Monday, April 23

Cleveland to Pittsburgh ride report

Since moving here, I've wanted to ride from my parents' house on the east side of Cleveland back to Pittsburgh.  I finally had a chance to do that this weekend.

My route started in Chagrin Falls, zig-zagged east and south through Ohio, crossed the PA line, continued down to Beaver, then followed the Ohio River back to the City.  Here's a map for more detail:

Rolling out from my parents' house at 8:30 Sunday morning, the temperature was in the low 40's with a persistent wind from the north and occasional drizzle.  I headed toward the town of Mantua to pick up a rail trail, but had difficulty finding the trailhead.  Eventually I stumbled on a trail that was better suited to a cross bike.

After a mile or so on the trail, I passed through a residential neighborhood.  Riding by a fenced-in yard, I saw what appeared to be three dogs heading toward me.  Looking again, I realized that A) these were awfully big dogs, B) they were moving in complete silence, and C) their faces seemed unusually pointed. At the same time I realized they were wolves, one of them reached the end of the fence, bared his teeth, snarled, and took a big bite into the chainlink.  I didn't stick around to see if they could jump the fence.

After a few miles the trail unexpectedly petered out, forcing me to detour onto the road and adding several miles to the trip.  Continuing through Ohio, I passed through Newton Falls, picked up the Mill Creek bike path outside of Lordstown, and made my way down to Columbiana.  It was fun riding some of the same roads as the Tour of the Valley road race.

Heading east, I crossed the PA state line outside of Negley, OH.  The state line marker offered a good photo-op.  The marker might be crumbling, but at least it's landscaped!

Distracted by daydreams of the Starbucks in Beaver, I unknowingly made a wrong turn at the 100-mile mark.  It took me a good four miles to realize my mistake, adding another 8 miles roundtrip to the day.  On the bright side, my espresso and scone were even more delicious when I finally made it into Beaver.

From there, it was a "short" 30 mile trip up the Ohio River back to the city.  The temperature hadn't improved much since starting out that morning, and the drizzle was near-constant from Beaver onward.  Fortunately I layered adequately that morning, and never really felt cold during the ride.

Rolling into Station Square, the Pittsburgh skyline was a sight for sore eyes (and butt).  By the time I rolled up to my front door at 7:00, I had covered a total of 150 miles.  Mission accomplished!

 Thanks for reading!

- Kevan

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