This past weekend I attended the Greene Trails Cycling Classic in Xenia, Ohio with my cycling buddies Marty and Paula. This four day cycling event is a tour of the bike trails in Greene and surrounding counties. A large network of paved trails offered a nice diversity of rides and locales. It was a well-planned and enjoyable weekend.
If I were to describe this cycling event in one word it would be “folksy”. I’ve ridden in many organized rides which are generally more intense and heads-down cycling oriented. Green Trails differs in a few ways. First, the festival celebrates trail cycling rather than road cycling. Trail cyclists are by nature a more casual, relaxed breed of cyclist. Secondly, the ride caters to families and people of all ages and abilities. Although road cycling rides have some of that aspect, they are still generally a lone cyclist sport.
The trails I cycled on this past weekend were in much better condition than rural and city streets. A road bike is an excellent bicycle of choice for all of these trails. There was a wide assortment of bicycles on this ride. Hybrids were the most common. I saw numerous road bikes and recumbents, many crank forwards, with a few mountain bikes rounding out the pack.
Bicyclists were just as diverse. The average age of cyclist was most likely somewhere in the mid-50s. There were ample representations of younger and older riders. Several families cycled together; as did some grandparent and grandchildren groups.
What made this Cycling Classic a winner was the people. It started with the friendly and accommodating folks in the Greene County Parks and Trails and their Trail Sentinels. All volunteers looked after your personal needs and were very responsive. The other cyclists made the days special. There was a lot of community in the campground and along the trails. Many people are return cyclists year after year. I will most likely return next year if my schedule permits.
Here is a summary of my rides. You can find these trails and many more on the Miami Valley Bike Trails website. This area makes for a nice weekend getaway for cyclists.
Day 1 – Ohio to Erie Trail (67 miles) – I cycled this trail northeast from Xenia through Cedarville and South Charleston to London. I had planned to cycle past London but thunderstorms and rain shorted the ride. South Charleston has a charming train depot trailhead. London offers a nice selection of dining options. This trail crosses mostly open farmland and would be hot on a sunny day.
Day 2 – Little Miami Scenic Trail (101 miles) – This was an amazing trail to cycle. Heading south from Xenia, it takes a very shady path to the northeastern Cincinnati suburbs. The ride offers many scenic views of the Little Miami River. I cycled through Loveland and turned back close to Milford. Loveland is a quaint somewhat upscale destination that made the perfect rest stop with ample dining and shopping options.
Day 3 – Creekside Trail (37 miles) –This trail heads west to Dayton crossing through Beavercreek. It is a well maintained trail that is about 50% open and 50% shaded. The highlight of this day was the new RiverScape Park in downtown. I also cycled a few blocks off the trail to Dayton’s 2nd Street Market. This is a much smaller rendition of Cleveland’s Westside Market. It offered great dining options. I enjoyed some South American and Hungarian foods. Well worth the stop if you are in the area.
Day 4 – Little Miami Scenic Trail (24 miles) – On Sunday morning, I cycled north from Xenia to the artsy liberal bastion of Yellow Springs. It is a beautiful trail that passes through woods almost the whole length. Following the trail a few miles north out of Yellow Springs, I got to visit Young’s Jersey Dairy. What a fun place to visit with amazing ice cream. I enjoyed white chocolate raspberry swirl cone before heading back to lunch in Yellow Springs. Yellow Springs is the perfect small town to walk and window shop with interesting restaurants sprinkled through town.
The people of the Miami Valley are very fortunate to have this trail system. It is a good example to put out there to other communities. Bicycle tourism is active in this area. There are many bed and breakfasts in the numerous small towns along the trails. The almost zero elevation gain makes the trails ideal for just about everyone.[AFG_gallery id=’2′]