his inner tube before a park ranger offered him a ride to a local bike shop for repairs.
The time he lost was a small price to pay for such generosity.
“That was probably the best part of the trip,” Klucsarits said. “The kindness of strangers helping me out and trying to get my bike going again. Any time I was stopped on the trail, people would pass me and ask if I was okay. There’s great camaraderie out there.”
The latter half of his outdoor adventure went much smoother.
Klucsarits finished the C&O Canal Towpath (184.5 miles) from Cumberland to Washington, D.C. over the next few days, eventually meeting back up with his sister in Georgetown.
During his journey, Klucsarits biked between 52 and 63 miles per day, except for a short 32-mile trek at the tail end of the Great Allegheny Passage. He spent nights at various bed and breakfasts.
“It got easier (as it went), and I felt fine,” he said. “A little sore, but not too bad. After I got done, though; I stayed at my sister’s house for a few days, and I may have collapsed a little (laughs). But I feel great that I did it. It couldn’t have gone better.”