Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Think Spring? Think Gears!

...Or just one gear, if that's your thing.

Okay Cleveland, let's talk about bikes.

I feel like things have changed for me and this blog, a little bit. While this blog quickly became about Cleveland's food scene, there's really so much more to Cleveland than its restaurants. I've been riding my bike more, and have (for the most part) become a year-round commuter, so that's a big part of my life. I recently became an Administrator of Cleveland Critical Mass, a social riding group that meets on the last Friday of every month at Public Square for a ride around the city. We end up at a local bar or restaurant. CCM's March ride ended at The Nash on 80th. We had 147 riders, which was amazing for a chilly "Spring" evening!

For those not familiar, Critical Mass rides take place worldwide on the last Friday of every month. It's purpose is simply to get outside, ride bikes, and have fun. There's no political agenda, and anyone can join in. We have riders of all skill levels and ages, and it's always a good time.

I also participated in my first bike tour of the year, the Chili March Metric which was put on by the Lake Erie Wheelers. There were two rides offered, a 32.7 and a 64 mile ride - I opted for the shorter of the two, but rode it quickly. The weather was beautiful, and approximately 250 riders showed up for the day. If you are interested in bike tours, this page has hundreds all through Ohio, year round.

Cleveland has a lot of great resources for cycling and outdoor pursuits in general. While I am very in love with the restaurant scene here, it's also important to get outside and breathe in the fresh air. Cleveland has a lot of bicycle shops, such as Joy Machines (over near the West Side Market), Cain Park Bicycle (Superior/Lee) and the Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op - which offers social rides if you're looking for more ways to get out and ride. There are many more out there, and I welcome you to post your favorite bicycle shop if I didn't mention it already!

Back to restaurants for a minute, Nano Brew is a restaurant/bar brought to you by the same people that run Market Garden, Bier Market, Speakeasy and Bar Cento (all fantastic places, might I add). These folks are avid cyclists that partnered up with Joy Machines to provide a bike tune-up stand and tools to fix you up. They even offer you half off your first beer with your bike helmet, and the beers are very tasty!

If you haven't heard, Bike Cleveland is out there doing great work to advocate for the rights and equality of all cyclists. You can purchase a shirt, or better yet - join Bike Cleveland (it's only 30 dollars per year - 20 dollars if you're a student or have a limited income). Membership will get you discounts at some local shops, too! They also offer volunteer opportunities, if you're interested in becoming more involved in the community.

If you don't know where to go in Cleveland and would much rather have someone tell you/show you where you should visit on bike, you can check out the Great Lakes Bike Tour Co. (Bike CLE) - which offeres bicycle tours, rentals, and helpful guides to the parks in the area where you can ride. Check out their website for more details, or to sign up for a bike tour.

Century Cycles also offers their Night Rides on the Towpath Trail series all summer, and they end up being 12-15 mile rides. Last year they had a pajama ride (which I missed!).

Really, I could go on forever. Other cities are taking notice, too. The more people that become involved in the cycling community - the better it will become. Hopefully the weather is finally turning, which means that it's time to get your bike out (if you haven't already) and ride. If you don't have a bicycle yet, you should get one - there are lots of places to do that, and lots of people who would love to go on a bike ride with you!