Archives for posts with tag: biking ohio

Day 14 on the bike. 65 miles. 5.5 hours. 772 miles completed. 385 miles to go.

It was 2 fast and furious rides; first to Circleville (where I got caught by rain) and then the second leg on to Chillicothe.

The rides started with a very narrow weather window. The fog didn’t lift until 8:30 am and rain was expected to blow in from the SW at 12 noon (but it came an hour earlier). Not much time to make the 43 miles to Circleville let alone the whole ride down to Chillicothe. So I pedalled madly.

It started with a bike ride down the entire length of the city of Columbus. And I got to say that seen from the perspective of High St., that I love this city. Very liveable. Beautiful architecture. Diverse neighborhoods. Authentic. No one managed to screw the pooch here with over-gentrification like with what has happened to so many cities across the US.

Imagine a pizza place called ‘Pharoh’s Pizza Palace’ or a pub called ‘The Village Idiot’ Charm and character with just the right amount of self-depreciation. And there was a big, grand cigar store! Civilized, brilliant! Closed, bastards!

Here now in Chillicothe I can see where this is the end of the road. The end of the straight road, the flat road, the city road, the farm road, the wilderness road, and the lake road.

Tomorrow starts the mountain road.




Day 14 [not] on the bike. 0 miles. 0 hours.

Rain day. So I am chilling at the Motel 6. Watching a marathon of bad TV. Eating fish and smoked oysters out of cans and drinking cheap whiskey (but only after 5 pm of course). I biked early this morning to the Asian grocery up the street and was surprised at how treacherous biking in the rain on wet streets in traffic can be.

So I am thankful to be out of the weather where I can catch up on laundry. I took advantage of a break in weather this afternoon to bike to the closest bike shop to replace my spare tube after yesterday’s flat tire. The owner, Dan Sherman, pointed out that my chain needed a little lube and I mentioned my front derailleur dumping the chain on the upshift so he made a minor tweak in the adjustment. Fine man who knew his stuff. One of those kind of people who knew what to do without being told. My kind of people.

And he told me that Hwy. 23 (called High St. through all of downtown) was all old Indian trail. It continues down through Chilllicothe onto the south and all the way to the river. So I look forward to biking tomorrow where I’ll be paying special attention to the vibes from the Indian signage along the way.

PS – Last summer when Sarah and I biked the N. Shore of Lake Superior we got the priviledge of walking a short bit of the Grand Portage. The Grand Portage is an 8 mile long portage that got the local native people from time immemorial passage around the last long stretch of big waterfalls and rapids on the Pigeon River before it flowed into Lake Superior. 18th century trappers used the same conveyance to transport their furs and in the doing opened up the northern territitories for future settlement. Their birchbark canoes – technology borrowed from the natives – was the enabling critical technology. Nothing would have happened without the birchbark canoe.

One only has to see the country to realize what tough men these natives and trappers were. So to touch these native trails, like the legendary Grand Portage, is to tread in the footsteps of giants.

Day 12 on the bike. 75 miles. 6.5 hours.

Great weather. Good roads. Still, a long and tiring bike.The fact is that I can think of many good reasons to bail on this whole stupid bike ride. The scenery is rural as in farm country. All I see is corn and soybeans. I get up and bike my ass off. And the rewards are bad food, uninspiring scenery, nobody to talk to, more bad food (fast food), and then a motel where there is nothing but bad TV and cheap whiskey with which to end the day.

So what is the upside? I don’t know if there is one.

So why am I going to get up tomorrow and bike? Damned if I know.

And tomorrow looks like it could be a bad day. Why? There is no clear route to Columbus. And there appears to be no other next stop destination that doesn’t include Columbus.

A guy asked me today why I was riding a bike? Did I lose my job?

No. I lost my mind.

Day 11 on the bike. 65 miles. 6 hours. OHIO.

The 30 miles down to Adrian was smooth sailing and I made it in record time. The weather was perfect. Road conditions were perfect. And I was pumped up on 2 coffees and 12 ounces of non-fat yogurt.

The ride became hard as soon as I turned onto Hwy. 223. For some strange reason there was an easterly headwind that I fought for the next 2 hours. And the traffic was horrible. The shoulder diminished to something like 2 feet. And then on an upshift to the large chain ring, the chain fell off.

But a short hour or so later and life was on an uptick as I was then chilling at the Motel 6 Toledo with the other desperados. Looking out my window I see an ancient Toyota held together in places with duct tape and a vintage ’80s Lincoln Town Car ate up with a little rust and minus the driver’s side hub caps.

But who was I to throw rocks? I rolled into town on an old bike with 2 mismatching shopping bags stabbed into the rear wire basket panniers looking for all the world to see like a fleeing homeless person. Bicycle chain grease smeared on both hands and all four limbs. Unshaven and a sopping wet bandana tied around my head.

And I just finished washing out a t-shirt in the sink using bar soap. It was positively frightening to think just how well I fit in.