Monday, November 23, 2009

XENIA - "BICYCLE CAPITOL OF THE MIDWEST"

A more-than-pleasant surprise on what might have otherwise been a dreary weekend


WATER TOWER MESSAGE.  I usually, if not always, put my road bike on the top of my VW Beetle or on the back of our Trail Blazer whenever we travel to other cities overnight or for a weekend.  I did so on Saturday as our son Sam and I headed to Xenia, Ohio, for a weekend soccer tournament.  As we drove into the city, Sam noticed the words on a water tower: "Xenia: Bicycle Capitol of the Midwest."  I had no idea what that meant, but they had my full interest and attention.

RAIL TRAIL HEAVEN.  The first Xenian I asked answered my questions.  Xenia is the center of rail trail development for the state.  Years ago, Greene County Commissioners had a vision to make bicycle trails readily accessible to all county residents and, ultimately, to all residents of the state. I was directed to Xenia Station (in the photo), the old railway station that now serves as the hub for four major rail trails that extend through the county and beyond.  I was told that one can ride a bicycle on a paved trail from Xenia to Cincinnati or Columbus.  Ultimately, rail trails will link all parts of the state.

ALONG THE MIAMI RIVER.  So, I rode some of the trails in and around Xenia.  They're paved, well marked and well maintained.  Posted signs show the color-coded trails and give directions to local points of interest.  I was thoroughly impressed.  Early Sunday morning, I rode to Miamisburg and followed the wooded Miami River trail down to Franklin and then made my way back to my hotel, a nice 25-mile ride that included fog rising off the river at sunrise, numerous deer on the trail, and a few challenging hills.

FUTURE DESTINATION.  I found two bike shops near Xenia Station and talked for a while with Steve, the friendly owner-operator of Xenia Surf N Cycle.  Looks like he does good work out of an old service station/garage.  I noticed Steve had significant number of recumbents.  It appears that the city has embraced its bicycle identity and is thoroughly welcoming of cyclists.  You can view the county's trails and facilities at this link.  Here's another link to the Miami Valley Rail Trails.  That said, I will likely make Xenia a future destination as a jumping-off point for some serious trail riding.  What a nice serendipity on what might have been a dreary early-winter Midwest weekend!

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1 comment:

  1. I got inspired after reading your blog a while back to get my bike fixed and start riding. I set a goal to be able to ride to the next village, 7 miles, with lots of uphill stretches. The first weekend in November I met my goal. Now, on to bigger goals. Thanks for the inspiration.

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