Any Readers in the Dayton, Ohio Area?

I asked this question on our Facebook page, but didn’t get much of a response…so here I go again:

Are there any readers in the Dayton/Yellow Springs/Xenia area of Ohio? I ask because after 20 years in the Florida sun, I’ve been given the opportunity to relocate to Dayton — a steep learning curve of commuting in wintry conditions is in my future.

As I prepare to head north, I’m wondering if any readers can recommend cycling resources in that area. Any bike trails, advocacy groups, bike-friendly communities, good shops or other bikey treats I should know about?

If you’ve got some insider tips for me, I’m all ears — just drop your thoughts into the comments below.


29 Comments

  1. tom March 3, 2011 9:04 pm 

    I suppose I don’t really know how Dayton is, but I’m in Cleveland now and lived in Indianapolis for 5 years (same latitude, about), and I can only say this: Are you crazy? I’ve heard that people in Florida think 50F is cold, and I’d have just about been willing to commit murder to get a day as warm as that in the last 3 months, and there won’t be very many of them for another few months… Heck, most of the last 2 months I’d have been really happy with 34F…

    That said, good luck! :)

  2. Ghost Rider March 3, 2011 9:32 pm 

    I lived in Cleveland as a child…but that was a LONG time ago. I haven’t experienced a “real winter” since 1989 — and the most common comment I’ve been getting is “are you crazy?”. The first winter should be a novelty (I hope), but after that first one I think I’m gonna miss Florida a lot.

  3. Joe March 3, 2011 9:45 pm 

    You’re in luck. One of the Midwest’s cycling treasures is in your backyard. There are around 70 miles of connected, paved trails. You can get from the Dayton area to the Cincinnati area (Near King’s Island) and pass through several towns all on the trail. Here’s a website to get you started: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/jun06/0610lilmiami/tabid/13410/Default.aspx

  4. danc March 3, 2011 10:07 pm 

    OK, I’ll it give a try:
    1) Dayton is Bronze level BFC (I would not recommend the door zone bike lanes).
    
2) Dayton/Southwest Ohio has over 300 miles of paved multi-use trails, see The Miami Valley Ohio Rails-To-Trails Pages – http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/
    
3) Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (local MPO) has an informative “Bikeways & Pedestrians” page: http://mvrpc.org/transportation/bikeways-pedestrians
    
4) Plenty of good bike shops, depends on what you want. 

    5) Winter weather is a technical challenge, I’ve ridden six years, the winter old gets just like heat does in Florida.
    
6) “Ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable” is only major limits on cyclist right. Law has numerous exemptions. For more info see: Ohio Bicycle Federation – http://www.ohiobike.org/ “Improving Ohio bicycling through legislation, education, and sharing ideas”. NO MANDATORY BIKE LANES LAWS.

  5. Bikejax March 3, 2011 11:16 pm 

    Dayton? Jack you are going to end up on the news, and not in the good way. If you think FL is full of right wing nut jobs. Wait until you meet the people of Ohio. My father is from Ohio in 40+ years of visits up there I have never left that state without shaking my head and thinking these people ain’t right in the head. :) (Readers from Ohio, the above is humor. I’m well aware that Ohio if full of gregarious wonderful people)

    Sorry to hear about you leaving. Tampa is losing a real asset to the community. I truly wish you and your family nothing but the happiest and brightest of futures in the great white middle.

  6. Raiyn March 4, 2011 12:28 am 

    *Insert snarky comment about the bulk of the people in Central Florida being from Ohio

  7. Franky March 4, 2011 7:59 am 

    Try google maps and turn on the bicycling option. It will show you all the bike paths in the area. Or contact the local bike club – http://www.daytoncyclingclub.org/

  8. Matt Lindsay March 4, 2011 8:04 am 

    Joe is right, but he’s even righter than he says. The 70-mile Little Miami Trail is just one part of the over 330 miles of trail (238 connected miles) in the Miami Valley. Since you like road cycling as well, Dayton is a bronze-level BFC with an aggressive plan to reach Platinum (yes, PLATINUM) by 2025. There are serious single track cycling areas in two state parks and one county park, 2 within 10 miles of Dayton. Cycling events? our second regional cycling summit is coming up on May 20 (right after our 15th annual BTWD breakfast). Come up for that event to help you decide if you should move. Check out this link for the annual cycling events calendar:
    http://ohiocycling.info/obec.html
    This area does not lack for cycling culture: Bike Polo, Courteous Mass rides, cycling (ride) clubs, racing. It’s all here. If you move to Dayton, you’ll have all the cycling you could want.

