Going through my Flickr photos, I realized I haven't posted about my cycling trip to Cleveland, Ohio, in May of 2007. So, in case anyone is interested....
I was in Cleveland for nearly a week researching at the John G. White Collection at the Cleveland Public Library, the largest collection of chess literature in the world - the collection has more than 35000 items. Having been riding for a couple of months, I was determined to keep riding even in a city 400 some miles from my home, so I made arrangements to rent a bike when I got out there.
I arrived on a very late Amtrak train at 4:30 AM Tuesday morning, and took a cab to the Hampton Inn in the downtown area. The hotel let me check in early, and I slept for about three hours. Once I was up, I took another cab to the Ohio City Bicycle Coop....
and rented a 17" Giant Cypress for the week.
OCBC is only about 2 miles from the hotel, but still, the ride back was my first time ever riding in a city. Despite my nerves and some trouble with the climb to the downtown area from the river I did OK, I thought.
After getting back to the hotel and spending some time in the library, I met a Bike Forums poster, "half-bent", for a ride along the lakefront. I'm afraid I wasn't the best riding companion he'd ever had, as I was nervous, slow, and dealing with a bike that almost, but not quite, fit me. We did about ten miles or so.
The next morning was Bike to Work Day, and I decided to participate, even though I was on vacation. I crossed town on a rainy Wednesday and met with Lois Moss, director of Walk+Roll, an advocacy group in Cleveland. She guided me across a busy bridge and through traffic to a coffeeshop, and then after hanging with the organizers and messengers scarfing up the free food, I rode back to the hotel.
My routine during the rest of the trip was to ride twice a day, in the morning before breakfast and after the day's research, on a downtown loop from the hotel to Lake Erie, passing by Browns Stadium,
the most famous building in the city,
and a local airport. One morning I rode into a restricted area and quickly realized I should get out before I was discovered.
My loop wasn't entirely 'scenic' - sometimes to build miles I rode through the downtown areas near the hotel, such as the Playhouse district and Public Square. As novelist Les Roberts wrote in The Lake Effect, the rush hour in Cleveland is about ten minutes long, so while I had some traffic to deal with, it wasn't horrible, and the drivers seemed used to bikes. On Friday I rode across town to visit a couple of bike shops, and Saturday, my last day in town, I rode in the weekly beginner's ride OCBC offered. Once that was done they took the bike and my payment, and I got a lift back to the hotel. The only complaint I had with the bike was that my hands went numb on longer rides, but that's a problem that could have been solved if I had the bike longer. The Cypress was a good bike, and in some ways better than my Navigator - it weighed a lot less, for one.
All in all, I had a great time, and Cleveland is a good city for bikes.