© 2021 CarLessOhio.org. All rights reserved.
Promoting the bicycling lifestyle in The Buckeye State
I’ve referred to the “four-county area” in my posts on Facebook and Twitter in the past. I’m referring to Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage, and Geauga Counties here in Ohio. These four counties come together in one point, similar to the “Four Corners” region out west where the states of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado meet.
It’s pretty easy for just about any ride I go on to take in all four counties, since I live right in the northeast corner of Summit County. In fact, I can hit all four counties with a ride of only about 5 miles right from home.
This all may only be of interest to you if you’re a geography nerd like me. There are lots of great bike routes to be found all over Northeast Ohio, but I find this area nice, because you can live close to one of the urban centers, but don’t have far to go to get to some wide-open and low-traffic rural roads.
I have a few “standard” loops I do, but I never cease to be amazed at the variety of new back roads that I come across to add a new twist to an old favorite ride.
Today, I did one of those standard loops, making my way into Aurora to catch Pioneer Trail east all the way to Garrettsville. I headed over to Hiram, then straight north on State Route 700 up to Burton. The last time I was up that way, I just headed south on Rapids Road until it dead-ended on Winchell Road, which leads back to Aurora. This time, a short couple of miles down Rapids Road, I took a right onto Stafford Road, then a left onto Valley Road, which does a very scenic jog along the shore of LaDue Reservoir.
I joined the people fishing and boating on the lake in enjoying the perfect overcast and cool summer day. Valley Road ends on Washington Street, which I took straight west through Auburn, veering off onto Bainbridge Road, through Bainbridge Township and into Solon and Cuyahoga County, completing the fourth of the today’s four-county tour, for a total of 63 miles.
I’m always looking for new routes to add to my repertoire. What are the roads like? Do you compete with a lot of rural traffic? I’d like to see this route – maybe post your GPS file?
Your comments and questions seem pretty straightforward, but I’m afraid my answers are not! I don’t have a dedicated GPS; I just use a smartphone app when I track my rides, but I don’t use it on longer rides, because it kills the battery. I’m considering getting a dedicated bike GPS, but am going to wait a couple of years, so that I can get whatever the latest technology is before I leave on the Great Divide.
If you are looking for new route ideas in the area I talked about above, I’d be glad to write out some step-by-step guides.
The roads east of here in Portage/Geauga Counties are pretty nice. Some of the side roads can be what some might call a little rough, with chip-and-seal surface. I’m often on a fatter-tired bike, such as a cyclocross or touring bike (or my Salsa Fargo, of course), so it doesn’t bother me, but you might feel a little under-equipped on a regular road bike. I like Pioneer Tail a lot because it’s such a scenic and convenient way to head in that direction, but some parts are kinda cracked and filled with potholes. The state routes are pretty smooth and in good condition.
As far as traffic, it’s very un-busy, which is what I like about the area. The side roads have very little traffic. The state roads (e.g. Rt 700) are a little heavier, but still not bad compared to roads closer to the cities, such as State Routes 91 or 82.
I’ve noticed in Geauga County that drivers are especially mindful and courteous to me as a cyclist lately. My theory is that it might be a result of the awareness from the death of Judge Charles Henry in 2009, and the sentencing of the drunk driver that was responsible.