What a spectacular day! Temps in the 70s and pure sun. Brett and I took the bikes out again for a ride. Our destination was the Towpath Trail south of downtown Akron. We drove to the Manchester Road trailhead on the south shore of Nesmith Lake. We were heading north along the Ohio Erie Canal to see how far the trail would take us into Akron.
I drive over this section every day to and from work. I always figured it would be a pretty dismal ride since it travels through the heart of industrial south Akron and through a housing project. We were pleasantly surprised. The trail was in super condition with many sections asphalt. Surprisingly the industrial landscape blended well with nature. We saw a lot of waterfowl.
The most interesting feature of this part of the Towpath is the floating section that hugged the shore of Summit Lake. It was very scenic and had very nice observation deck at about midpoint. Immediately after we cycled through the housing project. If you are avoiding this trail section because of this, you don’t have to worry.
Hugging the shore of Summit Lake we soon were at its northern end and crossing under I-76/I-77. The trail returned to the canal and passed through an attractive condominium complex just south of downtown.
Probably the most confusing part of the ride is where the trail ends at Bartges Street and follows Bartges to a parking lot behind the Old BF Goodrich factory complex. You actually pedal through the lot and end up behind the Spaghetti Warehouse where the trail reappears. It was a short distance with no obstacles.
Once we rejoined the trail, we cycled under Exchange Street and along the Canal Park baseball stadium. We continued to State Street where the trail ended and appeared to use city streets. We looked at the time and knew we needed to head back south to beat the sun set.
This is an enjoyable easy ride. I would recommend it if you are looking for a close by ride. There was a nice mix of canal and lake scenery. You also get a dose of the urban industrial heyday of Akron. Finally, you cycle right into downtown Akron. I think it would make a nice ride to dinner or lunch at the Spaghetti Warehouse or Bricco.
Give this ride a try. I think you will like it. Total distance cycled was 11 miles; all very flat and on a very nicely maintained surface.