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  1. #1
    Over forty victim of Fate Cougrrcj's Avatar
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    Tour Around Ohio?

    I've had this thought in my head for the past few years (one of the items on my 'Bucket List') that after I retire, I'd like to take a ride around the outer edges of Ohio - taking a route along the Lake Erie shoreline, down the OH/PA border, follow the Ohio River downstream from East Liverpool all the way to Cincinnati, then up the OH/IN border, then back to the Lake Erie shore... I did a quickie Google Earth map route plan and came up with a tad over 1000 miles.

    The problem is that I've never done any long-distance touring. Sure, I've ridden my share of centuries, and even TOSRV (210 miles in 2 days) a half-dozen times... Back in the day I was riding 500 miles/week minimum, but now that I'm a middle-aged-old-fart I figure I'll have to cut that down a bit. I figure at 50 miles/day this trip will take around three weeks. Coincidentally, there are towns every 40-50 miles along the route.

    But what does it take to really and fully plan such a ride? Finding places to stay if I don't plan on camping... What sort of distances I can realistically expect to cover each day (relatively flat riding on this route)... How to prepare, what and how much to take along, how many 'off days' with no riding, etc. Of course I realize that much of this depends on what time of the year I plan to ride, but let's just say a late-spring/early-fall, daytime-only, nice-weather-only, bare minimum gear carried on the bike.

    And to top it off, I plan to make this ride on my vintage Fuji that I bought new when I was in college 37 years ago... That bike and I have shared tens of thousands of miles together.

    Maybe even meet up with BF.net members for traveling companions on sections of the ride?

  2. #2
    Bike touring webrarian
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    A good place to start might be the Ohio DOT biking pages: http://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions...s/default.aspx

    Here is what I do. I plan for 40-60 miles a day, depending on where I plan to spend the night. I have gone much farther than 60 miles/day when the tailwind was strong, there way no place to stay, I felt like it. But, usually, the longer I ride, the less I enjoy the last 10 miles.

    There are lots of packing lists all over the internet. Here are 12 links to packing list information. Note that sleeping equipment (tent, bag, etc) and cooking (stove, pots, food) account for a good portion of a bike tourist's kit. Aside from those, you have clothes, electronics, tools and spares, first aid, maps, a little else.

    Everyone has their own preparation plans. I like to load up my bike with an equivalent amount of weight (sand in plastic jars) and ride the number of miles I plan to ride on tour. When I can do that 2 days in a row without feeling overused, I know I am ready to go!

    As for 'off' days, I try for a rest day every 5.

    Have a great time!
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
    What sort of distances I can realistically expect to cover each day (relatively flat riding on this route)...
    Put a trunk bag on the back of the bicycle, and go for a ride this coming Saturday. Ride at least 50 miles. Then repeat on Sunday ... ride at least 50 miles again. Tell us how you feel on Monday.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    This sounds like a fun trip. Keep us posted!

  5. #5
    Senior Member TampaRaleigh's Avatar
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    Some of my most enjoyable rides were along the Ohio River Valley. (The rides along the Ohio/Indiana and Ohio/Pennsylvania line... not so much. A bit boring.)

    Sounds like a great adventure!!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member TampaRaleigh's Avatar
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Some resources for rout planning:
    http://www.buckeyetrail.org/ The Buckeye Trail is largely off-road hiking, I think, but it seems like it'd follow and perhaps overlap your route, and might have some camping options.

    http://www.ohiotoerietrail.org/ The Ohio to Erie trail goes diagonally across the state. At 300 miles, it's rather shorter than the trip you have planned, but might be a good warm up, and it might provide some camping options at the points where you cross it (although I don't really remember seeing camping resources on the site).

    http://www.ohiobikeways.net/ Has lots of bike trails that you may or may not want to work into your trip.

    To prepare, you just need to get some miles in. Plan on low miles to start, or plan on optional early bail-out spots. If you're not camping, gear should be light, but planning might be tougher. Depending on the size of the towns on your route, hotels may not always be easy to come by. And if towns with hotels are 50 miles apart, you end up with not much flexibility in your route. It's one thing to get to your first lodging option and decide that you'd rather put in another 10 or 20 miles, but an extra 50 is a big commitment. I tend to do short trips where I can plan for every night's stop with reasonable certainty and with options for an early or longer day. But beyond a few days, it seems like playing it by ear would be more enjoyable. But it's hard for me to imagine playing it by ear in rural Ohio and not camping.

    Also you might check some elevation profiles. Seems like sticking to the river should be mainly flat. I just remember that after spending a lot of time riding around NE Ohio, I was surprised by the hills I encountered when I headed towards the center of the state. North east Ohio had spoiled me.

  8. #8
    Over forty victim of Fate Cougrrcj's Avatar
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    The only really hilly sections of the ride are both of the segments of the approach to- and climb out of- the Ohio River valley. The rest of the ride is very flat.

    Of course there are towns in between the planned 40- to 50-mile segments (except in the western part of the state), so I do plan on being flexible.

    I should probably state that I have done a solo two-week unsupported ride once before, but that was almost 35 years ago and I'm getting too old to be sleeping under bridges and in culverts along the side of the road! I did that on a ride from Cleveland OH to Madison WI back in '79... I carried one change of clothes, a garbage bag for a poncho, a hundred bucks cash, and my toolkit. My only incident on that ride was tacoing a rear wheel in rural Indiana on the way home. That was the end of my own handmade '76-vintage Phil Wood hubs/Rigida wheels... LBS took pity on (or advantage of) me and took those wheels in trade for generic cheapies so I could finish the ride.

    My bike and I are in pretty good shape. I ride 100-150 miles a week now, and plan to keep up that level on the rollers over the Winter...

    The best preparation is that this time around, I'll have a credit/debit/ATM card!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
    Back in the day I was riding 500 miles/week minimum, but now that I'm a middle-aged-old-fart I figure I'll have to cut that down a bit. I figure at 50 miles/day this trip will take around three weeks.
    Don't get the connection. I crossed the country with a small group of people. We averaged about 65 miles/day not including off days. The strongest fellow on the trip was 60 and he carried a lot of gear. His home made tent we affectionately named "The Condo" easily weighed over 10 lbs. Another fellow was tunred 77 during the trip. And there was a 60+ y.o. woman and another 65 y.o. man. Keep in mind that even at 12.5 mph, 50 miles represents only 4 hrs. of pedalling time/day.

    What you can comfortably carry and for how long depends on you ability. If you will be sleeping inside and eating out, you can get away with very little. Maybe a second set of riding clothes and some foul/wet/cool weather gear and one set of off bike clothes, plus toilette items. No one is going to care that you wear the same t-shirt and pair of pants every day. Also, pay attention to how much individual items of clothing compare to others. For example, a pair of jeans for off the bike can weigh much more than a pair of synthetic material pants that have zip-off legs to convert them to shorts.
    As for places to stay, once you think you have a rough route down, you can search Google Maps for something like "motels near [insert name of town]" If nothing shows, you can zoom out and the results will broaden as you do.

    Take a look at Adventure Cycling Association's web site. Some of their routes go through OH. A portion of the Nothern Tier route goes across the top through Cleveland, Conneaut and Ashtabula. Further west, it passes through Moneroeville, IN, where there is an indoor communit center where cyclists can stay for free if it's not being used for something like a wedding, although there were no beds or cots when I was there many years ago.

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