Our Bike Camp-Out Night Ride on the Towpath Trail had almost 50 people pre-registered. However, clouds all day, and foreboding red blotches approaching our area on the weather radar kept most non-diehard bike-camping fans away. We ended up with 14 people who showed up to ride and camp, along with about an equal number who did our normal out-and-back Night Ride.
|Getting ready to depart Peninsula|
It was sprinkling lightly as we departed the Century Cycles store in Peninsula and headed south on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
The rain picked up a little more steady by the time we reached the turn-around and re-group point at the Botzum Trailhead. The regular Night Riders turned around and headed back to Peninsula, while we campers continued the extra three and a half miles to get to our camp site at the Summit Metro Parks Big Bend Trailhead. It was dark and raining lightly when we arrived.
|Some campers waiting for the rest of the group at Botzum Trailhead|
I got my tent set up just in time around 9:30pm to stash my panniers inside the vestibule and duck inside to hide from the rain that now came down steady and hard. I heard some folks chatting and having a good time outside. I found out later that they were hanging out and sharing some cheese under the map kiosk near the trailhead parking lot.
Around 11:00pm, the rain finally subsided, so a few of us ventured outside to stand around, chat some more, and compare our gear and camping setups.
Great Divide Mountain Bike Route next month, had a lightweight bivvy sack and tarp setup instead of a tent, which he carried on his Salsa Fargo.
Salsa Vaya waiting in the wings.
The rain came back a few times during the night, but my Big Agnes Seedhouse SL 2 tent kept me dry inside. I woke up around 5:45am, and started to pack my gear back up. I needed to get an early start in order to have time to get breakfast then help open up the store at 10:00am. A couple people had already left before me, while a few were taking their time; the ladies were making some coffee and offering it around to the rest of us.
Josh and I got back on the trail around 6:45am. It wasn't raining when we left, but we had a few light sprinkles during the ride back. We got back sooner than expected, about 7:20am, which ended up being a little early for our planned breakfast when Fisher's Cafe would open at 8:00am, so we drove up the road to Johnny's Diner in Hudson. I got back to the shop in time to clean the Towpath Trail mud and grit off my bike.
Thank you to everyone who enjoyed the Bike Camp-Out Night Ride with us! We'd like to do it again with better weather, so watch this space for announcements!
If you'd like to plan your own bike-camping adventure on the Towpath Trail, we have a list of camping sites available along the trail, many of which are FREE! Go to www.centurycycles.com/to/camp for all the details. Check out www.bikeovernights.org for more tales of sub 24-hour bike adventures from all over the world, plus tips and resources for planning your own trip!