Author: Pete Mohan, volunteer
Earlier this year, I developed bikeportage.com, a website to help local cyclists connect to Portage County’s trails and to promote their use as a route through the area for long-distance trips. In August, I became aware of a couple traveling from Washington state to Maine on a modified version of the “Northern Tier Route” that has been popularized by the Adventure Cycling Association. Rachel and Patrick try stay on trails (off road) as often as possible. They were already planning to come through Kent but were then heading into the hills of Pennsylvania and what might have been a difficult route north from there. After visiting the website, they changed their plans and would cycle to Warren using both the Portage Hike and Bike Trail and the Headwaters Trail as part of their route. From there, the Western Reserve Greenway would take them to Lake Erie’s coastal roads.
Happy to demonstrate the route, I met up with Rachel and Patrick on the Portage Hike and Bike Trail early on August 16th, near the North Water Brewing Company. A light rain began almost immediately and continued throughout the day. We followed the trail to its terminus at Peck Road and continued north on Peck for seven miles. This road is also part of the Buckeye Trail. It intersects with the Headwaters Trail less than a mile from downtown Mantua, a potential stopping point for cycle tourists and a Buckeye Trail Town. We continued east to Garrettsville and used the newly paved connector from the trail end at the city ballfields to reach Rt 82. Stopping for a snack at the nearby IGA, we then scooted around the back of the building and continued east on quiet country lanes including Silica/Pierce, Silica Sand, and Eagle Creek Roads. The only hiccup was a detour necessitated by a missing bridge where Silica Sand Rd crosses Eagle Creek. A construction worker confirmed there was “nothing there but swimming snakes and rocks.” The bridge is expected to be back in service by November.