Category Archives: Girl Power

Next Adventure: North Bend Trail West Virginia

 

North Bend Trail Adventure

 

The North Bend Rail Trail is on my list for Bike 2018. With a family reunion following on a 4 day weekend in July, my little wheels started spinning. This also had to involve a dinner at Cafe Cimino (2nd best meal we ever had) and the reunion.

Where is the North Bend Trail?

The North Bend Trail stretches from Parkersburg to Clarksburg West Virginia, in the northern part of the state. It’s parallel, more or less to Route 50. The North Bend Rail Trail offers a scenic experience with splendid railroad elements and welcoming trail towns to be enjoyed. Stretching nearly 72 miles from Interstate 77 near Parkersburg (Cedar Grove) to Wolf Summit, the trail travels through an impressive 13 tunnels (10 passable), crosses 36 bridges, and passes through or near an assortment of state, county, and local parks.

Not Highly Developed

The trail link entry mentions this should be done on a mountain bike, as many sections are dirt, grass, unmown grass. In otherwords, this is not going to be a beautiful asphalt, coasting along bike route.

From all intel gathered, the NBT needs a bunch of work. There are not many towns along the NBT-and the towns that are nearby, these are tiny towns! Like population under a 1000 people small!  Without folks interested in the trail, there are no trail maintainers.

There has been a feasability study released by Rails to Trails Conservancy about the possible Parkersburg to Pittsburgh (the P2P) trail. The 238-mile Parkersburg to Pittsburgh (P2P) rail-trail is already nearly 80 percent complete; just a few short gaps exist in West Virginia to unlock a contiguous 150-miles-plus stretch of the rail-trail from Parkersburg to the state’s border with Pennsylvania. Linking up with the Great Allegheny Passage Trail could also mean you could bike from Washington DC to Parkersburg West Virginia!

What is my Plan?

The trail is 72 miles long. A popular method is to bike 29 miles and then spend the night at Norrth Bend State Park-my orginial plan. The Lodge is booked! Plan Two!

If you ever travelled between Parkersburg and Clarksburg, it’s a great four lane highway. There are just a few tiny towns.  There does happen to be a Sleep Inn in Ellenboro, about 40 miles from Parkersburg which happened to have a room available.

I will be dropped off at the Parkersburg end of the trail, bike to Ellenboro, spend the night there, and finish the 30 miles the next day in Clarksburg.

What Will I Ride?

Helga and Me

I am taking Helga! My beloved fat bike. She will need a bit of work. I need to get the fenders up on her. I also need to make sure I can carry my front handlebar bag.

Helga at the Beach

I may also swap out my Terry saddle to Helga. I’ve not biked long distances on Helga. I need to get a few long distances up on Helga.

Ever ride the North Bend Trail in West Virginia?

Conclusions on Ohio to Erie Bike Trail Tour

My conclusions on biking from CIncinnati to Cleveland

 

Time sure goes quickly! Here are my conclusions, tips, lessons learned while riding the Ohio to Erie Bike Trail 2018:

1. Just go do it.

I was completely undertrained for this ride-or was I? Maybe I was overtrained for last summer CO/GAP trip? My longest ride was 34 miles this spring, cold weather dimmed my opportunities and desires to make it outside for long rides. I did ride my trainer about every day for one hour. I don’t know what *mileage* that would work out to.

2. Less Would Be More

I pushed myself mileage on this journey. I knew I was going to do more than one seventy mile day. Could I do it? Sure, I knew I could, I just didn’t know how tired I would be. 40 or 50 mile days would have been more pleasant, with more time to kick around, if one could afford that *time away*.

3.  More Trails Being Added All The Time

It is impressive how much bike trail there is in Ohio. There are more areas in Ohio developing. I’ve come to realize how versatile and valuable bike/walk/rail trails can be to a community-both for the physical health and the economic (tourism) for Ohio.

4. Resources

The number one resource is the Ohio to Erie Trail Organization maps. The set of 4 is about fifteen dollars.  Another resource, printed recently, is a book about the route, “A Path Through Ohio-A Cyclist’s Guide to the Ohio to Erie Trail”  2nd Edition, by Mark Looney.  Third resource would be to read bike reports from the Crazy Guy on a BIke Website. Crazy Guy is a web site devoted to bike touring. BIke touring reports are very interesting to read! But a caveat! Only read the most recent, like Looney’s 2nd edition, for good intel. The OTET has changed route parts, so a 2009 route is nothing like the 2018 route. For example, part of the OTET through Columbus used to use the Olentangy BIke Trail, now it uses the Alum Creek Trail.

