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Old 09-09-11, 06:07 AM   #1
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Along the Crooked River

I recently had the chance to explore the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. My prior knowledge of the area was limited, doesn’t the Cuyahoga River catch fire? Well, I was very impressed with the natural and recreational amenity. Considering that the Park is surrounded by typical suburban sprawl and several interstate highways, the large park provides hundreds of miles of bike friendly roads, tow-paths and MUPs. Not only is the cycling enjoyable, the routes leading away from the valley floor and out of the park provide some challenging climbs.

I was in the area on business, so I had to limit myself to a 17 mile loop that combined the Summit County bike & hike trail that runs along the eastern border of the Park and the Ohio & Erie Canal Tow Path. Both paths run under a canopy of trees and provide views of forest, meadows and the natural flora and fauna of the area.

The route is mapped here: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/49582014

A more challenging “roadie” route with 6 climbs is here: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/49573678




















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Old 09-09-11, 06:12 AM   #2
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More pics;







Some pictures from the surrounding area;




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Old 09-09-11, 06:39 AM   #3
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Neat!!

Thanks for sharing.

Darn - one more place I need to go. Too many places, too little time. You folks have to stop posting all these beautiful and interesting places.
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Old 09-09-11, 07:27 AM   #4
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Nice pics from my neck of the woods. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

The Cuyahoga River fire was a true occurrence but has been highly exaggerated over the years. The fire took place about 40~ years ago at the mouth of the river in Cleveland. A chemical that had been dumped into the water, and was floating on the surface, caught fire. The news had a field day with it. Although there's no denying the river was polluted, there has been huge progress made and it's still a work in progress.
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Old 09-09-11, 07:29 AM   #5
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Interesting place. I often wonder why a particular park was established. From the NPS website...

Ohio's National Park is a restored landscape of unusual vibrance.

The story of Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP)'s establishment highlights the impact local citizens and political leaders can have when they work together with passion and common purpose to protect aspects of America's heritage.

This story is rooted in the environmental and social movements of the 20th century. It is about the desire to have scenic open spaces near to home, especially for recreation. It is about not only saving significant features but restoring a landscape to be culturally vibrant, less polluted, a better home for wildlife, and a model for sustainable living.
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Old 09-09-11, 08:06 AM   #6
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I often wonder why a particular park was established.
because at one time this state and this part of the state actually had some political power.
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Old 09-09-11, 08:24 AM   #7
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because at one time this state and this part of the state actually had some political power.
Ohio still has that power when it comes to national elections. Anyway, preserving parkland is always a good thing I believe.
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Old 09-09-11, 08:34 AM   #8
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Nice pictures!
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Old 09-09-11, 08:41 AM   #9
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Yup the media won't waste a story to push an agenda. Not saying it didn't need cleaning up but...

Those pictures are awesome. Glad you had a nice adventure. Love the Mail Pouch barn(building).
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Old 09-09-11, 08:51 AM   #10
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Excellent photos and it sounds like a great ride too. Thanks for sharing!

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Old 09-09-11, 08:51 AM   #11
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Thanks for sharing!
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Old 09-09-11, 09:07 AM   #12
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Ohio still has that power when it comes to national elections. Anyway, preserving parkland is always a good thing I believe.
yeah, I should have said legislative power

FYI, for those who don't know it, the CVNP is just one part of the larger Ohio & Erie Canalway, which includes the O&E Towpath. You can ride the towpath from Cleveland clear down to Zoar with only a few short road detours. At some point you'll be able to take it from Lake Erie to the Ohio river. It also connects to other MUPs and trails...the Summit County Hike & Bike that was shown in some of the OPs pics being one of them (did you check out Brandywine Falls?). Ohio is doing a nice job with off-roadway MUP infrastructure.
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Old 09-09-11, 09:31 AM   #13
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I live about 14 miles directly to the West of the Valley and will ride there to get my "hills fix". The valley walls are not mountains but the various roads will provide a significantly hard 3 to 10 minute effort followed by a fast descent only to have at it again. Where I usually ride, in Medina Co., I seldom see another rider but in the valley there are cyclist of all disciplines everywhere. It is truly a jewel on the North Coast that is enjoyed my many on multible levels.
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Old 09-09-11, 10:32 AM   #14
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Beautiful: thanks for the pic's.
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Old 09-09-11, 10:55 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
Neat!!

Thanks for sharing.

Darn - one more place I need to go. Too many places, too little time. You folks have to stop posting all these beautiful and interesting places.
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Nice pics from my neck of the woods. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

The Cuyahoga River fire was a true occurrence but has been highly exaggerated over the years. The fire took place about 40~ years ago at the mouth of the river in Cleveland. A chemical that had been dumped into the water, and was floating on the surface, caught fire. The news had a field day with it. Although there's no denying the river was polluted, there has been huge progress made and it's still a work in progress.
The area was a wonderful surprise. Not only was the park mostly rural, the river had character and beauty.
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Old 09-09-11, 10:55 AM   #16
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Thanks for the pictures. Looks wonderful.
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Old 09-09-11, 11:04 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Interesting place. I often wonder why a particular park was established. From the NPS website...