  9. Val Beerbower March 4, 2011 8:32 am 

    Jack, you will be a welcome addition to our cycling community! Five Rivers MetroParks is the region’s best connection to nature and an active outdoor lifestyle! We have lots of resources and amenities available for our cycling friends, including a state-of-the-art bike hub with membership benefits for bike commuters. Our region boasts more than 270 miles of connected trail, and we continue to develop this extensive network. Each year, we also host the National Bike to Work Pancake Breakfast in May, celebrating the cycling enthusiasts in the greater Dayton area. Through these efforts and the hard work from our partners, Dayton has achieved the title of Bike-Friendly Community awarded by the League of American Bicyclists. Discover the amenities, programs, local clubs and all things cycling-related that await you in the Gem City when you visit http://www.metroparks.org/cycling. Best of luck!

  10. Ghost Rider March 4, 2011 8:36 am 

    Matt and Val — thank you SO much! This is exactly what I’m looking for. I’m glad to hear that things are pretty serious in Dayton…making good efforts to be more bike-friendly. It will be a refreshing change, especially coming from the nation’s deadliest city for bicyclists.

  11. mandy March 4, 2011 8:38 am 

    Matt is correct, there are a lot of bike paths in the area. For off road there is MOMBA, it is right in our backyard http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/Huffman/MoMBA.aspx. My husband often rides his bike over there and then rides the trails. If all goes well we will easily be able to ride from our house to downtown Dayton. Looking forward to being able to ride with the kids down there to have picnics and have them play in the fountains. I know a few people that do not own cars because they pike everywhere, yes even in winter!

    I

    I kno

  12. mutt March 4, 2011 8:42 am 

    Google has some links for dayton cycling.

    http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&site=&source=hp&q=dayton+ohio+bike+trails&aq=f&aqi=g1&aql=f&oq=&psj=1&bav=on.2,or.&fp=766d30e255eab77a

    http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/ is another good source for R-T-T (Rails to Trails) “Montgomery County Trails Creekside Recreation Trail ( http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/h-conn.htm ) | Great Miami River Recreation Trail( http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/gmiami.htm ) |
    Great Miami River Recreation Trail (Northern Segment)( http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/taylors.htm ) | Mad River Recreation Trail ( http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/mad.htm )|
    | Stillwater River Recreation Trail (http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/englewood_bike_path.htm ) | Stewart St. Bikeway ( http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/stewart.htm ) | Iron Horse Trail ( http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/ironhorse.htm ) |
    | The Great Miami River Recreation Trail [GMRRT] in Warren & Butler Counties ( http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/gmiami.htm ) |
    | Wolf Creek Recreation Trail ( http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/wolf.htm )”

    With Warren and Butler Counties connection trail http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/great.htm

  13. Eli March 4, 2011 8:48 am 

    I live in Yellow Springs and work in Dayton. There a plenty of commuters here. It does get cold, and wet, but its flat and hopefully you have the wind at your back. MOMBA is great fun, John Bryan in Yellow Springs has a nice long trail too. The Rails to Trails program in Ohio has created enough bike trail to get you from Cincinnati to Cleveland. Nicely called the Ohio Erie trail. Village Cyclery in Yellow Springs is a great local bike shop. Dayton itself doesn’t have a bike shop, you have to go into the suburbs, Kettering has The Kettering Bike Shop and K&G Bike Center (also in Xenia). The riding is nice.

