Wrap up: 2016 Ohio to Erie / Ohio Bike Route 1

It’s been a few days since I returned home from our tour across Ohio.  It’s a bit hard to believe it’s over already.  The five days in the saddle went by very quickly, and now it’s in the memory books.

One nice part about this trip was that neither Joe or I had any familiarity with most of the route, it gave us some new things to see.

The past few bike tours I’ve done have been on dedicated bike trails.  I like bike trails because they tend to be safer since they’re away from traffic.  They also offer shade from the sun, and often meander through neat little towns.  The Ohio to Erie route does have lots of miles on dedicated trail, but it has a variety of riding conditions.  If you’re looking for a typical rail-trail ride, the Ohio to Erie won’t exactly fit that model.

Many people I talked to wondered why we chose Ohio.  The prevailing opinion was “it doesn’t have much to see.”  I have to disagree.  We found it to be a very pretty state for a long ride.  Sure, there was a lot of farm land.  But seeing the Amish farming their land, the various crops, and the blue skies was very peaceful.  We went through downtown Cleveland, Akron, Columbus, and Cincinnati.  We got a taste of a little of everything you could want.  We didn’t linger long in any one place because we were bound to a schedule, but if you could afford the time to meander a bit, there were lots of options on spending your time.

The Ohio to Erie route is also marked as Ohio Bike Route 1.  It isn’t a single trail or road, it is a collection of trails, city streets, and country roads that can carry you across the state.  You have to be pretty careful about following maps and watching for turns.  Most were pretty easy to spot, but we did miss a couple of them along the way.  In most places, they’re pretty far apart, so if you miss a turn, it could be a while before you notice.  Fortunately, we didn’t get too far off track.


From a difficulty perspective, I would rate this route as intermediate for both navigating, and for the physical challenge.  The route requires city smarts for navigating on city roads in Cleveland, Columbus, Akron, and Cincinnati.  None of the city riding was super challenging, but if you’re not comfortable riding amongst pedestrians and cars, I would recommend trying to time your city routes during less busy traffic times.

There was about 50 miles of country road riding on the route.  Most of it was very tame and beautiful.  Some rolling hills and the traffic seemed very light.  However, the 14 miles between Killbuck and Gann were a little more than “rolling” hills.  After looking at the data on maps when I got home, the grade didn’t quite look as bad as I had expected.  The average grade of the worst part was about 8.5% for .5 miles.  On a bike loaded with an extra 20-25 lbs. of gear, plus a gallon of water, on a hot and sunny day, those miles provided some challenge.  Perhaps on a cooler day with fewer miles on my legs, it wouldn’t have seemed so bad.

The road conditions varied from city streets with potholes and grates, to crushed limestone of the Ohio & Erie canal, paved bike trails, and quiet country roads.  I would recommend a bike with 36mm or larger tires, mostly because of the crushed stone sections, especially if you have any rain.  Unlike most other rail-trails, there are really long sections of paved path.  For example, our last two days of riding were entirely on paved path or road.  That makes it easier to cover longer distances.

We were pleasantly surprised at how many of the small towns we went through had sufficient services for food and water.  When we laid out our travel plan, we didn’t know enough about these little towns.  On one hand, that made for some fun discovery periods.  On the other hand, it would have been nice to plan a little more time to spend in a few places.

We chose to do this tour in 5 riding days.  In part because of the time we had to spend, and partially because we didn’t see too many ways to split into 6 days with lodging.  The result was that we had 4 days over 70 miles, and one day around 60 miles.  Our legs seemed to survive the miles pretty well due to the good weather and good riding surfaces.  But we only had a little time for smelling the roses along the way, too.  It’s a tough tradeoff to make.  What I can say is that the 5 day plan worked pretty well for lodging.

Overall, this was a very fun tour.  If you’re up for a little more challenge than the average rail-trail, this might be a good route to try.  Great scenery, nice towns, wonderful people, and enough stops along the way to be self-supported.

You can find more information about the Ohio to Erie route at: http://www.ohiotoerietrail.org/


I’m not sure what the next bike tour might be for me.  I might look at some familiar territory, or look for another new route to try.  We’ll have to see.  If anyone has any suggestions for a 350-450 mile self-supported bike route, let me know!  I’m hopeful that a great adventure will arise for some time in 2017.

