Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Great Ride Along the Little Miami Scenic Trail

It only took 6 years for me to finally do this bike ride. It was there, stored away, in the back of my brain. Simmering. This year was the year.

As luck would have it, I have a friend who also wanted to do this ride. Her goals were a little loftier. Since I think just about any ride on the Little Miami Scenic Trail should include Peaches, I was easily persuaded to do a few more miles starting at Yellow Springs. She also convinced me to go to the very end of the trail in Newtown. Like I had any clue where that was.

I mapped out the distance, planned a few stops, and figured out that there was a Hilton Garden Inn near the trail which meant a free room with Hilton Honors points. Luckily the weekend we chose was perfect in the weather department so everything was set. Well, everything but my bike rack was set. The new bike didn't have eyelets for a rear rack. That meant some creative attaching using a Tubus QR adapter set and some rubber clamps I picked up at Home Depot.

The Beginning
This Little Miami Scenic Trail actually starts a little more north than our starting point. We opted to start in Yellow Springs mostly because, well, it is Yellow Springs. There is plenty to see and do there, and it would be a festive finish upon our return. It also helped that I really enjoy Peaches which is right beside the bike path.

Our first landmark town on our journey was Xenia. It is roughly 8 miles from Peaches to the McDonald's in Xenia. That wasn't so hard.

This fellow was riding from
Cincy to Yellow Springs
Xenia Station
Our next planned stop 16 miles from Yellow Springs was a new place along the path called Treana's Folks and Spokes Cafe in Spring Valley. All I can say is wow! This place awesome. Carolyn had Broccoli and Cheese Quiche, and I had a ham and cheese croissant. Darcie took good care of us and told us a little about the place. It is very nicely decorated, and they have bike parts for sale as well. They also have a nice outdoor seating area. This place was definitely going to be a stop on our return trip.
Bicycles hanging from the ceiling. How cool
is that?
Spring Valley
Treana's Spokes and Folks

The next place of note along the path was Fort Ancient. I have yet to actually see Fort Ancient other than passing by on the bike path. One of these days.

Morrow was our next stop and the farthest I have ever been on the Little Miami Scenic Trail. We stopped at Miranda's Ice Cream shop and had some lunch. Morrow is a pretty small town, and there aren't a lot of options close to the path. This is where it would have paid to know about Loveland. I had heard that the path traffic would pick up as we approached Loveland (which is 13 miles from Morrow), and it did. As Carolyn and I cruised into Loveland, we were amazed at all the fun everyone was having. People were out and about. Plenty of folks were on bicycles, and there were also a lot of folks smiling, eating, and drinking outside at the Trailside Cafe.

And I hear...."In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, There's a land that's fair and bright...." A band at the Trailside Cafe was playing this song which transported me right back to Tennessee. This song always reminds me of the Smoky Mountains. I can only think I must have heard it there when I visited as a child.

This song was fitting as Loveland seemed like a fairy tale in the middle of our journey. I was so interested in what was going on around me that I actually forgot to take pictures. Since we had committed to going to the end of the trail, we continued on our journey. In order to get to the end, we had to pass the road leading to the hotel. A bit later we arrived in Milford which touts itself as Trail Town, USA. There was a lot less path traffic in this section.

Hmmmm, which trail do we next? How about
Cincy to Cleveland! :-)
65 miles later, we arrived at the end of the trail in Newtown. There was no finish line or even an end of LMST sign. There was just a golf course sign ordering us to dismount bikes.

This section had little shade, and it was getting pretty warm out. We still had 10 miles to go to get back to the hotel. We considered heading back to the Trailside Cafe but decided to go the hotel instead since it would have added quite a few more miles to the journey.  Little did we know what awaited us on Wards Corner Road. It was only about 1 and half miles to the hotel from the path, but what a tough 1.5 miles it was!

My Lightspeed doesn't have a granny gear. I was carrying plenty of gear. I had just ridden 70+ miles. This road had cars on it. This was no time for a hill! Unfortunately no one informed the hill. I would have stopped and walked the bike, but I didn't think I could unclip from my pedals without falling over. By the time I got to the top, my legs were shaking and my heart was about to jump out of my chest. If we hadn't gotten our money's worth in the first 73 miles, we certainly got it in the last 1.5.  I was very happy to arrive at the hotel.

After a good breakfast on Sunday, we headed back toward Yellow Springs. Our timing was a little later than we had preferred, but it was out of necessity to avoid the Little Miami Half Marathon on the path. We did manage to go through the race finish line in Morrow. It was another day of absolutely perfect weather, and we once again stopped at Treana's on the way home. This time we met Treana and had some fajitas and good conversation with others who had stopped to "fuel up" along the path. After 55 miles for the day, we arrived back where we had begun. We enjoyed a celebratory drink at Peaches and walked around Yellow Springs which was bustling with people out enjoying a beautiful day. Our Little Miami Scenic Trail adventure was complete!


  1. really great trip!!!! SO much fun!!!! I sure wish I oculd ride a bike, there are so mnay things that a bike can take you to that running can not...

  2. Sounds AMAZING!! Been wondering how your running / biking has been going this summer. :)