August 2022 meant the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Columbus, Ohio. To add spice to a very long meeting, Bishop Jim Hazelwood proposed a little 200-mile ride from Cleveland to Columbus on the Ohio to Erie Trail (OTET). About 50 miles a day, with two friends, Jim Hazelwood and Blair Lundborg.

Instead of flying to Columbus, I flew to Cleveland. My bike was packed in a box which I checked as baggage. No oversized bag fees for bikes on United and it was under the weight limit of 50 pounds.

Day 1 – August 3, 2022: Hitting the Road

Cleveland to Clinton Trailhead/Doylestown

After a hearty breakfast we had to agree on which direction to go to find the trail head.

The majority of the ride is paved and well maintained through lush woods, like this:

Some of the trail is crushed limestone:

So thankful to the folks at Century Cycle in Peninsula who fixed my broken spoke and rebalanced my back tire for $13 while we had lunch at the Winking Lizard Tavern.

Grateful to our host and fellow biker, Kevin, who gave us free dinner, lodging, and breakfast:

Day 2 – Thursday, August 4, 2022: Amish Country

Clinton Trailhead/Doylestown to Millersburg

“Relentless hills” one blog said about this route. It did not disappoint. We also hit rain.

After a missed turn, we ended up off trail, taking Route 62 for a good portion of the day. We enjoyed lunch at the Amish Door Restaurant in Wilmot, Ohio. It poured down rain, so we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves until it passed.

My gears weren’t shifting properly so Jim and I stopped at a bike shop, where a kind man worked on my bike at no cost. (Blair had blasted ahead to Berlin, Ohio.)

Electric assist is a big deal here for folks that don’t own cars. Note the batteries below.

While we were there the skies opened and it started pouring, so they let us hang out in the barn until it passed.

Once the rain let up, we headed back out to catch up with Blair at the Pretzel Shop in Berlin.

And of course it started pouring again. So we waited.

Finally, after a long day, we arrived in Millersburg, soaking wet. We enjoyed hit showers and a much needed dinner.

Day 3 – Friday, August 5, 2022

Millersburg to Mt. Vernon

Rain was in the forecast again for our ride on the Kokosing Gap Trail, through the Mohican River Valley, with more hills. When we woke up it was sunny and beautiful. We began with breakfast at a Broken Grounds Coffee Shop, which also serves as a church with two Sunday services.

I got a flat in a gravel parking lot. We changed it in 12 minutes.

Arriving in Mt. Vernon we stopped at the Ariel-Foundation Glass Factory Ruins.

It was a substantial steep climb to our host home. Chip and Paul were awesome. They served a fantastic pasta dinner after which we showered and went for Whit’s Frozen Custard in Mt. Vernon.

Day 4 – Saturday, August 6, 2022

Mt. Vernon to Columbus

Again, rain was forecasted but the weather was gorgeous in the morning.

Our hosts like to ride low, three-wheeled bikes with electric assist for the hills. It was fun to try them out.

The ride in Columbus on the last day was mostly flat. The path was as smooth as glass. We made our best time yet, arriving in Columbus by 1:30.

As we pulled into the Greater Columbus Convention Center Strava clocked us at 206 miles. Apple gave us 199.7 miles. We were… tired and sore. But we had travelled the beautiful wooded hills of northeastern Ohio and enjoyed it.