Until then…



Day 5 – Ohio to Erie ride: Journey Complete! Xenia to Cincinnati OH / Newport KY, and the Covington Cathedral (71 miles)

Last night was a very enjoyable evening.  Our AirBnB hosts, Barak and Victoria were wonderful hosts.  We shared pizza, delicious ice cream with peaches, and best of all, good conversation.  I love how we gathered around their family table and became family for an evening.  Before this trip, I sort of wondered what would inspire someone to become an AirBnB host, but after doing two of them, I now know why: to get to know other people.  Wouldn’t the world be such a much better place if we were able to invite strangers to dinner more often!

After finishing up our laundry and some great conversation, I finally turned into bed around 9 or 9:30PM.  At that time, the various weather forecasts for the morning ranged from storms to no-rain.  We decided that if it was raining, we’d try to leave later, but if it was not, we wanted to get going early.


I haven’t had a really good, deep night’s sleep the entire trip.  But last night, I fell asleep almost instantly and enjoyed a great rest.  I woke up a few minutes before my alarm and felt great.  After my morning prayer hours, I pulled up the forecast.  The question was: “Am I going to get a little more sleep, or were we going to get going on our way?”

The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, and My-Cast finally got their act together and gave a similar forecast.  No rain forecasted.  Moderately high temperatures for later in the day.  It was time to get going so we could avoid most of the hottest part of the day.

Victoria had prepared a nice breakfast, and I cooked up a double-batch of oatmeal to add some calories to get the day going.  Breakfast conversation was as delightful as the discussions we’d had the previous evening.  Once again, fellowship comes up as one of the best parts of bike touring.  But with a very long day ahead, we had to get going.  We bid Barak and Victoria good bye and were on the road by 7:00AM.

Today’s trip took us across a lot of familiar territory along the Little Miami Scenic Trail.  I have ridden the entire length of the Little Miami many times, in fact, Joe and I rode a 100+ mile century ride here just a couple of weeks ago.  It is one of my favorite places in all of the country to ride.  The trail is nicely canopied by trees for most of the length, providing a respite from the sun.  There are enough small towns and trail heads to get water and food.  The path is completely off road, safe from traffic.  And the surface is paved and well maintained.  If you like rail-trail riding, this is one of the best.

As we started today, we didn’t need any jackets or arm warmers.  It was already warm and very humid at 7AM.  Within a mile or two, we were both feeling pretty sticky.  Whenever we would stop to take a picture, our glasses would instantly fog up.  On the huge plus side, the clouds formed a nice cover for us all day long.

Sunrise was pretty early, but we didn’t really see much of the sun for a while.  The trail goes through a lot of rural farm land, and provides some great views.  A few times, we pulled over just to take in the views.  Sure it is just farm land, but when mixed with sunshine, fog, and the quietness of a morning, it is a beautiful combination.

The first 60 miles went by incredibly quickly.  Our legs felt pretty good, we had several fun discussions, and the familiarity of the trail made time pass fast.  Before we knew it, we had passed Spring Valley, Morrow, South Lebanon, and decided to stop in Loveland for a quick bite to eat.  We arrived far ahead of schedule – most of the restaurants weren’t open for lunch yet.  We stopped at the deli and looked for something quick to take and eat.  Joe settled in on some pasta salad, and I had a good sized scoop of tuna salad.  We just needed a few more calories to power our way home.

We had originally figured it would take us until 2-3PM to complete our ride, but knew that we were running far ahead of schedule.  So I called Stephanie to give her a heads’ up to meet us earlier than we had originally planned.  In some ways, you don’t want to rush, but on the last day of the tour, we were both really looking forward to getting to the end.

Our next stop was to get near the south end of the Little Miami trail.  Unfortunately, the Little Miami doesn’t get into downtown quite yet.  They added a few more miles this year, but there isn’t a good way to get from the south end trail-head over to downtown.  So instead, we had to exit near Newtown and begin surface streets to get to the river front.

Both Joe and I really prefer to stay away from busy streets, so we were pretty tuned-in to watching for cars in every direction.  We exited the trail at Wooster Pike, following the road into Mariemont, through Fairfax, and other roads down towards Lunken Airport.  Some of the roads were a little narrow for my taste, so we used sidewalks for some parts.  (Note, that’s probably illegal, but I prefer my safety)

Next stop was Lunken Airport – the old airport for the Cincinnati area before the Northern Kentucky airport was built.  Lunken was opened in 1925 and was the largest airport in the world at the time.  Today, it is primarily used for private aircraft.  The airport grounds now includes some bike trails on the east and west edges.  We jumped on one of the Lunken trails for a short stint before picking up the Ohio River Trail near the river front.

