Early Morning Start Massillon
I was eating breakfast at 6am at the Hampton Inn and out the door at 630am. There were 70 miles to arrive at Lake Erie.
Most of today’s miles would be on the C&O Towpath. I have previously biked 50 or so miles on the trail, this would be mainly familiar territory to me.
The section from Massillon to Barberton was a portion I had not biked. I got to yell at my first human through here. He was walking, looking at his phone, I was trying to pass on the left, he almost veered right into me.
Next gaggle of humans was a running race in Canal Fulton. Now I’m a previous runner, so I had the moral high ground here. They were not running yet, just walking to the start line. It’s amazing the dirty looks I got as I rang my bell and yelled “passing on your left! passing on your left! Still passing on your left!”
I got away from the humans (my goal for the entire bike ride) and the towpath was almost deserted in the 9am hour. Soon I was at Summit Lake, where the towpath goes across a huge boardwalk.
I’ve biked through Akron before. They have good signage through here. You go right behind the baseball stadium for the Akron Ducks.
I now run into my second running race! This is the “Bold and Bright” Color Run. Luckily, I’ve blundered into the very back of the pack, so it’s just walking. I carefully steer my way through the colorful runners/walkers, and am happy when the race veers off into Lock Three and I exit Akron.
It’s a nice downhill out of Akron, to the planned detour which won’t be complete for another year, and back to familiar towpath for me.
Lots of folks are out around the Beaver Marsh.
I can see the interstate bridge and know I am close to Boston Store. This is the new bridge that was just reopened right before my trip.
The other detour is at Hunt Farm which was advertised on the NPS website. No problem, I pull out onto Riverview Road. I bike up the road, and then re-enter the towpath where construction equipment has put in a temporary driveway. By the amount of bikers in this section, I’m not the only one doing this.
New Territory for Me
This is the farthest north I’ve biked on the towpath, the Route 82 bridge, onto new territory for me!
I’ve been in contact with a friend from the Buckeye Trail Association, Henry. He is a long time biker and offered to meet me around Cleveland and escort me to Lake Erie. I’ve been sending him texts with location updates, and he meets up with me just south of Harvard Blvd.
The Cleveland Metroparks starts about Rockside Road. The trail is all asphalt here. These are the two new bridges that cost slightly over budget, Henry tells me.
Henry is a great tour guide! He keeps telling me history of the area, the trail, local Cleveland news. He points out the former Crawshaw Plant that refined uranium in WWII, and the ground is contaminated and can’t be moved around. (Sounds like the Peter Cartridge Factory in Loveland!)
We come to the end of the bike trail as it is know. Now we will be heading through Tremont and other local landmarks, like the “Cleveland Sign” and West Side Market on our way to Edgewater Park.
The Cleveland Sign
Henry suggests we stop and take pictures at the Cleveland sign!
No Pictures Through West Side Market!
I had printed out maps to maneuver through the streets to the lake. With Henry as my guide, I just had to follow Henry. Henry is a bit more confident and risk taking thru busy Cleveland streets! I just blindly followed him and tried to keep up! My energy was starting to lag a bit-I’d been riding my bike since 630 am, and he told me the final bit to Edgewater was a downhill-and it was!
I did it! I biked from the Ohio River to Lake Erie! I decided to roll my bike up onto the pier for my official picture. As I didn’t do the dip the tire in the south, I wasn’t concerned about doing it in the north!
Boy was I ready to be done riding my bike! I will have some conclusions about my trip. The Ohio to Erie Trail is a good way to see Ohio!