Undiscovered towpath

Today I did something I haven’t done in awhile: I actually purposely went for a ride on the towpath. I decided I wanted to try a southern part of the route on which I’d never gone. Back in the day, before I became an obsessed road cyclist and mileage Nazi, when I had a trail bike, I would ride the towpath. I’ve pretty much covered the area between Peninsula and Independence. Now that I have Beau, I’ve decided I’m no longer better than a ride on the towpath.

Michael and I headed out to Barberton and decided to ride south about 20 miles or so, and then turn around. If we’d had more time (daylight fades quickly these days), we could have done the last six or so miles to Massillon. This route took us through Clinton and Canal Fulton. It was a chilly, cloud-covered afternoon. The leaves are starting to change, but the colors were not yet as full as I’d hoped. Perhaps another week or two will yield the bright collage of color I excitedly anticipate each fall.

There’s a park in Clinton where a blue heron apparently has nested. I saw it (or a different one) earlier this June when we came through town on the tandem weekend ride. I managed to find it again and get a shot.

When I stopped to take the picture, a whole flock of ducks waddled over to me, making all sorts of ducky noises. I believe they were begging for food. If only I had known! I love to feed ducks; I think they are the cutest of the water fowl (and much more pleasant than geese). I guess I shouldn’t feel so bad, though; these ducks were kind of plump. I think they’re probably suckering plenty of food from animal lovers like me.

Another shot of the pond (or “lake”) in the park in Clinton.

Canal Fulton’s leg of the canal is still nicely maintained with working locks and a canal boat pulled by horses that you can ride on. I was disappointed that I apparently just missed a demonstration of canal boat passing along this leg. One of these days, I’d like to be around as they are doing rides, recreating the way boats would pass through the canals prior to the early 1900s when the canal system became nonoperational (I heard a flood caused the end of the Erie canal).

Michael at the trail head in Barberton. Recognize the bike? That’s the Beast! Michael adopted the Beast from me when I bought Beau. He’s put fenders on it. It looks pretty good. We rode a pretty fast pace together and ended with a 14.3 average. At points during the ride, we were clipping along at 16-17mph. I think the Beast is in good hands now.

We finished with 40 miles. I found myself eager to try more southern sections of the towpath–maybe start from Clinton and aim for Navarre or something. We had trouble finding on the internet distances to each town along the towpath. Right now the towpath goes all the way down to Bolivar, which seems to me like that might be a ways off since it’s in Tuscarawas County.

It also would be cool to go north from Barberton into Akron. Everyone keeps talking about this new floating bridge… Now with Beau, I’m aiming to do all the sections of the towpath just to see what they are like. The nice thing about fall is that there aren’t so many people riding on the towpath… in midsummer, it can be a nightmare of people… It’s kind of annoying when you constantly have to position yourself to pass slower moving “traffic” and kids swerving all over the place in erratic paths as they ride. Some parts of the towpath are actually kind of narrow in comparison to the usual width of a bike/hike path.


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