  14. Sarah K. March 4, 2011 9:11 am 

    Hi! I live in Oakwood, OH, just south of Dayton proper, and have been doing a fair amount of cycling in the past year. I’m by no means an expert, but can say that Dayton is, indeed, cyclable. I commute to downtown once or twice a week, and have found several routes that include very underused cycling paths (one of which, incidentally, was under water the other day, due to heavy rains up north?). I do have to use sidewalks more than I’d like, since drivers here aren’t really aware of cyclist yet.

    I was worried about the winter, but have found that it’s not as bad as one would think. I actually hate winter, deeply and passionately, but cycling hasn’t been too bad this past winter. I wear two wool shirts (not sweaters!) under a rain jacket/windbreaker, wool or polypro tights under wind pants or jeans, good socks, waterproof shoes, wool balaclava with skinny wool cap for under 15 degrees, ski goggles, lobster gloves… yeah, it looks intense and you need 5 minutes to get ready, plus you have to haul all that wherever you go, but I’ve survived, and people love to ask me about it all. I get such admiring comments when it’s really cold and windy, it makes me feel tough.

    I go to the Kettering bike shop, they’re great. There’s also a hip (too hip for me) shop in Columbus with all manner of fixies and hipster wear.

    In all (wow, long!), Dayton is really a great place to live. I’m from Salt Lake City, so I miss the fantastic landscapes, but Dayton has been good to us. And you can definitely get around on a bike. In general, in the greater Dayton area, it takes about the same time to bike somewhere as it does to ride the bus (with walking to the stop and waiting time), and about twice as long as driving. A twenty minute, pleasant ride downtown, vs. 10 minutes of driving, paying for parking, burning oil, etc. is a nice trade-off. That’s if you’re slow, like me!

  15. Sean March 4, 2011 9:24 am 

    I live in the Dayton area (Beavercreek) and commute. The trail system is extensive as several people have indicated. The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (http://mvrpc.org/) is involved with trails and transportation, they will mail you a map. I work on the Air Force base and they even open a gate special for cyclists. Beavercreek marked routes with “Share the Road” and posted maps on their web site: http://ci.beavercreek.oh.us/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/pedestrian20and20bicycle20network202007.pdf. The down side is not the cold, but ice. My friends who ride through the winter transition to mountanin bikes with studded tires. Then if you really love to ride there is the Grea Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA) an annual tour in a differ part of Ohio every year.

  16. Thomas Kohn March 4, 2011 10:25 am 

    I’ve enjoyed the bikeways and trails around Dayton ever since the first loop around the Miami River was developed. Even before that, I used the city streets and rural roads for commuting, running errands, and athletic training. Back then, some 30 years ago, I lived in Fairborn and on Wright-Patterson AFB, and the bicycle was my sole means of transportation. I used a good-sized leather backpack for my trips to the supermarket, I rode to work daily, and I rode my bike often to Yellow Springs, Xenia, and Dayton—even during the winter. On occasion, I took city streets to the Miami River and enjoyed the much calmer and safer biking down below the busy city. I wished then that I could have the same safety far away in Fairborn and Greene County.

    I lived in Los Angeles for a couple years around 1985, and one home was pretty close to a bikeway along the Santa Ana River that passed near where I worked as a technical writer, in Anaheim. The L.A. bikeways were actually an afterthought, an opening up of the maintenance roadways that paralleled the concrete constructions that are called “rivers” there. The access points were very distant from each other, and often hard to find. The bikeways passed through rough neighborhoods, and the many underpasses along the bikeways were homes to transients or meeting places for neighborhood gangs, dangerous on occasion. In comparison to the Los Angeles bikeways, the Dayton system was better engineered, well maintained, with better access, and the security was absolutely superb. When I returned to Dayton in 1987, I was ecstatic to see the further improvements and added milage in the bikeway system.

