250: Scenes from a bike ridePosted: May 31, 2011
The city of Akron was co-founded in 1825 (so it is younger than the township in which I live) by Paul Williams and surveyor of the Connecticut Western Reserve General Simon Perkins. It was interesting to learn this because the street where we met M the Younger and his wife, Merdi, is named after Paul Williams and we have often wondered if it was named after the composer/songwriter (we were obviously unsure of any possible local link, not knowing much about him) or someone else. History mystery solved.
The really important thing you need to know about Akron, for the purposes of this bike ride, is that the name is derived from the Greek word ἄκρον which means a summit or high point.
When planning our bike ride for Sunday, M and I decided on a section of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, parts of which run through the city of Akron. In retrospect, starting in a city named for being a high point was not such a brilliant idea. We realized that not long into our bike ride as we found ourselves cruising along quite nicely at high speeds without any effort on our part. As the miles ticked past on my odometer, I gave a thought here and there to what it might be like going back. I decided it was vital not to dwell on it. Better to be in, and stay in, the moment.
Because we were cruising along so swiftly, I did not stop to take photos. The first two were taken before we were seated on our bikes. Everything else was taken on the way back when I had more time and needed an excuse to stop and rest. A camera, in case you didn’t know, is a great justification for stopping. Look at that scenery! I must stop and take a photo. Wait! Look at that! Let me get my camera out. (The bike on your right in the first photo is mine. You can tell because it has a bag on the front. My camera just barely, snuggly, fits inside that bag.)
It was a beautiful day for a bike ride, albeit a little warm. It was close to 80 when we started. The thermometer in the car registered 101 degrees when we finished but that was in the sun and it calmed down to about 85 once we got the car moving.
The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is currently 82+ miles long and is slated to eventually be over 100 miles, extending from Lake Erie in Cleveland to Waterworks Park in New Philadelphia. Long term plans include connecting it with the Little Miami Scenic Trail in southern Ohio to form the first cross-state trail in Ohio, going from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.
The towpath trail was originally a trail that mules walked to tow canal boats. Parts of the segment of the towpath trail that we took were first constructed in Akron from 1825 to 1827. There are numerous canal locks along the way. The section of the trail we were on takes you through one of the locks (pictured above).
About 5 miles into our ride we stopped for a light picnic lunch that we’d brought with us. There was some confusion about where we were going to stop which caused us to make our way up a steep hill only to find we had to go back down the same hill. Although nobody was thrilled with having gone up the hill, the ride down was nice. Very cooling.
Knowing that the ride back was pretty much all uphill, and the day was growing hotter, we decided not to go further north. The uphill part didn’t seem too bad at first, but after a while I ended up walking parts of it. This was only our third time out on the bikes and I’m not used to uphill climbs. M the Younger and Merdi, having spent the past few years in Colorado, are old pros at hills (and mountains!). This was probably a piece of cake for them. M handled it well too, but was kind enough to walk with me when I had to walk even though I told everyone to go on ahead. I would have caught up with them eventually.
As you can see from the photos, there was some beautiful scenery along the way. The oddest thing was the trunk sewer, a large, concrete pipe-like structure, running alongside part of the trail. I meant to take some photos of it, but forgot all about it while struggling to ride uphill. (I really do need to get in more time on the bike and on hills. We have a nice big hill on our road that I should ride up and down several times a day.)
Back in Akron, you’ll find water in parts of the canal. Ducks and geese like to hang out there, and this time of year there are little ducks and geese to oooh and ahhh over.
I love watching the way the babies line up and bob in the water as they’re swimming. Too cute.
It’s true. I spent too much time taking too many photos of the babies. It couldn’t be helped. I cannot resist all that small, fuzzy, cuteness.
The baby ducks were a little harder to capture. There weren’t as many ducks as there were geese, and the ducklings would run off into the water and quickly swim away whenever anyone approached.
After the bike ride we spent the rest of the day back at Breezy Acres where M the Younger helped M with some projects (one of which was building a ladder for the swim platform), Merdi studied for an exam, and I made some salads to have with our dinner that evening.
All in all, it was a great day. 🙂
Today’s Outdoor Adventures
It’s another hot one here in the Bogs. They mentioned on the weather report this morning that we could tie the old record high of 92 (which was set in the 1940s). I haven’t checked to see if we made it yet.
I spent most of my time outside in the garden. I did take a walk around the pond before settling in to do some weeding. I had hoped to go have a look at the creek but half way through the woods I was swarmed by mosquitoes. The insect repellent doesn’t work on areas not covered. In my case, it was one area: my face. I dislike the scent of the repellents and prefer not to have it on my face if I don’t have to. Apparently I have to if I want to enter the woods.
There are buttercups and yellow hawkweed blooming throughout the meadow. The wild raspberries are blooming too.
The garden is looking pretty good. I picked a few asparagus beetles off the asparagus ferns but will probably have to spray them. I found a recipe for garlic spray here. I’ll give that a try and see how it works out.
The lettuces are finally coming up. Still no sign of the Swiss chard. I’m going to give up on that until later in the season. It’s getting too hot for it. The pepper and tomato plants all look healthy and strong. M planted two rows of sweet corn yesterday, along with some cucumbers. It looks like it should be a good growing season.