Monday, August 18, 2008

Cleveland Metroparks: Rocky River Reservation

Let me say this... Cleveland's got some SWEET riding. When I found out I was coming out here I spoke with Jeff who informed me that he was jealous... I'd be able to ride the metroparks. I'm inclined to agree.

Since I'm not here on the weekends and my work schedule makes a 5-hour ride impossible during daylight hours I broke the "emerald necklace" up into chunks so I could ride the whole thing. I'm sure I'll find a portion that I like best, but it's all pretty dayum cool so far.

Rocky River Reservation

From Bagley Road to the lake you'll find some of the best riding I've come across in a while - especially considering your proximity to a major airport and metro area. Valley Parkway is two lanes with good pavement, though you will occasionally come across a rough section from the right tire track to the shoulder. Northbound is a slight downhill, not enough to really recognize unless you've got a computer that tracks it. Having a slight tailwind and this downhill, I thought I was just having a great day out on the bike until I turned back south and reality washed over me.

There aren't many stop signs or lights on this section - 4 or 5 stoplights at most. It's truly a place close to the city where a recreational cyclist can get a quality workout with minimal traffic hassle, especially since the road's speed limit is 30mph and visibility at the intersections is very good.

As amenities go, you are riding through a park so there are restrooms and drinking fountains aplenty. There is a golf course with a snack bar just south of Lorain road, but that's pretty much your only convenient food/drink option so be sure to bring everything you'll need along with you.

At the north end, Valley Parkway abruptly ends at Detroit Road and there's no signage to indicate which direction a person might go from there based on your ultimate destination - Cleveland's bicycling network seriously leaves something to be desired on this front. I had my Garmin GPSMap60CS with me so I was able to navigate through some of the neighborhoods closer to the lake, where I discovered that the majority of the shoreline was privately owned with little to no public access. Apparently there is a public beach here at the end of Columbia Road (at Lake Road, Route 6), but I didn't attempt to venture over there as I was losing daylight. On that note - if there's a chance that you'll be out at or after sunset, you will need lights on this stretch of road as it gets quite dark and drivers are unlikely to expect cyclists on the road at night. Should you be stuck without lights, I'd suggest taking the bike path adjacent to Valley Parkway as a safer alternative.

I'll post more sections as I get a chance to ride and review them.


Jeff said...

HELL YEA!!!!!!

The RR metroparks is EPIC riding. Man, oh man, I miss it...

JimmyNick said...

Wait 'til you see the rest of the Emerald Necklace. As nice as the RR Reservation is, it is probably the least of them all -- unless you're strictly a flatlander. It's also where you're most likely to get honked at/yelled at.
If you're looking for folks to ride with here, let me know. My racing team even has a former XXX member on it.


Erik said...

Thanks for the invite!

I've actually ridden the rest of it, just haven't reviewed it on here... I'll get around to it sometime.