    Around 1989, I decided to compete in cycling events in the 1990 Gay Games that were to be held in Vancouver BC (Canada). I joined the Dayton Cycling Club. I started training with their racing team. I joined the United States Cycling Federation (USCF) and applied for a competitor’s license. And I competed in regional cycling races. Part of the training included long group rides that passed through the many rural areas and small communities around Dayton. We never used the developing bikeway system in the training, even though our favorite rides passed over or along the developing bikeways between Xenia, Spring Valley, and Corwin. The bikeways are very level, with long, low-change grades. That’s not what a competitive cyclist wants, but rather challenging hills, plenty of opportunities for pack sprints, and occasional easy sections for recovery after a hard one- to three-minute interval. The rural roads are perfect for that training. I competed in Vancouver, including an nine-mile hill climb up Mt. Seymour that I silver medalled.

    I was training for cycling in the 1994 Gay Games, a week away from going to New York City for the competition, when a car hit me during a training race on roads north of Middletown. The driver sped away in some state of flumox, but returned to the scene; but all the racers and race organizers fled, since no local authorizations had been sought for the race. A resident on the road called 911, and an emergency van took me to Middletown Regional Hospital for trauma care, two surgeries, and two weeks hospitalization.

    Since then, I’ve shied away from roadways. And also since then, over the progress of 17 years, the bikeways have greatly expanded to over 300 miles in the Dayton area. I commute by bike 12 miles each way nearly daily from March through November, except for the few days when icy conditions make a ride unsafe or heavy rain makes a ride uncomfortable. Although my ride begins in a residential area of inner northwest Dayton, I join the bikeway system within 2 miles at either Wolf Creek or the Great Miami River. From that point, I have only the final quarter mile off the bikeway to my workplace in Research Park. The bikeway commute has 8 street crossings, all in the last half of my route, after I leave Eastwood Park, and though the cross-traffic can be heavy at times, most drivers are courteous and aware of the possibility of bicycles crossing at the marked intersectons. The paths are well maintained, too. There is frequent evidence of tending to fallen limbs and trees by the Five Rivers Metroparks staff, and city and park response is attentive to the need for improving the pavement after seasonal uplifts and washouts.

  17. Matt Lindsay March 4, 2011 10:29 am 

    @ Sarah: I commute from Oakwood to downtown, too. I work at MVRPC and commute as often as I can. We should compare routes. And have you considered a Bike Hub membership?

  18. rl March 4, 2011 11:00 am 

    GR,
    I’ve returned to Dayton after growing up here in the ’60 & ’70 and have found an incredible energy for outdoor activities in the Miami Valley, especially cycling. We are working hard on relaunching a historical advocacy group started in the ’60s, Bike Miami Valley. I look forward to you bringing your energy to the mix. I hope you will be able to follow Matt’s suggestion and join us May 20th for the Miami Valley Cycling Summit.

  19. Dan March 4, 2011 12:05 pm 

    GR,

    You will not be disappointed. I commute to work everyday via bicycle and have no issues. It isn’t that cold and the snow isn’t ever around very long. There are a lot of oppourtunities for cycling in the area, 330 miles of off-street paved bikeways, country roads in any direction, time trial races, cyclocross, mountain biking, weekly group rides, and a very active club. A local advocacy group will also be launching in May at the cycling summit that Matt ^^up there mentioned. There are plenty of good bike shops, clubs, and friendly folks on bikes. Be sure to stop in to Five Rivers MetroParks and say hello when you make the move. All weather is bike-able once you get the right things, don’t believe me…

    http://arcticglass.blogspot.com/2011/03/journey-reveals-more-along-way.html

  20. Greg Brumitt March 4, 2011 12:14 pm 

    Jack: Welcome to the Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest, Dayton, Oh. I founded Five Rivers MetroPark’s Outdoor Recreation Initative in 2006 and since we have build MoMBA our mountin bike facility, the TVT a 30 mile backpacking trail, a new commuter bike hub ( just the 3rd east of the Mississippi)and with our community partners have laucnhed efforts that include a regional bike fiendly initative and mater plan, advocay organzations for both cycling and river resotration. We have two of the larget outdoor adventure events in the Midwest and continue add to the afore mentioned miles of greenway trail…actually in several dreictions. Get up here. I lived in the Orlando area and had to drive to get outdoor action..not any more!

