Monday, September 7, 2015

Day 42, September 5: shady character (pix added 9/8)

Elyria, OH to Newton Falls, OH
Trip distance: 81.7 miles
Total trip distance: 2477.3 miles
Average speed: 12.7 mph
Maximum speed: 32.6 mph
Riding time: 6:26
Weather: I started at 8:10 AM with a temperature of 67° and a dew point of 61°. It was sunny all day and the temperature reached the upper 80s while the dew point was in the mid 60s to low 70s. The wind was inconsequential although I had a nice 5 to 10 mph tailwind for the final 8 miles.
Terrain: uphill 3402 feet, downhill 3195 feet. The profile below shows that as I moved away from the Lake Erie I gained elevation, climbed a big hill, and then went in and out of the Cuyahoga River Valley (the valley is centered on the 40-mile mark). After that I followed several rail trails, did a series of small to medium hills, and finished with a gradual descent.

The Greater Cleveland area can be defined in several ways. The metropolitan statistical area, which is shown below by the tan-colored counties, is the most common way to compare US cities, and Cleveland ranks 21st with about 2 million people in 2012. The broadest definition is the combined statistical area, which includes all of the colored counties below, and in this category Cleveland ranks 15th with about 3.5 million people in 2013. My route began in Elyria, which is shown in Lorain County. I then went through Cuyahoga and Summit Counties, and finished in Newton Falls, a little east of the City of Ravenna in Portage County.

Source: Greater Cleveland.

One of Cleveland's nicknames is Forest City. The name fits well from my perspective because I rode through a lot of shade. It was the shadiest day of my trip, with well over half of the ride along shady streets and bikeways, something I was grateful for on this very muggy and sunny day. The only other day that came close for shade was Day 37 across northern Indiana, where I estimated the shade to be between a quarter and a third of the ride. The routes on these two days both went through fairly densely populated areas as well as metropolitan fringe areas--both types of areas have the resources and desire for extensive bike trail networks.

I was a little apprehensive about biking on a Saturday through a major urban area, but most of the streets on my route were quiet and I spent a lot of time on Metro Parks bike trails away from traffic.

Looking down on the Cascade Falls of the West Branch of the Black River, in Elyria.
Bicycle recycled as a planter on Sprague Road in Olmsted Falls, a Cleveland suburb.

I rode on a 7-mile section of parkway and bike trail along the East Branch of the Rocky River. This photo was taken in the Mill Stream Run Reservation.

Cairns at Chippewa Creek, which runs onto the Cuyahoga River near Brecksville. At Brecksville, I began a 20-mile stretch on parkway bike lanes and bike trails. 

View from the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
I then began a big climb out of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, as seen below on a segment of my Cyclemeter map, to get to the Summit Metro Parks Bike & Hike Trail.

This map gives a sense of the depth (~350 feet) of the Cuyahoga River valley. I 80 and I 271 have dramatic bridges over the gorge.

Google Maps routed me onto a closed road. This photo was taken near the 44-mile mark in the previous map. 

This is part of the closed road referred to in the previous photo. The combination of steepness and crumbling asphalt forced me to get off my bike and walk up the hill.
This self serve stand, based on an honor system of pay, was a welcome sight after climbing out of the Cuyahoga River valley on a muggy day. The stand accommodates dogs too, as seen on the lower left of this photo and in the photo below.

The Summit Metro Parks Bike & Hike Trail, like most rail trails is long and straight, but this one is mostly in the shade.

Sandstone outcrops, or more technically, Sharon Conglomerate rock walls of the Boston Ledges, on the Summit Metro trail. They are evidence that we have left the lake plain and entered a new landform region, the Glaciated Allegheny Plateaus.

My route went from the Huron-Erie Lake Plains to the Glaciated Allegheny Plateaus. The former is part of the Central Lowland which extends west to the Rockies while the Glaciated Allegheny Plateaus are part of the Appalachian Plateaus which extend from New York to Alabama. (Map is from Wikipedia article on Ohio)
View of swamp from Summit Metro Parks Bike &Hike Trail, near Stow, OH.

Ravenna's 150' flagpole in the Portage County courthouse square is modeled after the Eiffel Tower. It was one of the highest flagpoles in the country in the late 19th century.

Ravenna car show entrants.
I ended the day with some hills, bringing the day's climbing total to 3402 feet, the 5th highest total of the 30 days so far. I stayed in Newton Falls, OH that night but regretted it. The Econolodge was neat and had friendly and competent employees, but my room smelled strongly of a cleaning agent and I woke up with a headache. If I would have pushed on nine miles to Warren, OH I could have stayed in a hotel right on the historic courthouse square :(


  1. BD#2, sweet - you are almost home. Quite the adventure. Great blog too - good insight into the territory you covered. The 119 mile day seems like a new personal record for a single day's ride. -- BD#1

  2. BD#1, I did make it home. Very glad you were able to share three days of the trip with me. I did have one longer day, though--on August 10 I went 126 miles from Hettinger, ND to Mobridge, SD. BD#2