The Ohio River Trail runs for about 2 miles from Lunken Airport towards downtown.  It winds through some parks and gave us our first views of Downtown.

At the end of the Ohio River Trail, we moved to the bike lane on Riverside Drive for the next 3 miles.  It has a nice bike lane and felt pretty comfortable, except for when large dump trucks whizzed by.  We made quick time heading towards the city.

Along the way, we both noticed how nicely Cincinnati has been redeveloping the east riverfront.  Lots of nicer row-style homes were being built, and it had a bit of a “hip” feeling to the area.

Once we reached the Berry International Friendship Park, we moved back to trails along the river front.  These trails delivered us nicely to the Yeatman’s Cove park.  We stumbled across this statue of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.  Hey, it’s a giant guy with an axe!  We didn’t take the time to read the plaque, but hey, when there’s a statue that looks like something out of the original “Clash of the Titans” or “Jason and the Argonauts”, you should definitely get your picture taken.

A short trip up around the corner took us across the pedestrian bridge and out of Ohio.  We had officially ridden across the entire state now!  Yeah!

We found the sign on the bridge somewhat humorous – it challenges people to take the “Get Moving Challenge”.  Yeah, that’s what we need – to get moving.

We had decided that the Newport Aquarium would be a great place to meet Stephanie.  So we wound our way across and to the front entrance of Newport on the Levee.  I called Stephanie who was still a few minutes away.  Joe and I took advantage of the water feature-fountain in front to put some cool water on our faces.  It felt pretty good.

We had decided ahead of time that if we weren’t completely exhausted, we would ride our bikes to the Cathedral of the Covington Diocese, about 2 miles away, and finish by entering the Holy Door there.  So since Stephanie was a little behind, we called and had her re-route and meet us there.

Getting there sounded pretty easy, but turned out to be a bit of a challenge to get to the right roads.  We had to seek out a path to cross back over the levee and get to the Riverboat Row road behind the Aquarium.  It took a while, but we finally got to the Cathedral and met Stephanie.

The Cathedral is magnificent.  I don’t have any pictures that do it justice.  What I can tell you is that if you are traveling anywhere nearby, you owe it to yourself to stop by and see the beauty of this church.  The tremendous art and scripture stories in the stained glass is stunning.

A few minutes later, we packed up the bikes and headed back to Lexington.  We made a quick dinner stop and then drove home, dropping off Joe along the way.

This trip was really a great adventure.  It was different than other tours I’ve done: we didn’t really know much about the route, and there were many more road-miles than we typically do.  And as always, even though it was a great trip, it is also really great to get home.

Thanks for all of the prayers, emails, text messages, and so on that carried us through the journey.

After I have a chance to stop and think a bit, I will have one more blog entry summarizing some of my overall thoughts about the Ohio to Erie Trail in a day or two.

But for now … a much needed rest in my own bed.  Yay.


Day 4 – Ohio to Erie ride: Columbus to Xenia OH (58 miles)

Today was our shortest ride for the tour.  The weather forecast indicated that it would be a hot day without any clouds, and it definitely was both.

Father Ron made us a yummy breakfast, essentially an omelette-in-a-mug, to get us started.  He took very good care of us during our brief stay.

We said goodbye to Father Ron at St. Agnes around 7:00AM and carefully tracked our way to the Camp Chase trail head.  However, just as we were getting close, a smell hit both Joe and I.  It wasn’t just any smell… It was the kind of smell that draws you in, leading you by some subconscious impulsive desire that must be satisfied.  Yes, it was freshly made donuts.

Again, I am supposed to be avoiding wheat, and I haven’t had a donut in about a year.  But… There must be some sort of pheromone thing in the donuts at this place.  Joe and each had a donut and split a third.  Awesomeness.

It was comical trying to order these three donuts.  The nice young lady behind the counter wanted to put them into a styrofoam box.  I explained that I didn’t need the box.  She got out smaller styrofoam containers.  I told her they were going to be eaten very quickly.  She seemed perplexed as to what to do with this strange request.  So I grabbed some napkins and said “just put them here”.  She begrudgingly handed over the chocolate-cake glazed wonders.  And within two minutes, they were gone.