5. Want to Ride The Ohio to Erie Trail Supported?

OTET has a fully supported ride every September! So if you don’t want to carry all your stuff, want company, and a place to sleep every night, check out the Ohio to Erie Adventure Ride!

6. My Trip Report, Day by Day

Here is my five day trip report:

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Ohio to Erie Trail Day Five Reaching The Lake

Ohio to Erie Trail

 

Early Morning Start Massillon


Ohio Erie Towpath

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.

C&O Towpath

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.

Barberton Ohio Erie Towpath

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!

Henry

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.

Kim Henry

 

Cleveland Metropark

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!)

STeelyard Commons

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!

Lake Erie

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!

Lake Erie Ohio to Erie Trail

Myka’s Poses

 

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!

Next Adventure Ohio to Erie Trail

Next Adventure Ohio to Erie Trail

I wasn’t going to concentrate on my next adventure, the Ohio to Erie Bike Tour, until the Buckeye Trailfest was complete. I turned the calendar page over to May-and there it was, staring me in the face-about three weeks away!

The Ohio to Erie Trail

A primarily off-street recreational trail from the Ohio River to Lake Erie, the Ohio to Erie Trail spans the state of Ohio from Cincinnati to Cleveland for the most part following lands formerly occupied by railroads and canals. The collection of regional trails connects four of Ohio’s metropolitan cities, a dozen large towns and numerous small villages – all done on easily accessible, paved trails that are primarily separated from highways and automobiles.  The entire Route 1 is complete. The total distance as of  June, 2017 is 326 miles.

Just Do It

I procrastinated last fall and lost my days off opportunity to bike the Ohio to Erie Trail. Then I felt quite bummed about it. I decided I would bike the Ohio to Erie Trail-henceforth known as OTET-in the first quarter of 2018.

Biking Miles

I have a local bike trail which is 7 miles long. This is my training trail. When I returned to it last week after Trailfest, I was pleasantly surprised to see SPRING had arrived. Everything is greening up nicely.

Bike Trail

I’ve been getting out there as much as I can. Yesterday was my longest ride to date, 34 miles. Given that my daily mileage is gong to be about double that, I’m a bit leery of the commitment I have made to bike the OTET in five days.

Greenery Spring

Solo

This is to be a solo adventure. I can’t see the husband hanging out every day in Ohio when we live in Ohio. I hope he joins me for the last night, then wanders around northern Ohio as I bike to Lake Erie.

Credit Card Camping

I am going to stay in hotels/friends homes for this trip. I don’t have to then worry about carrying a tent and everything that goes with camping outside.

Itinerary

Cinti to Cedarville

Cedarville to Columbus

Columbus to Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon to Massilion

Massilion to Cleveland

Next up, What to Bring on my Five Day Adventure!

Day Late for Opening Day for Trails

greatguernseytrailapril

 

I fully planned on getting outside on Saturday for “Opening Day” promoted by the Rails to Trails Conservancy, yet I woke up to this!Snow in April

Snow in April

It wasn’t going to warm up and I wasn’t going to fight wet clumpy snow on the Towpath, so I bailed. My Opening Day would have to be postponed.

A Day Late

Sunday I was determined to get training accomplished. It was going to be a high of 40, but nice and sunny outside. I drove to my local Great Guernsey Trail, a six-mile now seven mile bike trail!

greatguernseytrailapril

Two Laps

With our constant spring snow and cold temperatures, our landscapes are still very much brown. Hence not much to look at while you bike along. I listened to podcasts. “Chasing Creativity” “The Hamilcast” accompanied me today.

greatguernseytrailapril

Very few folks out this sunny Sunday, a few walkers, two runners, and at the end of my ride, two bundled up cyclists.

