“Oh high oh got the fly flow”
Rhyme time. Consider the amount of words that could have horribly fit into my title’s scheme… Nail. Fail. Jail. Stale. Karen makes eggs and coffee; I pack n go. On a mission to cross the Purple People Bridge to Cincinnati (appropriately named, as there’s no cars allowed and it’s painted lavender). From the folded up tables and well collected trash, they were partying on it last night and also have a good volunteer base/budget for cleanup. 🌉👍🏽. Riverside Road in Cincy is closed to through traffic as of last week. Super bumpy and needs the facelift but it’s cyclists, joggers and pedestrians only for that whole stretch of normally brutal riding. I’m effectively riding a 40 wide foot bike lane that’s about to be torn up. I hope the citizens of the Ohio/Kentucky border get a separated bikeway. I hope they paint it purple. That’d be some pimp shit. This is just the early morning.I finally get on the rail trail. And that was it. I was on a flat straightaway through the woods of Ohio my entire day. This is just the little Miami section of it. But supposedly most days are gonna be like this – I’ve got my fingers crossed fo sho. Plenty of benches and shelter and water and restrooms along the way. Far as I could tell, communities are popping up stuff along the trail, things are growing along it everywhere. Canoeing on the river. Hikes. Bike shops. Pubs. Fun stuff. People out and about like a motherfucker. I hit everyone with any or all of the church of the Spirit of Rick James’ holy trinity: Smile. Nod. Wave. I think about how many people I just made positive genuine connections with. I don’t go on Facebook anymore but I bet this is a much better version of it. Share that shit.The Ohio State transportation whatsoevers and whoevers have done a fan fucking tastic job with their rail trails, and this is just day one. These multi-use paths show off the state to tourists and provide points of leisure and recreation away from motorized traffic for residents. They are getting used by human beings. This is what urban streets were built for and could still be. It’s not an incredibly complicated concept but it’s difficult to drive the point home without an actual experiential event to back it up. Perhaps start by reading Streets For People: A Primer for Americans by Bernard Rudolfsky. I discovered the book in a museum on the last day of an NYC-Montreal bike tour. Good start there. Get back to me after so we can figure how in the hell the word primer should be pronounced.With no more hills and decent cloud cover with occasional sprinkles is perfect, I no longer have to switch gears. I can haul ass and build the momentum. I average 17 mph and make tracks through small towns left and right. A soaking downpour comes in around Xenia so I take cover under a shelter and meet a man named Demetrius with his family. He strikes up a conversation with me about life, the number 7 and my bike ride. Nice guy for sure. Reminds me of how cool all my Ohio friends are. Swing states are the best.
I get to the home of Jay and Andrea in Cedarville. They take me in and introduce me to their amazing family and two awesome dogs. I’ve got an entire basement apartment to myself. We have a fantastic feast for dinner and chat about bike touring, in which they have extensive experience. Jay tells me the story of how picked up an abandoned lab puppy on a bike tour and brought him home in a milk crate strapped to his back rack. The puppy – whom he named Max – was the ring bearer in Jay and Andrea’s wedding. This wonderful couple biked New Zealand and Australia for their honeymoon. The entire family has toured together across the US and Europe… and on hand carved wooden bikes that they built! Jay is a professor of engineering by trade and builds these awesome wooden bikes. They even do mobile workshops so I’m talking about getting them to Buffalo. N+1! Check them out at Sojourn Cyclery. Definitely cool.
Tomorrow, I dodge lightning into my 4th state capital.