My wife says we talk too much about food on our bike trips… So I guess I’ll just move along here.

We jumped onto the Camp Chase trail.  This is a very smoothly paved trail that runs next to some rail lines.  It was already warm enough that we didn’t need any arm warmers or jackets, and you could feel the humidity in the air.  Several miles later, we arrived at the Batelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Once inside the park, there are a couple of ways you can go.  One path takes you through the woods, while the other is nearly all on a paved surface.  There is a short section that goes off-road into the woods next to the Big Darby Creek.  We stopped to grab a couple of pictures and continued on.

After leaving the park, we followed the Roberts Pass trail for about 7 miles into the town of London.  This was another case where the maps didn’t indicate how large the town was.  We were pleasantly surprised to find a very nice little town.  Knowing that we had many miles to go in very hot weather, we went in search of water to refill our bottles, and stopped at a convenience store.  A large bottle of Gatorade, and three refills of icy cold water later, we were back on our way.

Just outside of town, we found the northern trailhead for the Prarie Grass Trail.  I stopped to adjust my rear brake mount, and as I was working on my bike, two young ladies zipped by and said hello as they passed.  More about them in a moment…

The Prarie Grass Trail is a well maintained and paved trail that is ~25 miles long and runs all the way into Xenia Station.  It is not very shady – it doesn’t have the canopied tree lining that some of the older trails do.  The sun was pretty hot and the headwinds picked up.  Watching the grasses and trees alongside the trail, we could see that the wind was pretty directly in our face, and pretty strong.

We reached South Charleston and needed to refill water again.  This is a really wonderful little town.  We took a leisurely tour of their downtown and made our way toward the trailhead.  As we were turning onto the street near the trailhead, we saw a group of cyclists who were wearing the same jersies as the two young women we’d seen earlier.  They all convened in the park next to the trail, eating lunch.

It turns out that this is a group of 29 young college students and recent grads who are cycling across the US to raise funds and awareness for affordable housing.  One of the kids lives in Lexington KY as well, and had just graduated from the University of Kentucky.  They started in Providence RI and were heading to the Northwest coast.  We chatted for a few minutes and wished them well.

With the sun high over head, we pressed on to Xenia.  The winds kept pushing against us, but we were anxious to arrive.  We passed through Cedarville, topping off water and getting a quick snack, then continued to Xenia Station.  From this point on, most of the rest of the trip is in very familiar territory along the Little Miami Scenic Trail.

We arrived too early to check into our AirBnB, so we rode north of town a short way to find our lunch / early dinner.  We decided on Frisch’s, and had a nice meal.  The best part was that the air conditioning was cranked up high.  It felt good to get chilled down.  We took our time eating and relaxing a bit in the cool comfort of the restaurant.  By the time we left, we both were a bit uncomfortably cold.  That was great.

Our final stop for the day was the AirBnB.  We took a relaxed pace for about another 3 miles to get there.  A very thorough showering was in order to get off the mix of dirt, tiny bugs, and sunscreen.  It always feels soooo good to scrub down after a long day on the bike.

It is only 4:30 now, and I am already feeling like it must be close to bed time. Yawn. It will be work to stay awake.  Must…do…laundry.

Tomorrow is the last day of our tour.  We ride into Cincinnati, and cross over the Ohio River into Kentucky.  We will meet my wife there and head home.  It looks like about another 70 mile day.

Weather tomorrow looks to be pretty warm, and potentially a little stormy.  We are hoping to get an early start and beat the heat.

We’d appreciate prayers for good weather and safety.  Thanks in advance.


Day 3 – Ohio to Erie ride: Howard to Columbus OH (73 miles)

It has been a pretty good day.  On the up side, the ride was beautiful and we finished ahead of schedule.  On the down side, my previously trusty Garmin Edge 605 stopped being trusty today.  (Insert Kenny Rodgers Randy VanWarmer tune “you left me, just when I needed you most” softly playing in the background, or Bones saying “She’s dead, Jim”)

Editorial update: I have not idea who Randy VanWarmer is, but I had incorrectly attributed this tune to Kenny Rodgers.  Perhaps Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” would have been a better choice, anyway.

