Monday, August 30, 2010

Matua Ride: August 2010

Every summer, I try to participate in a few local organized bike tours in an effort to not only become a better cyclist, but also to enjoy the interesting and beautiful Ohio countryside.  Occasionally, I also like to hook up with friends and just ride for the hell of it, maybe taking in the scenery of areas less travelled.  Last week, I participated in just such a ride.

A few people I work with at Century Cycles (Neil from the Medina store and Krista from the Rocky River store) get together each week to ride anywhere from 50-70 miles in a different location of Northeast Ohio.  Many of the rides they choose are directly from author Stan Purdum's book 'Cycling to Lunch' (, which documents a variety of amazing bicycle routes Stan has created in and around the Western Reserve area.  On this week's ride, Neil and Krista planned to combine one of Stan's rides with a route of their own.  I decided to tag along.  A fourth person, Ron, who is a close friend of Krista's (and a Pulitzer prize winning photographer, as I came to find out afterwards) also joined our merry little band.

The plan today was to kick out around 55-60 miles and hit several locations circling around the rather expansive Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant in Ravenna, Ohio.  Our tour started off at 9:00am out of Mantua on roughly 8 miles of rails-to-trails pathway...and I do mean rough.  In fact, the amount of paved path we encountered over this 8 mile jaunt was!  Riding on a pair of road slick 700x23's over this kind of terrain made me a bit nervous, but the ol' Giant Defy Alliance held up just fine.

Our first photo-op was a small military monument in the village of Garrettsville, Ohio.  The monument's various carved stones paid tribute to fallen soldiers from each of America's wars, from the Civil War through Desert Storm.
War memorial in Garrettsville, Ohio.

Next, we entered the town of Newton Falls, where again we found a small park with several war memorials.  The park also boasted the very falls which carry the town's namesake.  While sightseeing the area, we also came across the famous Newton Falls covered bridge, which was built in 1831 and spans the east branch of the Mahoning River.  It is considered the second oldest covered bridge in Ohio.
Civil War canon, Newton Falls, Ohio.

 WWII memorial, Newton Falls, Ohio.

The falls at Newton Falls, Ohio.

Boardwalk down to the falls.

 Newton Falls covered bridge, circa 1831.
The Mahoning River
Krista, Neil, and Ron at the Newton Falls covered bridge.
Leaving the town of Newton Falls, we buckled down for some serious riding.  At times, I found myself outdistancing my fellow riders and needing to ratchet the power down a tad.  I was still feeling good after the previous week's Pedal to the Point tour, so I must have had energy in reserve.  The reality, too, was that this was their ride and their route, and if I didn't want to get hopelessly lost, I needed to stay within visual range of the troops!  Not to mention the fact that it's just nice to chat with cycling friends on such a great afternoon!!

Action shot of Neil somewhere between Here and There.
Just glad I didn't wipe out while turning around to snap the pic!

At the 25 mile mark, we stopped for lunch at the Old Dutch Mill golf course in Lake Milton, Ohio.  We were truly out in the sticks now, and this was our best shot at food for miles in any direction!  The restaurant actually had a nice little menu and decent food.  It hit the spot for sure.

Our final photo-op was in and around the West Branch State Park, located a few miles south of the Ravenna Ammunition Plant.  Here, water and beachfront dominated the landscape.

West Branch State Park, east.
West Branch State Park, west.

Neil, me, Krista and Ron at West Branch State Park.
As you can imagine, the desire to kick off the shoes and relax on the beach was tempting, but we fought of the urge and hopped back on our saddles.  The last 20 miles of the ride went by uneventfully (except for the part where I swallowed some sort of nasty insect), and after battling a bit of easterly headwind towards the end, we arrived at our start point in Mantua at around 3:00pm, having cycled just over 55 miles.

It was a great afternoon and a great ride.  Thanks much to Neil and Krista for inviting me along.  I look forward to future rides!


  1. I am a current resident of All Seasons Mobile Home Park in Deerfield, Ohio. I've been fighting a bogus repair charge and a bogus criminal charge. All because of rotten lies told by Carol Foster and Vicki Gilpin of Modern Management Solutions (The management and billing company located in Ravenna, Ohio). Now, they are trying to aquire my paid off home free and clear so they can re-sell it for a huge profit. They have done this sort of thing before with the help of their attorney David Allen Sed. Its become part of their business model. Horrible, but true. If you want to know how all of this unfolded, please visit either of the following sites:

    You can read the entire backround so far, including my sworn statement filed with Portage County Municipal Court, view photos, and learn a few things about the rotten business practices of M.M.S. Something has to be done. This is what I've chosen to do.

  2. Man, I'm sorry to hear you're having such trouble, and I hope you find a solution soon, but I'm not sure what all this has to do with, ya know, CYCLING? I'm not a resident of that area and know nothing of M.M.S. (nor do I care to), but regardless, I wish you good luck. In the future, I suggest directing your posts to more relevant blogs on the topic.