Login | June 03, 2020

Chill rides to Tremont

Pete’s World

Published: September 30, 2019

I have to admit that I’ve kind of mellowed over the years. For instance, in my younger “hammerhead” cycling days I felt nothing but distain for the notion of stopping half way through a ride to get a bite to eat - or do anything else for that matter. Nope, I was all about blasting through the entire jaunt. Only when I was done would I have the inclination to switch gears towards something like dining.

But as author Wayne Dyer famously said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” And I’ve kind of melded that wonderful observation into my current cycling philosophy. Today I can thoroughly enjoy what I once considered one of those blasphemous brunch stop rides.

Thus for several years, every other week or so, I’ve been using one long ride as a chill-out session where my girlfriend and I can stop someplace along the way to sample one of the interesting bistros or cafes we’re always hammering past - but heretofore had never taken the time to stop and enjoy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t gone full on ice-cream-social riding, I’ve just gotten a smidge more flexible. Indeed, I still get that exhilaration of busting out tempo and threshold rides with zero stops and multiple hard efforts…but I’m trying to balance those hard stamina rides with a few relaxing leisure rides.

And this leads me to the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, which we ride on sunny Saturday or Sunday mornings up to Tremont where we hit a bistro or cafe and relax with a foo-foo coffee and some decadent homemade pastry.

We find it hugely rewarding riding to a unique destination where we can sit outside, soak up the ambiance of a cool environment, and just watch the rest of the world go by as we do nothing. It’s become a ride I look forward to weeks in advance.

But…up until recently there was a downside to said foray, and that involved dealing with the frenzied traffic on Harvard and Jennings Roads into Steelyard Commons, and on W. 14th Street into Tremont. Well, I’m happy to say, what with completion of Phase 3 in the Towpath Trail’s Connectivity plan, that downside is history.

Yup, today you can take the Towpath Trail from any one of the several trailheads within CVNP (Cuyahoga Valley National Park) and ride the trail directly into the cosmopolitan little city of Tremont - with zero detours, involving zero heavily trafficked roadways.

There are now several really great access points with which to pedal into Tremont. Your first good exit is the Clark Avenue crossing. Go left on Clark and take that up to W. 14th Street, where just a block away is A Christmas Story House. If you continue on Clark you’ll come to Saint Michael Archangle Roman Catholic Church.

The next great exit to Tremont is a left on Jefferson Avenue. Along the way you can go right or left on Professor Avenue, where you’ll find a plethora of eateries. If you continue west on Jefferson, you can take a right on Starkweather Avenue and you’re smack dab at Lincoln Park, where there’s more really cozy little cafes and bistros with outdoor dining abutting the park.

Finally, if you’re into something that just screams Cleveland tradition, there’s Sokolowski’s University Inn. To access this wonderful destination, simply take the Towpath until it dead ends right in front of University Avenue. Then go straight and ride on University Avenue, where about seven or so blocks up the hill is Sokolowski’s.

Heck, University Inn sits right next to the another new section of Towpath Trail, which takes you to the Centennial Lake Link Trail - and that pup goes all the way to Edgewater Park.

So, if you’re looking for a great way to get in some relaxing weekend cardio - while at the same time venturing out into new territory where you can sample some great cafes, bistros and restaurants - you’re guaranteed a home run when you take the Towpath Trail into Tremont.

Just make sure to save Judy and me that shady little spot under the umbrella.

Bon Appetit