WQED’s ‘The Great Ride’ follows cyclists on 335-mile bike trail to Point State Park | TribLIVE.com
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Mary Pickels

WQED’s new documentary, “The Great Ride,” will explore a destination on many bikers’ and hikers’ bucket lists — the entire 335 miles of the C&O Canal Towpath (Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Md.) and the Great Allegheny Passage (Cumberland, Md. to Pittsburgh).

The 60-minute film premieres at 8 p.m. March 14.

“We have wanted to produce a documentary and multimedia initiative on the historic Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath for some time,” says Darryl Ford Williams, WQED vice president of content.

“We believe that this stunning documentary and interactive website will stimulate cultural tourism in the entire corridor in which the trail runs, attract cycling and hiking enthusiasts, and promote the history of the region,” he adds.

“The Great Ride” follows six cycling groups from Washington, D.C., to Point State Park in Pittsburgh as they pedal their local sections of the trail.

As they bike along, the cyclists double as tour guides, sharing information about the sites and their personal connections to the trail.

Among the guides are a pair of military veterans, a civil war buff, a group of women from Cleveland, a naturalist-photographer, a volunteer who helped build the trail and a local trail ambassador.

Along with the documentary, additional information and a history of the C&O Canal Towpath and GAP can be found at the companion website wqed.org/ride.

It features an interactive map, with shareable video shorts focusing on trail landmarks.

According to WQED, new videos will be added in the days leading up to the premiere.

Visitors can view sites including Pittsburgh’s Hot Metal Bridge, GAP mile marker 144; Hays eagles’ nest, GAP mile marker 141; C&O lock houses, C&O mile marker 5-109; and life on the canal, C&O mile marker 14.

According to WQED, its production team dedicated much of 2018 to planning and filming along the trail, encountering issues ranging from poor weather, logistics and distance between access points.

The documentary is the first professional broadcast covering the hiking/biking journey between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., in one film.

Details: wqed.org

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