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The Suburbanite
  • Discover adventure along Towpath Trail

  • Getting out on the trails can be a daunting task for those who are unfamiliar with them, but with 80 miles of trail, including 25 miles of the Towpath Trail, in Stark County, there are plenty of good places to ride, according to Stark Parks public relations director Connie Rubin.

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  • Slowly, even frustratingly, spring has finally inched its way into Northeast Ohio.
    As temperatures warm up incrementally, the chances to get outdoors and enjoy physical activities such as running, walking, hiking and biking are also on the rise.
    Before hopping on the bike and heading out, though, it’s wise to make sure that after a long winter of inactivity, that bike in the garage or storage shed is in good working order.
    Joe Ringer, assistant store manager store manager for Ernie’s Bike Shop in Massillon explained that there are two primary areas of focus for bike owners when making sure their bike is road-ready.
    “You should check your tire pressure and, also, make sure the chain is lubed,” Ringer said. “If your chain and gears are rusty, they may need to be replaced.”
    For those who don’t already have a bike and might be looking to make good on a resolution to get healthier or lose weight, Ringer said the type of bike needed depends on where a person intends to ride and what type of surface they will be riding on. Regardless of the setting, one important element to include is a helmet.
    While there are other safety items for riders, Ringer pointed to a good helmet as the most important on the list. Helmets generally start at $40 and as anyone who has seen even a handful of riders cruising down their street or along a local highway can attest, they are available in a wide range of colors and designs.
    HAPPY TRAILS
    Getting out on the trails can be a daunting task for those who are unfamiliar with them, but with 80 miles of trail, including 25 miles of the Towpath Trail, in Stark County, there are plenty of good places to ride, according to Stark Parks public relations director Connie Rubin.
    “One good place is the Ohio and Erie Towpath Trail with parking at the Crystal Springs Trailhead,” Rubin said. “From there, they can go north all the way into Summit County or they can go south into Massillon and have lunch at the Blue Heron Deli.”
    The deli, along with Ernie’s Bicycle Shop, is located beside the Lake Avenue Trailhead and is one of multiple places to stop and eat along the trail. Where riders choose to embark on their journey could have much to do with what kind of ride they want and with whom they will be riding, according to Rubin.
    “A good one for families with kids to go to is in Canal Fulton and to St. Helena Heritage park,” Rubin added. “It’s a good location for families because they can also go on a one-hour canal boat ride, there are two ice cream shops within walking distance, along with a canoe livery and putt-putt golf.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Riders who want to get out on the trail but also socialize can take part in one of the spring and summer night rides guided by the staff from Ernie’s Bicycle Shop. There are five more scheduled night rides this year, one each month stretching through the end of summer into the start of fall. The next ride is scheduled for June 22 and begins at the Lake Avenue trail head.
    The rides begin just before dark, so all riders taking part must have a helmet, headlight and tail light. In conjunction with the night rides, the Blue Heron Cafe stays open late for riders who want something to eat before or after their ride.
    In addition to the Towpath Trail, the 55 miles of trail available to cyclists in Stark County are mostly scenic, but many are not far from businesses and restaurants. For a complete map of riding trails, visit the maps page of the Stark Parks site at http://www.starkparks.com/trail_list.asp.
    Reach Andy at 330-899-2872 or Andy.Harris@TheSuburbanite.com.
    On Twitter: @aharrisBURB