Monday, July 19, 2010

Cycling from Cincinnati east following a ridge line gave us relief from climbing hills. East of the city, the Little Miami Scenic Bicycle Trail begins. The trail runs all the way to Xenia and follows the Little Miami Railroad route of 1836 that Lincoln rode on on his way to Washington. Later, this railroad helped supply troops and material to Fort Dennison, Ohio during the Civil War and the line became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1870. Trains ceased to run the line in 1962. In 1861, Lincoln stopped at the brick depot in Xenia and today it still exists with all of it's charm as a favorite watering spot for riders.

Today, I think this route is one of Ohio's best kept secrets for outdoor enthusiasts. The trail follows the Little Miami River and canoe rentals and campgrounds dot the roughly 70 mile path. Passing through historic towns along the way, cafes and shops cater to cyclists en route. It almost seemed like the layout of the Nerherlands in regards to how bicycles were integrated into travel and business. Inns and Bed & Breakfast are also easily found!

An old fashioned charm is mixed with modernity when passing through the towns along the way. The trail is paved and flat and for the most part and is shaded by dense foliage and forest. No cars pass by so silence is the norm except for the occasional splash and laughter of people diving into the river and swamping each others boats in summer play. In the woods on the trail, some of the old supports for the railroad can still be seen with vines crawling over them like some ancient ruins of a past empire.

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