I was starting to get rather cold at the end of my ride, but I managed to get a solid 24 miles in. I’m planning on riding the Ohio to Erie Trail at the end of May, so I need to get time in the saddle in!

greatguernseytrailapril

#RTCOpeningDay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Biking the Panhandle Trail

The Panhandle Trail

Panhandle Trail

The Panhandle Trail is a Rails to Trail stretching from Weirton West Virginia east to Carnegie, Pennsylvania, about 29 miles long. Weirton WV is about an hour drive for me, so that was my starting point.

West Virginia Start

Panhandle Trail

It was easy to find the trail head in Weirton. I got all my gear assembled. I only forgot my chapstick. Off I went! The WV portion of the trail is limestone/dirt. The first mile was a bit muddy, as there had been a good rainstorm two days ago. Panhandle Trail  I knew the trail had a gradual uphill incline in this eastward direction. I still felt kind of sluggish. It started out being a nice bluebird blue sky ride.

On to Pennsylvania

There was the photo op at the state border.  Panhandle TrailI was pleasantly surprised to see the asphalt begin!  I started biking a bit quicker.Panhandle Trail

How I Fared

It was a good ride. It was a bit cold, yet I could feel myself sweating. There seemed to be a headwind both ways, how does that work?

Panhandle Trail

I greatly under fueled for the ride. I am actively trying to follow Weight Watchers, and only brought a string cheese and some Vanilla Wafers as fuel. As in running, I saw more folks close to where the trail heads were.Panhandle Trail

The sun disappear and the skies clouded over. WIth the bit of wind that picked up,  I was glad I had worn what I had: a tech shirt, a long sleeve biking jersey, with a stretchy blue jacket over that. I swapped out my sweaty buff on the way back for my wool buff. I did use of my paniers to carry my bike repair, spare bottle of water, too little food, and my spare buff. I was glad to have my full biking gloves on.

Panhandle Trail

The Panhandle is a very nice trail. It is out in the open, so I could only imagine it’s hot in the summer.

Panhandle Trail

I biked 15 miles out and back, 30 miles is my biggest effort for the year-so I am a bit tired now!

Lessons Learned on the Fat Bike Today

Today I finally got my butt outside and rode Helga! We went around the block, 7 miles. It took me less time than I expected. I’m more out of shape than I thought.

Lessons Learned on the Fat Bike Today

Lessons Learned in the Fat Bike Today

Get correct size cycling booties

The temperature was about 36F when I started my ride. I decided to try out my neoprene shoe covers, similar to these Pearl iZUMi Pro Barrier WXB MTB Shoe Cover 
to see if these would keep my feet warm. I believe I did not buy the right size, even though I bought a Large. I couldn’t get the shoe covers to attach in the back. Walking up the first hill, the left one pretty much detached and flopped along. I took it off and stuffed it in my pocket.If I can’t figure out if these are the right size, I’m going to take my friend’s advice and wear plastic baggies over my feet, under my sock. Same principal and cheaper. (The ride warmed up and it wasn’t even applicable.)

Wear Protective Lenses

As I rode down my first hill, I noticed the mud spattering all the way TO MY FACE! I knew I would get muddy, but didn’t expect to have mud on my face, in my mouth-and then-SPLASH-mud in the eye!

Why didn’t I wear my biking (safety glasses) or at least sunglasses with my contacts? It wasn’t sunny, so I didn’t see the need for them. Now I do!  Glasses will keep mud out of your eyes! And bugs!

Fenders Can Be Beneficial

I knew I was going to get muddy, but I didn’t anticipate HOW muddy I would be. Fenders are looking like a very good purchase for Helga in the very near future.

Lessons Learned on the Fat Bike Today

Get Something to Cover your Water Bottle With

I ride a muddy township road. We live among the Amish who also travel these roads. The Amish drive buggies, powered by horses. Horses leave their road apples everywhere. So that mud splashing up on me is not just mud, it’s mixed up with horse manure. Which led to me looking at my water bottle:

Lessons Learned on the Fat Bike TodayEw! I tried wiping off the little nozzle and just squirting the water into my mouth, not touching it to my lips. Next time, I think I might cover the top with a plastic baggie, therefore keeping the spout of it clean for me. Better safe than sorry.

I Need to Get Outside More

I had fun out there even with the mud splatters and pushing my bike up all the hills. I was pleasantly tired after, which means I need to go bike more!