2015 Bike Trip Plan: Ohio Brewery Tour – Columbus to Cleveland.

James Knott on the C&O Canal Towpath

The trail along the C&O Canal towpath takes you through many historical structures. I’m curious to see how the Ohio to Erie trail compares.

Announcing Quickdirt’s Inaugural Bike Adventure: The Ohio Brewery Tour!!  Thursday May 14th – Sunday, May 17th.

One of my favorite ways to vacation is via bike.  A great bicycle tour allows you to see the country in a way that you never get to do in a car.  Your going fast enough to get somewhere, but slow enough that you get to see the communities and landscapes you pass through.  It’s easy to stop and admire an interesting find along the road or trail.  Plus, you’re burning a lot of calories, so you can pretty much eat and drink whatever you want while you are riding.

I’ve done several bike tours.  I rode with friends across NY from Buffalo to Albany along the Erie Canal.  My father-n-law and I rode from Pitt to DC and DC to Pitt on two separate trips.  These were great trips and I’m always looking for more fun adventures to go on.

Check out this video I made about the trip from DC to Pitt to see what it was like:

And, this video from the NY trip gives you another taste of bike touring:

This Year’s Adventure: Ohio Breweries

This year I have a new adventure up my sleeve.  I want to do a brewery tour on the northern half of the Ohio to Erie trail from Columbus to Cleveland.  Along the way, we will pass by a bunch of small breweries, and depending on how thirsty we are, we will stop for a pint at 5 to 10 of them.  If it goes well we will follow up the next year with a similar trip to Cincinnati to complete the entire Ohio to Erie trail.

Karl Kortlandt on the C&O Canal Towpath

Karl has been a great travel companion. He always has a positive attitude on the trail.  However, he doesn’t really like climbing. Hopefully his new knees will help alleviate those fears.

Originally, I had planned on doing a point-to-point trip from Cleveland to Cincinnati, but decided that the cost and logistics of arranging travel made a roundtrip adventure a better option.

My past adventures always involved camping, but this year we are going to do a “credit card tour” and stay at hotels or B&B’s along the way.  This allows us to carry less equipment and cover more miles per day.  Plus, the hotels will be right along the trail so we don’t have to worry about adding extra miles while we look for places to stay.

Click here to see how much bike panniers are for a fully loaded bike trip with camping.

Since we will have more room in our bags, because of the shorter trip and lack of camping gear, I plan on packing more food this time.  On past trips we had a rule, “No chain restaurants.”  We went out of our way to try and find small local gems for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  However, doing this for every meal takes a lot of time and adds to the cost.  So, since we will be stopping at breweries, we will forgo a few of the restaurant meals.  This will free up a little time and money to relax and sample a few more beers (but not too many, we still have to ride our bikes).

Overall, we will be covering about 80 miles a day, which is more than I usually like to cover in a bike tour, but I think with lighter packs and more paved surfaces we should be able to cover more miles with less effort than we’ve done on previous trips.  By the time the journey is over I expect that we will have logged about 330-350 miles.

Good bike lights are key on a trip like this to see and be seen.  You never know when you are going to be finishing up your ride in the dark.  …especially after a brewery stop.  Click here to see my favorite rear light.  …or, here to see my front light.

I plan on making a short video about the adventure to share with other cyclists who might like to do a similar trip.  I’ll be sharing it on Quickdirt, so make sure you subscribe to the blog or follow Quickdirt on Facebook to stay informed.

James Knott finishes his bike tour in Pittsburgh

When I finish a good bike tour I always feel a huge sense of accomplishment. I hope to keep doing one trip per year and try to make it a new challenge each time.

Right now my father-n-law, Karl Kortlandt, and I are fully committed to going.  Although, Karl’s ability to go will be dependent on whether the recovery from his knee replacement surgery goes well.  We have a few others who have expressed interest, but are still thinking about it.  So, I don’t know if it’s just going to be me or whether we will be able to recruit a few riders to go with us.

If you are interested in joining us for the trip, then please message me through Facebook or email jamesATagilehDOTcom.  Also, if someone in the Cleveland or Akron area wanted to meet up with us and ride for a few hours or meet us at a brewery, that might be cool too.  Although, keep in mind that we will need to cover a lot of miles, so we won’t be able to sit around and wait for someone if they don’t show up when they say they are going to.

If you’d like to learn more about bike touring, the “Bike Tour Survival Guide” by Andrew Grant will give you tips on how to make the most of a trip like this.

Here is a video that I made for a brewery tour that I did in Michigan.  We drove for these breweries.  No bikes.  We really wimped out.

ROUGH ITINERARY:

Click here to download a pdf of the planned trip itinerary and brewery list:

ColumbusToClevelandBikeTrip2015

If you’ve traveled along the Ohio to Erie trail and have any recommendations for stops or activities then please let me know in the comment section.  Also, tell me if you know of any good hotels in downtown Cleveland near the end of the trail.  By good I mean, not too shabby and not too expensive.

Thursday, May 14:

Lewis Center to Millersburg

Millersburg Brewing Company (At the end of the day)

Lodging: Hotel Millersberg
35 West Jackson Street
Millersburg, Ohio
330 674 1457
http://www.hotelmillersburg.com/

Friday, May 15:

Millersburg to Cleveland

Thirsty Dog Brewing Company opens at 12pm

Go out on the town in Cleveland:

Nano Brew Cleveland  opens 11am
Market Garden Brewery opens 11am
Great Lakes Brewing Company opens at 11:30am
Butcher and the Brewer opens 4pm
Portside Distillery and Brewery opens 4pm

Lodging in Cleveland: Not Determined Yet

Saturday, May 16:

Cleveland to Millersburg

BRUNCH at Platform Beer Company opens 10am
Trailhead Brewing Company opens 2pm
Hoppin' Frog Brewery - Optional Side Trip
Millersburg Brewing Company - if still thirsty

Lodging: Hotel Millersberg
35 West Jackson Street
Millersburg, Ohio
330 674 1457
http://www.hotelmillersburg.com/

Sunday, May 17: 

Millersburg to Lewis Center

Beer on couch at home.