We met at 0600 near the PIT airport and it took about 90 minutes to drive to the southern trailhead. We carried extra water bottles because there's really not any stores or water along the trail.
When we started we were joined by Bud, a bicyclist who is on the Board of the trail. It was great to have a knowledgeable trail guide for the first 25 miles.
This is an excellent trail: paved, flat, well built and very well maintained. There are several at-grade road crossings, and the local rule is the bikes have to stop because the cars will not be stopping. That seems contrary to the basic rules of the road (peds and bikes have right of way over cars), but they do a good job of advertising the policy. The trail is well marked.
Bud told us that in the town of Orwell, on 322 east of the trail, there's a good restaurant. In Austinburg there was a small convenience store and a trailside hot dog stand. Other than that, no supplies or water along the trail.
There is a bike shop about five blocks from the northern trailhead: B J Baker Bicycle Sales & Services, 996 West Prospect Road, Ashtabula, OH (440) 997-3486. There's also a bed-and-breakfast called The Guilded Swan near the northern trailhead.
We had lunch at Compadres Mexican Restaurant, very good food, good service, reasonable prices. We'd go back there again.
The trip back was very pleasant, we made good time without knocking ourselves out. There is a bit of overhead cover, but a lot of the trail is in sunshine at midday. We stopped at the curiously named town of Orwell to take this picture:
I wonder, in what manner is the town Orwellian? Are all the meals HappyMeals served by GoodFolk? Or has it gone the other way, is it a town of brutally accurate communication, bereft of euphemism?
When we got back to the southern trailhead, we continued on the trail to the southern terminus, and rode back to the parking lot. It seemed like since we were there, we should see the whole thing.
This was a very nice, bike-friendly 83 miles; this was not a soul-crushing hard ride. You could easily add another 17 miles to make it a Century.
- I should have charged up my smart phone while we were sitting in the restaurant