We got up before dawn and quickly packed up our belongings, hoping to get out around 6:30 today.  We were treated to a super delicious breakfast at Dave’s place.  Dave and his wife raise chickens on their farm, and we had delicious fresh eggs.  They tasted awesome.  But the best part of breakfast wasn’t what filled our stomachs, it was what filled our souls.

As we were saying grace over our breakfast, Dave paused at the doorway.  When we finished, he sat down to join us and said “I had a feeling you were some good Catholic boys.”  We had an awesome conversation over breakfast about his faith journey.  I won’t even attempt to describe it here – partially because it was a personal conversation, and partially because I couldn’t do it justice in a short blog posting.  Our discussion put us about 30 minutes later on our start, and I am so glad we took the time to listen.  It was well worth it!

We stepped outside and Joe played one last game of fetch with Diamond.  What a great dog.

As we packed up our things onto our bikes, Dave came out to see us off and prayed with us before we departed.  He gave us a hug and asked us to come back again for a longer visit.  Once again, we have been blessed by the people we come into contact with on these bike trips.

About 7:10am we finally hit the road.  The temps were nicely chilly and the air felt great as it blew over our faces.  The first few miles were a bit more challenging than they were supposed to be.  Our legs seemed to be saying “not today.”  We had a hard time getting to a steady speed for a while.  I think it was a combination of physical fatigue and that this part of the Kokosing trail apparently has a slight grade up.

About 7 miles later we reached Mount Vernon. My (no longer) trusty Garmin 605 said “low battery”.  What?  I just charged you last night! I bypassed the message and hoped for the best.  It sporadically worked for a while.

In Mount Vernon, we eventually found our way to the Heart of Ohio trail.  This runs for about 13 miles to Centerburg OH.  It was a pretty uneventful section… Until near the end.  We were stopped waiting to cross some traffic and I was using one hand to eat an energy bar and one hand on the bike.  The bike nearly tipped over and the pedal caught the back of my calf.  Nothing serious, just a nuisance scrape, but enough to remind me to be more careful.

After topping off our water, and putting some neosporin on my freshly minted flesh-wound, we set our sites on the town of Sunbury about 15 miles away along country roads.

The road route to Sunbury was beautiful. Gorgeous blue skies, the moon was still up most of the morning, and farm land as far as the eye can see, bedecked with green leaves of corn, golden yellows of wheat (I think), and many other colors. The roads were gently rolling without any of the nasty climbs of yesterday.

When we reached Sunbury, we didn’t know what to expect.  We thought it might be just a little blip on the map.  What we found was a very neat little town square with a lively atmosphere.  If you plan on heading this way, make sure to spend a little time there to soak up the town.

Sunbury was also the sight of second breakfast or early lunch, depending on how you view the world. I decided to hedge my bets and get a sandwich and home fries to cover both bases.  The Sunbury Grill was a great choice – it is the kind of place my Dad taught me to love many years ago when we would go for breakfast together.

While there, once again some bike touring fellowship spontaneously appeared.  We sat at the food counter and the guy next to me struck up a nice conversation with us.  His name is Earl.

After Sunbury, we had just a few miles on Old Route 3 C until the town of Galena.  From there, we met up with the Hoover Scenic Trail and then the Genoa Trail for about 6 miles.

The Genoa trail ends at Maxtown Road, also known as Polaris Parkway, north of Columbus.  We had scoped out our own route into downtown Columbus, using the Alum Creek Trail, which starts here at Maxtown road.

At this point is where my GPS finally just gave up the ghost.  I couldn’t coax it to do anything.  I had become pretty comfortable knowing that I could glance down and see that we were still on (or off!) the planned routes that I had downloaded into it. It had served us quite well over the past few days and caught a couple of missed turns.  Sigh.  Oh well, at least we had some maps to use.

The Alum Creek Trail goes roughly north/south and we took it for ~12 miles to the I670 connector trail, which is a pretty rough paved trail adjoining I670 until you get dumped out into downtown Columbus.

We were making very good time today, so we decided to stop at the Columbus Cathedral and enter through that Holy Door too.  We arrived at a time when a wedding party was getting their pictures taken, so I quickly went in, passed though, and left, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible.  Hence, no pictures of the inside of the Cathedral.