    http://www.metroparks.org/GetOutside/OutdoorRecreation.aspx
    http://www.metroparks.org/GearFest/
    http://www.metroparks.org/adventuresummit/home2.aspx
    http://www.metroparks.org/MVCyclingSummit/Home.aspx

    G

  21. AR March 4, 2011 12:18 pm 

    The City of Dayton has recently added both bike lanes and sharrows downtown, along with wayfinding signage, with the intention of expanding the network of bike facilities citywide. Riverscape MetroPark along the Great Miami River boasts only one of three Bike Hubs east of the Mississippi. Check out the City’s first Bike Route Map here: http://www.cityofdayton.org/Documents/DaytonBike-WalkMap2010.pdf. E-mail andrew.rodney@daytonohio.gov for a hard copy.

  22. Iron_Man March 4, 2011 1:10 pm 

    Sweet Ghost, you’ll be further north than me here in Southwest Missouri. So now I’ll have the more enviable cycling climate and you’ll gripe about how spoiled I am. :)

    I wish you well in Ohio, as a former Michigan boy it’s my firm belief you’ll need it. Wolverines!

  23. brenda March 4, 2011 1:18 pm 

    Within the 330 miles of trails Matt talked about is the Great Miami River Recreation Trail. The trail travels along the river and features several charming and historic communities with some great restaurants you’ll want to try. And there are some really picturesque views on the trail, too. When the trail is completely finished it’ll be more than 90 miles. Right now there’s probably 40-50 miles of uninterrupted trail. Enjoy! And from the south suburbs of Dayton, you can be out in the country for a ride in 20-30 minutes.

  24. Ken LeBlanc March 4, 2011 8:52 pm 

    Bicycle opportunities abound in the Dayton area. We often joke about wanting to get out of this area, but it has a lot to offer. Our large network of connected rail trails can get you to Cincinnati and almost Columbus. The trails are just about to be connected up to Piqua and down to Middletown/Hamilton along the Great Miami River. Riverscape in downtown Dayton is a bike hub and has frequent entertainment and festivals as well as a fun 5-cannon fountain in the river. Xenia is known as “The Bicycle Capital of the Midwest” and has a great bike hub. A couple of bricks at the hub say it all – “It was awesome. We came, we saw, we conquered” and “NC Resident – OH Biker” Rolling farmland offers many opportunites for on-road biking. TOSRV (Tour of Scioto River Valley) RAIN (Ride Across Indiana) and the Hilly Hundred in Bloomington, IN are fun annual 100-200 mile tours nearby. Check out some of the web references noted above, especially Miami Valley Rail Trails, and welcome to SW Ohio. We are not all as described in one of the posts above.

  25. Dacius March 5, 2011 7:15 am 

    We’ll hold down the fort in Fl…sounds like Dayton will be a fabulous town for you GR

  26. Nelson March 5, 2011 7:53 am 

    I live in Xenia and work near downtown Dayton. I can leave my home, travel about 1/4 mile on side streets to access the trail and the rest is all bike paths, right to my office. The network of trails also gives you access to many miles of scenic and interesting county roads in the rural parts of the area. As a side note, every Wednesday at 5:30 you can catch the kayak shuttle at Whitewater Warehouse and enjoy a relaxing and fun trip down the Mad River. They provide everything and it’s cheap and easy.

  27. Ghost Rider March 5, 2011 5:04 pm 

    Thanks to EVERYONE for all the great suggestions — you know what? I’m actually excited about moving now…road riding in the country, exploring new bike paths and taking the kayak shuttle are all things I am going to sink my teeth into when I get up there.

    Plus, now I have an excuse to build a “winter bike”…studded tires and all. My wife will be SO happy (insert sarcasm)…the last thing we need is another bike in our unwieldy fleet.

  28. Nate April 6, 2011 2:45 pm 

    Also important to note that Dayton is hometown to the most famous bike shop owners of them all. Forget Mellow Johnny’s, Dayton used to have Wilbur and Orville’s Wright Cycle Company, originator of the reverse threaded left pedal, amongst certain other pioneering feats of engineering.

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