Carfree = CAREFREE Pt VI - Cleveland to Akron via Scenic Railroad

Submitted by lmcshane on Fri, 07/10/2015 - 19:04.

What a beautiful Friday!  I rode my bike from my house in lovely Brooklyn Centre at 8:00 a.m and headed out for the towpath. I had intended to have breakfast at my favorite neighborhood place - Sal's Menu restaurant, but I was running late, so I picked up a breakfast burrito at our bike-friendly McDonalds (see rack) and I was ready to roll.  I picked up the towpath at Old Harvard and was lucky to be tailed by a younger rider who helped me keep pace with the time I needed to make it to Rockside Rd by 9:00 a.m.  I actually boarded the train at 8:52 with a little apprehension about whether I could pull off the entire excursion.  But, everything worked according to plan!

The Bike Aboard train filled up as we headed to Akron.  Most passengers (families w/kids) headed South seem to depart the train at Pennisula to then ride their bikes north back to Cleveland.  I was one of the few passengers left on board, who went all the way to Akron, but there were passengers in the regular cars (no bikes) who seemed to do this trip with regularity. One older couple from CLE directed me to the loop bus - which is FREE on Fridays - and we were transported by friendly Denita ("Dee) who took me (w/bike) to the Akron Art Museum and the CLE couple to their destination, the Akron Zoo.  There are FREE activities EVERY day in Akron and Dee was great guide recommending the Italian Festival and more to her riders (NOTE: Akron Art Museum, I found out, is short walk/ride up hill from the Scenic Railroad stop- it's actually longer to take the steep uphill Towpath Trail into downtown Akron from the stop)

I got to the Akron Art Museum a little before it opened at 11:00 a.m. so I stopped briefly at Akron Public Library across the street (restroom :) - it's a beautiful place to visit, too.  Got to spend hour and half at new Akron Art Museum Proof and Staged exhibit- photos that are sure to engage.  Met up w/one of the curators and toured the permanent exhibit.  

I then rode my bike to Bricco- had lunch and left Akron at 1:30 and rode along Towpath to Botzum, where I arrived 2:30 - with time to spare before the train back to Cleveland at 2:55.  On way to Botzum, make sure you stop by the Mustill Store - it's a treasure trove of local history - that almost didn't happen.  

Thankfully, folks in Akron had foresight to preserve this amazing step back in time.  I can only hope that leaders in NEO - will see the rationale for saving our Wirth House and Belz House on historic Denison Ave., too.

After arriving back at Rockside, I rode my bike back to Brooklyn Centre and got back to my neighborhood at 5:30 p.m. just in time to enjoy a tall beer ($2.50) at Gino's on Denison Ave.

I met many amazing people along the way - mostly from out-of-state.  One NJ couple rode amazing 26 miles  - and they LOVED the trail. They were staying at Rockside in Independence and have plans to visit Cleveland Rock Hall and Westside Market this weekend, before driving back to NJ.  I also met a man from Indiana - with his son and family visiting Akron area on way to Pennsylvania.  

So many cool sites to see along the way!  Credit to Akron for having a tourism experience that is mapped out for joy from start to finish.  I will have more information and photos soon -but click on this for the entire photo tour (including a few short film clips).

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Best days for Bike Aboard

Bike Aboard runs Wed - Sunday.  A seasoned mom rider cautioned me about weekends.  So glad that I heeded her advice.  Weekends can be crazy w/as many as 400+ angling for rides.  The bike aboard car holds 175-200 bikes.  In the Fall 2015, Marriott will have a Courtyard Inn at the Akron stop ~ which means I can go down on Thursday for Akron Art Museum's FREE Thursdays - stay over night - and leisurely ride back on Friday or take advantage of the bike aboard to go home the next day!  


Plain Dealer NEOMG coverage of Canal Bike Trail experience

Glad to see this coverage -

The mouse over maps are really cool!


Yea - my second comment was undeleted :)


 @BuckeyeThinker on my recent trip to Akron via bike-train, I met a couple from NJ who rode the entire length between Rockside and Akron.  They were staying at Rockside Rd. and I gave them directions to visit Edgewater and Rock Hall by taking the trail north to Old Harvard - ascending west to Denison - north to W. 65th - which takes them straight to the Metroparks Lakefront Park - from there I suggested Detroit to downtown and the Rock Hall. Most of the folks I spoke to on the trail recently were not from CLE - and tourists do not necessarily want to drive a car while they are vacationing.  CLE needs to capitalize on the bike tourism and the bike economy.  Along the Great Allegheny Passage in PA, MD, DC - is doing just that.  Honestly - I think Wendy Park could be more accessible sooner and for a lot less money by taking the access from the east bank of the flats ( this also brings tourists closer to Rock Hall destination).  See








SPACES Christina Vassallo shuns cars rides her bike to Akron

I learned last night that Christina recently rode her bike to Akron and back to see the Spectre exhibit at th Akron Art Museum. Christina Vassallo moved here from NYC to direct SPACES gallery. She does not own a car.   Yeah Christina!

The Tourist Experience in CLE

On Friday afternoon, I met a couple walking down West 25th St.  They had driven into Cleveland from Chicago to experience our culture over the weekend.  I rode my bike to the Westside Market, so they assumed I knew my way around (people ALWAYS ask me directions - it's a librarian thing) - so I helped them find the Westside Market.  They were staying here:   Crocker Park! 

First, I asked them why they came to CLE for their Spring Break.  They said they came to shop!  (WHAT? Chicago is a shopping mecca). Then, they wanted to see the attractions.  They drove from Chicago and the Hyatt in Westlake was convenient. We encountered each other in front of Town Hall, where I had parked my bike.  They asked me for directions to the Westside Market (I should have asked them where they parked).   I don't know how they literally missed the Westside Market, but they assumed the produce stands were it... I took them back and showed them the Hubbell and Benes building.  

I can see how folks lose their bearings - and can miss the obvious.  I recently visited Cincinnati and spent a good twenty minutes navigating one-way streets to find that my destination (the Cincinnati Art Museum) was on the other side of I-71.  What can we do to help folks orient in Northeast Ohio before the RNC??

CLE welcomes George the Cyclist

  I was fortunate this past week to meet intrepid world-traveller - George the Cyclist!  Next time - can we show him some more hospitality by putting him up w/some comfort!!

Akron Metro $5.00 to Akron

I rode the Akron Metro from downtown CLE to Akron yesterday to attend the free Thursday events at the Akron Art Museum.  Akron has a very progressive arts integration program with area schools highlighted in the displays yesterday.  I also ran into Bob Perkowski, who takes amazing photos for Freshwater Cleveland and he will be putting together a description of this amazing STEAM program (which I will link to here).



Erin O'Brien at Freshwater Cleveland walks the Towpath

CLE is slow to realize that a LOT of folks like to .... WALK! It's great physical and mental exercise.  And, it's a cheap hobby! Follow Erin O'Brien along on her journey here:

Morgana Run

In 2006, the City of Cleveland installed a 2 mile trail intended to connect parts of the east side to the trail system envisioned for Cleveland.  It involved converting a "Rails to Trails" conversion of a spur to the Wheeling and Lake Erie train route.  It did not cost millions to get this done.  It is more than 10 years later.  Perhaps, the City of Cleveland will fulfill the promise of connecting the Old Newburgh Twp and Old Brooklyn Twp to the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail - as promised so long ago?  To see photos of my ride: