Biking in Cleveland & Akron/Canton

by | Mar 25, 2015 | Family Friendly Stuff, Public Spaces, Parks & Recreation

Every April, cyclists who live in northern cities and have been cooped up inside for months jump on their bikes for their first ride on snow-free streets in half a year, even if it is only 40 degrees outside! Bikers in Cleveland, Akron and Canton are no different. NE Ohio’s topography offers everything from a hilly ride through the Chagrin Valley for serious road warriors to an easy, relaxing ride on a flat trail for a family with kids on training wheels. Here are just a few resources to connect newcomers to NE Ohio with others who are happiest when they are on two wheels.
Towpath Trail map
Favorite Bike Trails/Rides:
The Towpath Trail – Also known as the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, runs 110 miles, including a large section through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The trail is mostly crushed limestone with a fairly flat surface that winds through a variety of wooded environments.
Century Cycles – Is always organizing fun outings including Night Rides, 10-15 mile rides in the dark with a group of fun people.
Bike Aboard on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad – Only a handful of the National Parks in the US have trains to take visitors through the park and this is one of them. Their Bike Aboard rides offer cyclists one-way rides (with your bike) for just $3!
Cleveland MetroParks – Dozens of trails in 18 different parks.
Lake MetroParks Greenway Corridor – Almost 5 mile trail through Painesville, Painesville Township and Concord Township.
Maple Highlands Trail – Twelve mile trail in Geauga County that hugs the abandoned Baltimore & Ohio RR and goes from the Lake Geauga border to Headwaters Park in Claridon and Huntsburg townships.
Summit MetroParks – Bike & Hike Trail – 34 miles of trails to explore.
For those who really want to off-road and go mountain biking, Century Cycles has a great list of spots each designated with the skill level needed.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is adding a mountain bike trail (first one in the park) in the summer of 2015

Biking Resources & Organizations:

Bike Cleveland – Non-profit agency that promotes biking, advocates and helps set policies, and provides education, connections and forums for bikers.
The Bike Rack – Full service bicycle parking and commuter center in downtown Cleveland (near intersection of E. 4th & Huron by Quicken Loans Arena). Provides secure bicycle parking for those who commute to work, individual shower/changing facilities, lockers, bicycle rentals and minor bicycle repairs.
Cleveland Velodrome – Opened in 2013 and staffed by trained volunteers, the Velodrome is an outdoor 166 meter Olympic style steel and wood track with a 50 degree embankment in the corners and a 15 degree embankment on the front and back straights. Anyone is welcome, including kids as young as grade school. A free training session, which includes use of their track bikes (you can only use your own bike here if it is specifically a track bike) is available to anyone interested.

photo courtesy Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park

Courtesy Ray’s Indoor MPB

Heights Bicycle Coalition – Designed to help bikers in the Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights neighborhoods know their peers, find good biking routes and share resources.
Northeast Ohio Cycling Connection – Great connector organization.
Ohio City Bike Co-Op – Offers refurbished used bikes for sale or rent and educational classes on bike maintenance and safety.
Ohio Bicycle Federation – Works to improve biking in Ohio through legislation, education and sharing ideas.
Ray’s Indoor Mountainbike Park – For bikers who don’t want to lose the edge in winter months, Ray’s MBP is the world’s first all terrain mountain and BMX bike indoor track/park. Riders of all ages and skill levels are welcome (riders under 18 need parental waivers). It is only open in cold months (they figure when it’s nice in NE Ohio, you are out on an actual mountain bike trail), and the 140,000 SF warehouse is on Cleveland’s near Westside.
Zagster – just want to rent a bike for the day? There are bike rental stations in Cleveland including in downtown, Ohio City, Tremont & University Circle and more to come.
Martin in black/yellow shirt and Fiona in white shirt with black tank

EA client Martin Sunley (black/yellow) and wife Fiona (black tank). Transplants from England.

