Open Google Maps, set it to show Northeast Ohio, and then toggle the option to show “Bicycling.” Watch the map light up with trails, bike lanes, and more. As anyone who lives in The Plus already knows, we’re surrounded with green space full of trails for all to explore, including cyclists! For those of us who live in one of our region’s great cities, we know there is plenty of asphalt for everyone.
First, let’s head down to Cleveland’s urban Flats. This neighborhood is truly mixed use, home to industrial, residential, commercial, and natural areas. Slowly but surely, a new route called the Lake Link Trail is forging a path for pedestrians and cyclists from some of Cleveland’s densest neighborhoods directly to Lake Erie.
That trail will soon connect to what is perhaps Northeast Ohio’s most famous trail: the nearly complete, 80+ mile Towpath. It runs down the spine of Northeast Ohio from Cleveland through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Akron all the way to New Philadelphia with only a few segments left to be completed.
Heading west, cyclists can enjoy a dedicated trail through the entirety of Rocky River Reservation. Zooming down into a river valley and surrounded by tall trees and soaring cliffs, it’s impossible not to take a deep breath and feel so darn lucky to live in Northeast Ohio.
Now, let’s go east. Rockefeller Park. From I-90 to University Circle, cycling through Rockefeller Park is a quintessential experience for anyone who lives in The Plus. Cleveland’s Cultural Gardens grace both sides of the park, which is bisected by Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. True wonders of architecture and landscaping come together to celebrate the many people who call Cleveland home.
Heading to my old stomping grounds in college, I highly recommend the Freedom Trail and the Portage Hike and Bike Trail. These traverse across Summit and Portage counties and through downtown Kent’s beautiful Fred Fuller park (if you didn’t know, the Cuyahoga River runs through here!). You can ride for miles!
This one is for hikers. If you’re interested in some off-the-beaten-path exploration, head to the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area in Wayne County. A thriving swamp ecosystem criss-crossed by tiny (and bumpy!) roads, it seems straight out of a fantasy book. I grew up near here in Wooster, and I spent many summer evenings listening to the crickets and tree frogs. There is a four-mile long walking trail within the area.
I hope this list inspires you to get outside and enjoy all that Northeast Ohio has to offer for cyclists.
Riding a bike is great exercise and totally carbon-neutral – a win-win for everyone.
Remember, no matter where you ride: always obey traffic laws, wear a helmet, slather on some sunscreen, and enjoy!