Friday, June 15, 2012
A special cycling trail in Ohio...
Thursday, June14, 2012
Since the June edition of Ohio Sport and Fitness hit the stands featuring me and my obesity busting triathlon story, I’ve been doing some work on the bike route I intend to take and create around the perimeter of the state of Ohio – a trip of roughly 1,000 miles.
Part of my inspiration for the triathlon is to create something permanent for people interested in improving their fitness through outdoor recreational opportunities. As a life long cycling advocate and knowing the value and ease of this sport, I believe it will be the most important leg of my triathlon and provide the greatest chance to make something special and lasting from my efforts. I was inspired by the stories I’d heard from Kim Lorentz last summer as she traveled a large portion of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail from Akron to California. The TransAmerica Trail was created in 1976 for cyclists and in honor of America’s 200th birthday. It stretches 4,250 miles from Yorktown, Va. To Astoria, Oregon. Along the way, she and other riders following this trail, take advantage of the City Parks in the states of Missouri, Kansas and Colorado where communities offer up space for cyclists to pitch tents, catch showers and use city swimming pools at that end of a hard day of riding…and in most cases, without charge. These communities take pride in inviting cyclists and providing these amenities, likely for a variety of reasons. Clearly, there is some economic value to having thousands of cyclist, many with disposable income, stay overnight in your town. They are very likely to catch a meal, buy supplies for the road, send souveneirs home, and generally find a way to thank their hosts by spending a little money. To hear Kim talk about it, they were a Godsend on days when temperatures regularly climbed above 100. And it wasn’t just the City Park availabiltiy that intrigued me, but stories Kim shared about residents inviting cyclists into their homes for a home-cooked meal or an opportunity to sleep overnight in an air conditioned room. The level of trust and openness gave me a thrill…a part of America I’d be proud to call home.
It is my objective to create something similar in Ohio. I’ve looked over the course I intend to travel and know that there will be limited opportunities to find tent camping along the way. State parks offering this amenity are few and far between, and at $40 a night, a little pricy. I’ve yet to determine the exact route I’ll travel, but I know I’ll pass through hundreds of communities on the trek and I have to believe that some would invite this kind of opportunity. In fact, I’ll check first to determine the interest of the concept before selecting the final route. I take pride in being an Ohioan and can't imagine that Kansas, Missouri or Colorado have anything on us when it comes to friendliness and supporting recreational opportunities. I truly expect that someday we’ll boast a trail that many will travel and enjoy and will be a strong supporter of safe cycling.