Named Ohio’s Best Ride and One of The 50 Best Rides in America by Bicycling Magazine!
- Bicycling Magazine cover story: http://www.bicycling.com/ride-maps/featured-rides/best-bike-ride-every-state
Krista McNamee, from the staff of the Century Cycles store in Rocky River, created this bike route in 2009.
The loop starts near the northern end of the Western Reserve Greenway, and follows several scenic back roads. At just under 50 miles, the ride is a nice long adventure that won't leave you too tired to enjoy a post-ride refreshment at one of the many local wineries in the area.
Most of the route is on paved trail or roads, but there are some brief unpaved sections, taking you through seven covered bridges, including the Smolen-Gulf Bridge, the longest covered bridge in the United States.
Krista's favorite restaurant on the route was Josephine's Ristorante (which, unfortunately, has since closed), which was known for the best cole slaw in the world (with pecans, pineapple, and dried cranberries). There are a few other restaurants near the main square in Jefferson. Otherwise, though, services along the route are relatively few and far between, so pack some extra snacks to fuel up mid-ride, and be prepared to take "stealth" restroom breaks.
This is a route that Krista personally rides and it does not have trail markers specifically denoting it on the road. Krista recommends:
- Print out the route map we provided online.
- Pick up a map of Ashtabula county at the visitor’s center close to the trailhead where Krista starts this ride. To get to the visitor’s center, exit I-90 at Route 45 and head north. Turn right on Ashtabula-Austinburg Road and the center will be on your right.
- After you pick up the county map and check with the staff for any updates (road closures, festivals or events, etc.), stay on Ashtabula-Austinburg Road and look for the sign for the trailhead for the Western Reserve Greenway Trail to start the ride there.
- This ride is on a combination of paved, gravel and dirt roads, so make sure the bike you ride is good on all those surfaces.
The most convenient starting point is at one of the many parking areas along the Western Reserve Greenway. From the Cleveland area, take I-90 East to Exit 223, turn left onto State Route 45, turn right onto Austinburg Road, then follow the signs to Old Austinburg Road for trail access.
Not up for Krista’s 49-mile ride? Then simply head to the start of the ride and bike the Western Reserve Greenway Trail as far as you like (http://www.ashtabulacountymetroparks.org/trail.htm), then pack up your bike and stop at some covered bridges and wineries in your car.
This page was published on Feb. 11, 2012; updated February 14, 2018.
Your use of this route information indicates your acceptance of all responsibility for its use. Ride safely, legally, and responsibly, and respect private property. Accessibility and suitability of roads and trails may change due to factors beyond our control; check local conditions before proceeding.