Bike Clubs:
Akron Bicycle Club – Every level welcome, lots of social events as well.
Cleveland Critical Mass – Critical mass bike rides now happen in more than 300 cities around the world. Hundreds of bikers of every skill level gather on The Mall in downtown Cleveland (used to be Public Square, but that is under construction) on the last Friday of every month with wheels up at 7 pm for a fun ride through the city neighborhoods. The ride always ends up at a local watering hole for adult beverages.
Cleveland Touring Club – Organizes fun rides for every level. They even rank their outings from “social” rides to “aggressive” so you can explore NE Ohio with other cyclists.
Crank-Set Rides – Themed bike rides, usually once a month, which raise awareness of biking and give back to the community.
Cuyahoga Valley Cycling & Craft Beer Club – Great MeetUp group that seems to combine two things people love.
Folks on Spokes – More leisurely paced rides, based out of Jackson Township (Canton) in Stark County.
Hudson Velo Club – Recreational and challenging bike rides.
Lake Erie Wheelers – Westside club founded in 1972, $20/yr membership.
Long Distance Cycling Cleveland – Informal, non-competitive long distance cycling group.
Lorain Wheelmen – Rides April through October, with average speed of 16-20 MPH.
Medina County Bicycle Club – For bicycling enthusiasts in Medina county.
Orville Cycling Club – Wayne County (Amish country) for scenic country rides.
Silver Wheels Cycling Club – Despite its name, it’s not for seniors – offering more than 400 activities a year related to biking including rides in Ohio and in other states. Starting points are typically on Cleveland’s Westside and in Lorain County.
Slow Roll Cleveland – Monday night rides, many times starting from cool urban bars/restaurants.
Stark County Bicycle Club – Canton based club.
Western Reserve Wheelers – Most departures are from eastern suburbs.
Guided Bike Tours of Cleveland for Visitors:
Cleveland Bike Tours – Small group bike tours for riders of all ability levels with three Cleveland tour routes (downtown, Ohio City and University Circle) as well as bike rentals and outings in conjunction with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the bike/aboard outings on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
Bob’s Bike Tours – Group bike tours offered Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (start and end at Petersen’s Nuts on Carnegie near E. 9th by Progressive Field) and can include downtown, Ohio City and Tremont.
Cleveland Cycle Tours – Fifteen person bike ride that turns a group outing into a roving party! Nothing is consumed while biking from one restaurant or bar in Ohio City to the next, but the camaraderie looks fun.
And if you just want to rent a bike for the day, Cleveland has Zagster bike rentals available in a half dozen locations including downtown, Ohio City, The Flats, Gordon Square and University Circle – just use your credit card to swipe one out for low cost of $3/hour or $24/day.
Our Favorite Independent Bike Shops:
Yes, you can always go to Dick’s Sporting Goods or WalMart to find a bike, but why when NE Ohio has plenty of independent bike shops owned by avid and knowledgeable bikers who know so much more:
Bicycle Boulevard – Shaker Heights
Bike Ohio – Bainbridge
Blimp City Bike Shop – Akron
The Broadway Cyclery – Bedford – very close to the Cleveland MetroParks’ Bedford Reservation.
Century Cycles – Three locations: Rocky River, Medina and Peninsula (right on the TowPath Trail, and this location also rents bikes).
Eddie’s Bike Shop – Four locations: Stow, Montrose, Willoughby Hills and North Olmsted.
Fridrich Bicycle – On Lorain Road in Cleveland’s Ohio City.
Joy Machines – On W. 25th in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood.
Marty’s Cycle Center – Avon Lake
Mountain Road Cycles – Three locations: Chagrin Falls, Chardon and Berea.
Shaker Cycle – on W. 5th in Cleveland’s Tremont neighbohrood.
Solon Bicycle – Solon
Spin Bike Shop – Lakewood
To provide plenty of places for cyclists to lock up their bikes when visiting Tremont, Ohio City, Detroit-Shoreway, St. Clair-Superior and Edgewater Park, the non-profit public arts/neighborhood improvement Land Studio partnered with several organizations and entrepreneurs to supply Bike Boxes – former shipping containers, painted bright colors and re-purposed to accommodate several dozen bikes each.
Also, the city of Cleveland has a master plan to provide bike paths throughout the city, and if you want a good cause to bike for, check out the VeloSano Bike Ride, which raises money to help find a cure for cancer. You can ride anywhere from 12 miles (good for families) to 200+ (good for avid bikers).