Ohio's National Park is a restored landscape of unusual vibrance...
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Nice pictures!
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Excellent photos and it sounds like a great ride too. Thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for sharing!
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yeah, I should have said legislative power

FYI, for those who don't know it, the CVNP is just one part of the larger Ohio & Erie Canalway, which includes the O&E Towpath. You can ride the towpath from Cleveland clear down to Zoar with only a few short road detours. At some point you'll be able to take it from Lake Erie to the Ohio river. It also connects to other MUPs and trails...the Summit County Hike & Bike that was shown in some of the OPs pics being one of them (did you check out Brandywine Falls?). Ohio is doing a nice job with off-roadway MUP infrastructure.
Ohio certainly offers great possibility for cyclists.

The paved Bike & Hike MUP provides a easy ride away from traffic and development. The Tow Path was very scenic with something different every mile. The condition of the gravel tow path was very smooth with minimal standing water on a damp day. I'm sure a tour of the entire Ohio & Erie route would be very worthwhile.
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Old 09-09-11, 11:19 AM   #18
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I live about 14 miles directly to the West of the Valley and will ride there to get my "hills fix". The valley walls are not mountains but the various roads will provide a significantly hard 3 to 10 minute effort followed by a fast descent only to have at it again. Where I usually ride, in Medina Co., I seldom see another rider but in the valley there are cyclist of all disciplines everywhere. It is truly a jewel on the North Coast that is enjoyed my many on multible levels.
I'm looking forward to bringing a road bike on my next trip. I'm helping to open an office in Twinsburg and will be spending more than 50% of my time in the area in the future.

The climbs look like a lot a fun and an improvement on anything in Illinois. I counted more than a dozen solid climbs from Brecksville to Cuyahoga Falls. A planner could easily put together a century ride with 5000 vertical feet of climbing.


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Thanks for the pictures. Looks wonderful.
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Beautiful: thanks for the pic's.
Thanks, I enjoyed the pictures & narrative from your California trip.

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Old 09-09-11, 11:26 AM   #19
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Nice photos. This is my main ride. I start in Peninsula and go North to Rockside Road. The round trip is close to 30 miles.
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Old 09-09-11, 12:07 PM   #20
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Nice photos. This is my main ride. I start in Peninsula and go North to Rockside Road. The round trip is close to 30 miles.
You might enjoy the ride south to Lock 3 Park in Akron as well, if you don't mind a little stretch of 5% grade upward.

We do pretty much all our bike business with my friends at Century in Peninsula, so one of our favorite weekend rec rides is to ride from our home about 5 miles down to one of the towpath trailheads in Barberton, then up to Peninsula for a visit...taking a couple of road detours to avoid either construction or congestion from peds/pets/wobblers...or just to stretch our legs a bit. The round trip is about 56 miles...but sometimes, if we feel froggy and want to make a day of it, we'll either ride all the way to Harvard road and continue from there on the road to downtown Cleveland, or pick up the Valley Parkway at Station Rd and ride over to Wallace Lake or even up the the marina in Lakewood.
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Old 09-09-11, 12:18 PM   #21
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You might enjoy the ride south to Lock 3 Park in Akron as well, if you don't mind a little stretch of 5% grade upward.

We do pretty much all our bike business with my friends at Century in Peninsula,

...but sometimes, if we feel froggy and want to make a day of it, we'll either ride all the way to Harvard road and continue from there on the road to downtown Cleveland, or pick up the Valley Parkway at Station Rd and ride over to Wallace Lake or even up the the marina in Lakewood.
Riding on the Valley Parkway between Berea and North Royalton usually results in a trip to the LBS to get something fixed.
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Old 09-09-11, 01:01 PM   #22
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Riding on the Valley Parkway between Berea and North Royalton usually results in a trip to the LBS to get something fixed.
why? That used to be part of my commute route when I was working in Westlake and doing the drive/bike split commute.
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Old 09-09-11, 01:11 PM   #23
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why? That used to be part of my commute route when I was working in Westlake and doing the drive/bike split commute.
The pavement is in very bad condition. In order to ride on the road a cyclist needs to weave in and out to avoid the craters and wheel grabbing cracks. There are already enough conflicts with autos and bikes on the parkway and riding 4' or more from the shoulder, on the better pavement, only adds fuel to the fire. A few weeks ago I rode with the Lake Erie Wheelers from Berea to Brecksville on the parkway and thought the ride was putting cyclist in danger in addition to the 3 flat tires suffered due to pinch flats.

Barberton to Westlake was a long bike commute.
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Old 09-09-11, 01:17 PM   #24
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Old 09-09-11, 01:24 PM   #25
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The pavement is in very bad condition. In order to ride on the road a cyclist needs to weave in and out to avoid the craters and wheel grabbing cracks. There are already enough conflicts with autos and bikes on the parkway and riding 4' or more from the shoulder, on the better pavement, only adds fuel to the fire. A few weeks ago I rode with the Lake Erie Wheelers from Berea to Brecksville on the parkway and thought the ride was putting cyclist in danger in addition to the 3 flat tires suffered due to pinch flats.

Barberton to Westlake was a long bike commute.
That's why I drove to that lot up near Ridge Rd and rode from there...cept on some nice summer days when I didn't mind doing a century.

There is not enough room to share the lane pretty much anywhere on the parkway...so I am usually in the lane anyway, only moving right to allow traffic to pass if it is safe for them (and me) to do so. Of course drivers don't like it sometimes, especially when there is a nice paved MUP right there, but for the most part I've never had any problems. IMO that MUP is more dangerous than the road if you ride over like 10mph.

I think I've had like one flat on the parkway over the last 10 years. Pump up them skinny tires man!
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