We continued west, using sidewalks to navigate until we reached the Scioto Greenway trail on the south side of Columbus.  Without the GPS, we had to be a little more discerning about where to turn to find our next set of roads.

We eventually found the Hilltop Connector and wound along some city streets to our evening destination: St. Agnes church.  We arrived around 3:00PM and found a cool respite from the heat in the church.

Father Ron arrived a little later and greeted us.  He introduced us to his great little dog, Chase as well.

We got a very much needed shower and shave, then joined him at mass.

After mass, we made BLTs, heavy on the “B”, strawberries, and an Italian lemon ice for dessert.  Some great conversation over dinner made it a wonderful meal.  Once again, bike touring fellowship is so spectacular.

So now, it is time to head to bed. We want to get out early again tomorrow to beat the mid day heat.  We only have about 55-60 miles tomorrow, so we want to get done quickly and rest up.

Until tomorrow, Peace!

PS: yes, I am doing this whole blog from my trusty iPhone… So please forgive my typos.

Day 2 – Ohio to Erie ride: Massillon to Howard OH (72 miles)

This morning started a little later than we had intended.  We took a leisurely pace getting going and had breakfast at the Hampton Inn before departing.

We crossed over the bridge and found the beginning of the Sippo Valley Trail pretty easily. The trail was a mix of paved and crushed limestone.  It was a fairly easy ride to Dalton.  Once in Dalton, we left the trails behind and began an 18 mile trek on country roads towards Fredricksburg.  The roads had plenty of gently rolling hills and very beautiful farmland. We saw many Amish farms and the people working them by hand. 

We stopped in Fredricksburg for lunch and to get some Gatorade.  There was this awesome little store there. The people really friendly and made us feel at home.

Across the street was a pizza place. It looked like our best option for getting a decent meal.  I’m not supposed to be eating wheat or dairy, but I ordered a pizza anyway. It was fairly tasty.  We struck up a conversation with two gentlemen who were at the table next to us.  They happened to both be named Ruben.

After finishing the pizza, we got out and found our way to the Holmes County Trail nearby. It was a nicely maintained trail. In this area, we saw far more Amish buggies on the trail than cyclists.  By this time, the weather was becoming pretty warm. It wasn’t too bad in the shade, but the sun was hot.  Around 4 miles later we arrived in the small town of Killbuck.  We stopped for some ice cream, a cool place to sit, and to fill our water bottles back up.  That turned out to be a good thing… We weren’t really mentally prepared for what was next.

Just outside of Killbuck, we had to again use some country roads to the next town. The maps we had said “there is a climb from SR520 to CR6” and that the next section had “significant hills”.  Both were understatements.  What followed was about 14 miles of the most difficult riding I have ever done.  The first climb on CR6 didn’t look too bad at first. But it kept going and going.  Every time you thought you saw the top, you’d turn a corner and see even more and steeper road ahead.

The CR6/CR25 stretch continued to challenge us over and over with one long steep descent/climb after another.  It was mentally exhausting to climb up to the top and then see another even taller hill just up the road.  We drank so much water trying to stay hydrated.  I was very thankful we had topped off all the bottles before leaving Killbuck.

Little by little we chipped away at the miles and reached route 62 near Brinkhaven.  Then it was nearly all downhill on a heavily trafficked road for a couple of miles.  I was going much faster than I am comfortable with, especially on unfamiliar roads.  Thanks for my guardian angel’s company on that stretch!

After the descent we continued another 2-3 miles and joined the Mohican Valley Trail.  If you are going North to South like we are, watch carefully for the Ohio Bike Route 1 turn signs.  We missed the sign, but my Garmin alerted me to being off route a few hundred yards later.

The Mohican Valley trail is mostly paved, although it did have some rough patches.  The highlight of this trail is the “Bridge of Dreams”.  This is the longest covered bridge in Ohio.  We caught a few pictures before continuing on.

Once on the Mohican Valley trail, we only had about 4-5 miles to our dinner stop in Danville. We stopped at The Hangout.  We each got a small(ish) steak and baked potato.  It was really yummy.  We had to kill some time before we could check into our AirBnB in Howard.  The Hangout was a good choice for that.

Leaving Danville, we picked up the Kokosing Gap Trail.  This is a really nicely paved trail that took us about a mile from our AirBnB stop.

