Day 09: Cleveland, OH to Ashtabula, OH

June 3rd, 2014

64.5 mi / 5:51:22 time /  11.0 mph avg. /  705 ft. climbing
Staying at Michael Cahill Bed and Breakfast

Since the early planning days, we always had a 65+ mile day lurking in our schedule. It was an unavoidable effect of the distance between Cleveland and Niagara Falls. It was originally scheduled for tomorrow, but after closely watching the weather forecast, we decided to modify the route at the last minute and do the big miles today. Tailwinds of 15-20mph were a gift too good to ignore, so we decided to make hay while the wind blew.

First-breakfast was at the cupcake cafe, and the we were over a giant bridge and through the heart of downtown Cleveland on the tail end of the morning rush. It’s pretty awesome how Rett, riding less than a year, can navigate a big city on a loaded bike like it’s no big deal. We made our way east and north, eventually dropping onto a lakefront path (far less-used than Chicago’s), and then to the east side complement of mansions to yesterday’s west side. Whoa. We thought yesterday’s houses were pretty amazing, but these mansions made it instantly clear that those were the new-money places, while these were the old-money places.


So it was shocking then how quickly the neighborhood changed to a dump in a one-block space, an even sharper divide than the invisible fence that separates Oak Park and Austin in Chicago. Good thing though, because if we had elaborate mansions to gawk at, we never would have survived the roads, which were even worse than yesterday’s, hard as that is to believe.

After second-breakfast in a Euclid diner, we had our first actual encounter with a touring cyclist, Hans, heading the other way. I stayed to chat while telling Rett to go on ahead, since we had so many miles to cover. I felt bad telling him about the world’s-worst roads ahead into headwinds on his skinny-tired bike, but he said Buffalo might be even worse.

On our way into Mentor, Rett hit something noisy, and soon after, her rear tire was going flat. Ugh, another delay on our long day. As we walked ahead to some shade, a local couple on bikes suddenly appeared behind us and asked if we needed any help. We assured them we’d be ok, but as fellow touring cyclists, they stuck around to chat. And good thing too, since one of my spare tubes failed, and Mike and Martha helped out with a better pump than mine, and tire inspection. And if that wasn’t enough kindness, Mike led us on to the nearby bike shop for more tubes, while Martha went home to collect a gift certificate for the bike shop that they otherwise wouldn’t have used. Such kind and generous people! Later learned that, in our haste, we missed Martha’s return with a snack packet, so they were even more generous than we knew at the time.

Climbing hills in the appropriately-named Painesville, the intensity of the sun’s heat was nearly knocking out Rett, so the sudden appearance of a Baskin Robbins provide relief and recovery. A late lunch was had at a classy brewpub in Madison, where I felt bad to not want to risk anything stronger than their pale lager.

The wind really helped, but the last miles were still a lot of work under Rett’s knee pain (on the bright side, the saddle pain is mostly cured!) We rolled up to the Michael Cahill Bed and Breakfast and its very accommodating hosts around 7pm, who gave us ice and essentially the run of the whole incredible house (where no one else, including the hosts, were staying). After some rest, Rett was able to limp down the giant hill a couple blocks to a barbecue restaurant, where I got a beer from Chicago’s Revolution. Rett’s longest ride ever was a success, thanks to her flexibility, effort, and positive attitude!

5 Responses to “Day 09: Cleveland, OH to Ashtabula, OH”

  1. Jyothy Says:

    Longest yet happens to be the fastest! You guys rule! Really admire how well you complement each other! Hope Rett’s knee feels better!

  2. Swati Says:

    Oi. And after reading about Rett’s new found desire for veggies, I was wondering if I could talk her onto the running side. But the knee issues put the kibosh on my hopes even before they hatched! Trooper Rett! You’re doing an amazing job being her cheerleader and guide too, Neil!

  3. Sandy Says:

    Very impressed, congrats on making it through a grueling day! I’ve been to Cleveland for work and it reminds me a bit of Detroit- a city that once was…. I hope you have the wind behind you the rest of the trip! Hugs to you both 🙂

  4. Sue Says:

    What a fantastic B&B! so Victorian. Glad you met nice and helpful people along the way!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Neil, if you keep saying such nice and complimentary things about my sister I will be forced to like you 😉