Monday, May 11, 2009

The start of my first Tour of the Scioto River Valley - a ride from Columbus to Portsmouth, Ohio. First done in 1962 by a father and son, the tradition continued and grew to 3,000 riders for this year's event.

Most rides I do I meet interesting people. This year was no exception. I pedalled most the the route both ways with Ron from Pennsylvania. Ron averages around 8,000 miles a year on this and his other recumbant.

Ron is retired and will turn 72 years old this summer. I consider myself to be fit and stronger than the average rider, and I had to work to keep up with Ron. A pedaller with itchy feet, Ron never waited at the food stops long, but he always waited for me to show before he left. Being a seasoned TOSRV'er, Ron was a huge help to me telling me about the route, and most importantly, telling me to eat at the Methodist Church in Portsmouth Saturday night. That was the best meal I've had in a long time.

Here's a view near the south end of Columbus, ready to head for the country.

A good bit of the route followed alongside a canal. What a bonus for me! This is the Ohio & Erie Canal which stretched from Portsmouth to Cleveland.

Pace lines (or draft lines I don't know which) were the way most people rode the route. Their 20 mph suction was intoxicating. I indulged in the splendor of three such groups for short periods, but found riding solitary or with Ron was a better way of watching the scenery. Being politically conscious, I did not want to offend any riders by my lack of pace line etiquette. This seemed to be the major item of discussion for many folks at the food stops.

I think pace lines are fantastic and I occasionally like riding with other riders in a line. But what is the point of a tour if I'm always looking for the wheel in front of me? I can do that at home.

The halfway food stop at Chillicothe was fantastic! Actually, all the food stops were fantastic. I refuse to weigh myself because I'm pretty sure I gained weight on this ride.

I saw this bike in Chillicothe and had to take a picture of it. I saw it many miles down the road being ridden by an elderly fellow with one arm. Going into a 25 mph headwind. I chatted briefly with him as we rode. He was having a great time. For the short time I rode with him, other bikers sped by with their thumbs up, or said "way to go", or "good job". I believe they were inspired by this fellow, and at first I felt sorry for him. But then I realized he's riding because he could and because he enjoyed it. The same reason why I rode. No need for pity.

Bikes, Bikes, Bikes!

Downtown Chilli

Between Chillicothe and Waverly City were many hills. None of them were particularly large (remember, I'm from northern Indiana), but with a 20 - 25 mph headwind, they grew old. Waiting for us at the Waverly food stop, about 75 miles from Columbus, was this set of stairs leading to the food and water. I didn't mind this hill.

The surrounding territory both north and south of Waverly City was spectacular.

Finally, after 105 miles, Portsmouth and the Ohio River. Portsmouth literally opened its arms to all of us bikers, some of us inconsiderate and rude, but Portsmouth took us anyway. Signs along the route in Portsmouth advertized food at area restaurants and most churches served supper as well. Ron and I ate at the Methodist church just east of the Portsmouth High gym where we stayed the night. There were several bands playing outside across the city and it was a great atmosphere being welcomed into Portsmouth.

The room for the night.

These murals are worth the trip to Portsmouth alone. I don't know how many there are, but there must be at least twenty different floodwall murals, each being a great work of art.

Here's a Portsmouth working bike.

The start of day two began at Crispie Creme Donut Shop. These folks provided free doughnuts and coffee. These carefully crafted doughnuts were truly worthy of being placed alongside the murals as great works of art.

On the way back I caught this canal lock. Sorry for the picture quality - it was foggy and my camera lense was slightly fogged up also.

This guy played David Brubeck and Vince Guaraldi. He played some cheesy stuff too, but he knew how to play good jazz. In the glare on top of the bag that held the speaker was his web address. I thought it was, but I must have it wrong.

I had a great time on this ride. I just wish it wasn't on Mother's Day.


Jon said...

Southern Ohio is beautiful, this time of year, isn't it? I miss the green, sometimes, living in Colorado.

Of course, I'd miss the Rocky Mountains more, if I moved back...

Big Oak said...

Yes it is. I've spent a little time out west backpacking, and every time I came back east I would be surprised how much I missed the green.

But if I lived out west, I could become attached to the country pretty easily.

Doohickie said...

Very cool writeup. I especially liked the note about the one-armed rider. I love his old Schwinn.

Rat Trap Press said...

Great report! Sounds like a fun ride.