Our accommodations here are really nice. Our host, Dave, has made us feel very at home in their restored farm house.  So, our laundry is now drying, we have showered, and it is getting very close to being bed time.

Tomorrow looks to be pretty toasty and we need to get to the SW side of Colubus before mass at 4:30.  So, it will be an early-to-bed and early rise tomorrow!


Day 1: Ohio to Erie ride – Cleveland to Massillon OH (71 miles)

We started our adventure with a nice breakfast at Alex and Lauren’s place.  We started a little later to allow the rush hour traffic to wind down.  Stephanie dropped us off at the Rock and Roll hall of fame and we grabbed a few pictures.  We saw a sign that said “bike tours start here”… Seemed like a great opportunity.

I gave Steph a hug and kiss goodbye as we departed southbound.  We went a few blocks south on the sidewalks of 9th street and stopped at the Cathedral to pass through the Holy Door.

As we left the Cathedral, the rain started.  It was a misty and cold rain that would be our constant companion for the next several hours.  We zig-zagged across city streets towards our next stop. We missed one turn and probably went about 1/2 mile out of our way and had to backtrack.

A few miles later, we made a small detour to visit the house from “A Christmas Story”.  We didn’t tour the house, just took a couple of pictures and resumed our trip.

A few miles later we finally reached the trailhead of the Ohio & Erie Canal.  This is a canal that carried cargo and passengers between the Ohio River and Lake Erie.  It ceased operations in 1912, but the former towpath has been turned into a hiker/biker trail.  Most of the surface was crushed limestone, with a few patches of pavement.  Even with the rain, it was pretty decent. It seems to drain well and the puddling wasn’t too bad.

We had an uneventful, albeit wet, trip down to Akron. There was a detour north of Akron that had probably a 10%+ grade to bypass a construction zone.  It was a little challenging, but we survived.

Upon arrival in Akron, we found that the path we were supposed to take was closed because of a parade to celebrate the Cavelier’s championship. The traffic control guy pretty rudely just told us to go a different way.  We had no idea where we were supposed to go.  We went into the city and were about to start looking for maps when a guy came up and offered to lead us to the canal.  We took him up on the offer and he took us over to the baseball stadium and the canal.  The normal canal path also had some detours.  It took a little discerning to figure out the right way to go:

We had quite a long way to go still.  We continued down the canal path.  The scenery was beautiful and the wildlife was plentiful. 

It took longer than we expected to get to Massillon.  The trail was slow and we started getting tired.  Finally, we arrived at our hotel close to 7PM.  A much needed shower and some wings for dinner finished off the evening.

Tomorrow’s weather looks pretty good.  It will be another 70 mile day, so we are hoping to get started much earlier and finish earlier.  We don’t really have any city riding or navigation tomorrow, so that should help as well.

Time for a much needed sleep!


A warm welcome to Cleveland

Today we traveled up to Cleveland to prepare for our ride.  Alex and Lauren are friends of ours who moved up to Cleveland.  They offered us a place to sleep tonight. We enjoyed visiting and talking. They bought an old home along the lakefront that they are fixing up.  Pretty neat.

We begin our trip tomorrow at the Rock and Roll hall of fame, heading south to Massillon.  Tomorrow’s weather is looking like it might be wet and stormy.  We looked up and found out that Saint Medard is the patron saint for avoiding bad weather. So, St. Medard will be our patron for the journey!

Here’s the general path we will cover over the next five days:

So it is time for some much needed sleep. St. Medard, pray for us.


2016 Bike Tour starts next week!

T-minus 7 days to the start of the 2016 bike tour.  This year, my friend Joe and I will be riding across Ohio.  We will be self-supported, just traveling by ourselves with our bikes and gear in panniers.

We have researched a bike route that starts in Cleveland and winds southwest to Cincinnati.  It is a combination of bike paths, country roads, and a little city riding.  We will generally be following “Ohio Bike Route 1”, also known as The Ohio to Erie bike trail.

On Thursday, we will begin our trip at the Lake Erie lakefront, starting at the Rock & Roll hall of fame, and finishing 5 days later in Covington, KY – just south of the Ohio River in Cincinnati.

Along the way, we are going to try to see two or three cathedral churches to pass through their Holy Doors that have been opened as part of the Year of Mercy.

Pray for our safety in travel.  I intend to blog a little as we go to share pictures and thoughts from the adventure.