102 miles in 10.5 hours – Max Speed 34 mph
I started out today knowing that it was likely to be my final day on roads until I was almost home. I don’t know how I felt about this, since I really don’t mind road riding (most people I talk to seem to think that would be the worst part), and I know that most people on bike paths are idiots. But I think that I was excited for the change.
Anyway, the paths were still a ways away, so it was time for me to head out. I went out east and headed on some quiet back roads for a while. Then, all of a sudden, my back tube blew out. Damn, it was my last slime tube (not actually slime, some tube specialized makes, with a slime like substance in it) and I only had one regular tube left. I mean, I have patched some old ones, but I don’t trust them very much. Anyway, I put my last tube in and prayed I would make it to the next town with a bike shop.
I got back on the road and went through some small towns with no services, which was unfortunate because I was rather hungry. Finally I reached Bowerston, which had a single cafe open. But it may have been the cheapest of the entire trip, and it was also quite delicious. I talked to the waitress for a while in there about biking. She had recently decided to go back to nursing school too, so I congratulated her on that, especially since my sister is just entering nursing school. I then got to take a rail-trail to the town of Jewett, which was excellent.
After that it was around 30 miles on more brutal hills until I reached the town of Steubenville, which is the end of Ohio. It is a fairly large town, so I looked in my phone for bicycle shops. I saw one in Weirton, across the Ohio in West Virginia, so I tried calling them, but got number disconnected. I went to grab some food so I could think about this. At McDonald’s I realized that I should search for sporting goods stores, and saw there was a Dick’s in Steubenville, so I went there and bought a few tubes. With that out of the way I came to the next issue.
There are three bridges across the Ohio River in Steubenville, but one was closed. Another one was on a freeway which was closed to bicycles. That left one last bridge, but on the other side of that was a freeway you had to get on. Hmm. I asked around, but no one could really help me out. I decided to take the bridge that I knew I could legally take, and deal with the consequences on the other side. I made it across the bridge, and darted the two miles into the town of Weirton without incident. But, I don’t have a picture of that state crossing, since stopping and taking pictures when you are somewhere illegally is probably not the best idea.
Once in Weirton I shot through town and made it to the first major trail of the network home, the Panhandle Trail.
This was an excellent trail with very little foot traffic. Unfortunately the gods saw to it that it wasn’t totally smooth, as they opened up the skies for a several hour drenching rain. Oh well. I had a goal in mind for the day, as there was a Holiday Inn Express just Southwest of Pittsburgh in a town called Bridgeville, which didn’t look too far off the trails. Remember back to Utah and Wyoming, that I had acquired a free night at a Holiday Inn, and I was ready to use it, particularly since I was soaked.
I made it to the where I wanted to get off the trail, and then the real fun started. First it was still raining, and the roads had a lot of traffic, and it was twilight, which is a really bad combination. But I made it through the traffic, and to where I needed to turn. Problem is, the one road I could have taken was actually a freeway and was signed for no bikes, and the other road was closed for repairs. I ended up taking some ridiculous back route up and over a freaking mountain (Pittsburgh seems like an extremely hilly city, at least the burbs). I eventually made it though, checked in, ate, and went to sleep.
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Note: This only goes to Weirton because I took the bike trail to Pittsburgh. I will not have another map up until the last two days because the remainder of the time are spent on the Panhandle, Montour, Great Allegany Passage, C&O Rail, and Western Maryland Rail Trails.