Part three of the DC to Cincinnati ride, covering the northern half of the Ohio to Erie Trail from Cleveland to Columbus. A new trail brings new adventures crossing the entire state of Ohio. But will detours and headwinds put a snag in my plans?
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DC to Cincinnati – Ohio to Erie Trail North
Pedalshift Society folks! Stay on the bonus feed and you’ll get a special bonus pod with each episode… kind of a summary of my thoughts on that part of the route! If you join Pedalshift Society at any point in the run, you’ll get access – pedalshift.net/society. Also, I’m riding the Oregon coast a bit soon, so I might record some audio out there… look for it in the feed!
Mark your calendars – Pedalpalooza – Friday, June 14th in Portland, OR. Details coming soon and also at pedalshift.net/events. Sprocket, Joyride, Go Dig a Hole and more of your favorite shows repping on bikes with mics!
- Hotel night was the right call – it wasn’t a full recharge but it was necessary to pull off this morning’s moves.
- Had to do some client work at the hotel and get it all in before the WiFi totally went down. Got lucky!
- Lows were in the upper 40s which is the real comfort limit of my sleeping gear… not sure if this is going to continue but we’ll see
- My route from the hotel brought me by the closest of my assessed wild camping spots – turned out to be swampy and totally unsuitable. Google Earth can only tell so much!
- Kent State is a gorgeous campus – really wish I had had the energy to hang out in the town. I like many college towns and the vibe.
- Bus stop at the student center was totally unmarked but I took the chance to start unloading and then a rider came by.
- Very thankful for the heads up from the KSU alum! The bus had no rack and I would have freaked out had I not been told they let bikes in the back.
- Really cold in Cleveland – I was fine but my mindset has been more summery conditions and this tour has been anything but that.
- Rolled out of the city center toward OTET MM 0 and discovers Cleveland Bagels. They were legit for this Empire State native who had a favorite bagel shop in law school called “Hot Bagels.” Was nice to have a view of Lake Erie while I had an everything bagel and a cup of coffee.
- Was excited to see a bike station with a pump and it managed to just deflate my tire – oh well, hand pump to the rescue..
- Getting out of Cleveland was so-so. It’s signed at some points but could use some more “HEY! This is a trail that goes to Cincinnati! Also, turn here cause the trails not done yet!”
- One downside to my go go go schedule is I’m missing out on spending time in cool places. Future tours will be much more about hanging out I think
- Stopped for a second breakfast and the place was playing You Are the Girl by The Cars (an oddly deep cut that’s not even on their greatest hits album) so I played a bunch of them as I headed south. The. Nirvana unplugged because I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately.
- Wow is the trail through Cuyahoga Valley NP nice! Very compact (if rutted in parts) and effortlessly fast. Reminds me very much of the Erie Canal towpath near where I grew up.
- Big detours throughout with huuuuge steep hills.
- And then… a closure with no detour! Thanks to PSS member Lisa Hart for bailing me out… I figured out a way around but since I was staying with her and her husband tonight they graciously offered to pick me up at the outage and take me to the next trailhead.
- And then I had a wonderful evening chatting biking with Lisa, her friend and fiancé- super appreciated!
- Tomorrow I’m ten miles behind on what was supposed to be a 65 mile day. Audibles will be called…
- Super great breakfast prepared by Lisa’s fiancé then a drop off where I could resume after the closure
- Summit County Trail was great… quality drops a bit in Stark County, but not that bad
- Missed getting ice cream (closed) in Canal Fulton, so pressed on to Massillon for food. Michigan guys are on the road route between trail segments so I anticipate running into them midway?
- Still unsure on destination- going to my original camp isn’t out of he question but the impending rain may have something to say about that.
- Stealth camp!
- Rain came down relatively hard for a few hours overnight – unlike Confluence I didn’t have the condensation issue and I was happy and dry.
- Stealth spot was close to perfect. There was a little exposure to the cemetery side if I stood up and my head came above the pile of downed trees, but the park side was perfectly camouflaged. It was clearly a drinking spot for locals so I cleared a bag full of cans and bottles, leaving the space better than I found it.
- It takes me up to 40 minutes to break camp and I think I need to figure out a quicker system. The trick is I need access to most panniers and two dry bags, so I essentially need to totally unload. Also getting the bags inside the tent is a good idea since they’re so damn ORANGE 👍
- Hit the closed Wendy’s for WiFi so I had a full podcast load, then went to the gas station to get breakfast and coffee. They had a nice cafe set up so I could sit inside and not feel rushed.
- I was about to cycle Amish country so I’m starting to see men with the signature hats, beards and suspenders. I’ll talk more about that as I cycle the trails south of here – there’s a unique setup!
- Only 50 miles and cool cloudy weather so the plan was to eat, relax and tackle the road portion early and casually. Midpoint of the ride was Millersburg and I heard good things about the Millersburg Brewing Co.
- Had a very weak signal so this might not get posted until the 11th buuuut…
- Forgot to mention the road route from this morning – it’s really not bad at all. Rolling hills and maybe a steep one here or there but not intimidating at all.
- Contrast that with the road route later after Killbuck which was really meh in comparison. No real views, a non-existent shoulder and a terrible headwind. I was happy to get back on the trail. It continues the “all paved day” theme but had an interesting topographic layout – a long 3 mile uphill followed by a sloping multi mile downhill. Kind of a nice change of pace.
- Called ahead and left a message regarding camping at Bridge of Dreams. It’s no nonsense – patch of grass, a picnic shelter and a port a potty. But great for me! I made dinner using my cool kit for the first time the entire trip. Was low on water but I’m pretty sure there’s a town close by tomorrow to supply up.
- Back to the suburbs and the city tomorrow as I hit Columbus!
- Fell asleep well before sunset and woke up a few times… once to the sound of a buggy rolling by and the other around 3:30 when the real cold set in. Was able to sleep again here and there til about 7. Feel really refreshed.
- Trails are super fast and all paved here. Great riding!
- Aired up the tires and took off a couple of reflectors from my pedals that had lost their nuts and were creaking away in Gambier. Realized later that was the town where Kenyon College is – have some friends who went there. Really nice!
- Ran into Tom who reached out and does marketing for the OTET. We chatted a bit with his group and he took a picture of me and my loaded up bike.
- Taking a break in Mt Vernon with an eye for a beer in Westerville. Not much riding from there to my Airbnb in Columbus so I figure that will work out fine!
- Rest of the day went super fast. Lost track of the number of trails, but the Heart of Ohio (HOOT!) was a highlight.
- Beautiful road route today through farmland. Maybe one of the nicer road sections? Tons of farms and very fast. I played old hip hop and it was a nice juxtaposition to the views. Somehow it worked!
- Westerville had a decent beer spot and a great frozen custard stop. Nice town and super close to Columbus.
- My Airbnb host needed a few extra minutes before she could meet me for check in, which was perfect for getting laundry done at a local laundromat.
- Playing catch-up on social media tonight – FB in particular. May have a chance to ride a little with a listener tomorrow on a relatively short day to London.
Bike Miles 153
Bus miles 39
Detour portaged miles 1? (THANK YOU LISA!)
Camping nights 2
Stealth nights 1
Roofed nights 2
Number of everything bagels eaten that I thought would be just ok, but were outstanding 2
Mile Marker 44s Easter Egged 1
C cities 2
You’ve been hearing about Jason Kent and his music for many fine episodes. Their latest album may be their best yet. Go get it.