Saddle Up

I love biking. It’s great exercise and great fun. And I love seeing a kid master that balance thing. It’s so great! Going on a long trek or just tooling around the neighborhood, there’s nothing like it. All you really need is a bike and some motivation to just GO!!

I’m guessing you share the same joy I do when the spring sun comes out.  There’s something special about watching the city come alive – people out, birds chirping, squirrels running, families out for walks, kites on the beachfront and more.  With our quarantine requirements, “getting out” this year has taken on a whole new meaning.  It got me to thinking about short and longer bike rides – some through the neighborhood, some to the lakefront (I’m fortunate to live less than a mile away) and longer trips throughout Northeast Ohio. As I am writing this as my usual early bird time, I can see cyclists with their lights on coming into downtown.   I came across this great website loaded with great info – regional maps, long list of amazing trails, trail guidelines, “rules of the roads”, parking spots, even trail news and a blog link.  I could not believe how detailed the maps were – hundreds of great trail markings to go and explore.  Regarding what to pack, beyond a phone, money and granola bar and water, (or pack a nice lunch – top of my list of course) it’s a good idea to grab extra bike supplies in event of a flat.  Even for a short ride, make sure you’ve reviewed my handy “pre-trip” checklist below to prepare your bike(s) for safe travels.  Thanks to, and Tittle & Perlmuter for the recommendations.  And of course, a little trivia for you … you cyclists have a Lorain County man to thank for saving your butts.

That man, Elyria native Arthur L. Garford, invented the first padded bicycle seat in the world over 100 years ago. When no one bought the patent, Garford decided in 1892 to manufacture the seat –with cushions and springs — himself.  A shrewd businessman.  Historians say Garford knew well the need for a padded seat, as a cyclist who raced and used bikes to get around in his younger years.
After selling his saddle seat company about a decade later, the inventor was involved in a number of industrial ventures, including the emerging automobile business. The Garford Company manufactured the high-quality Studebaker-Garford automobiles from 1904 to 1911. He then sold his interest in that company, too.

Garford was community-minded. He was the first president of the Elyria Chamber of Commerce, president of the YMCA and a trustee for the YWCA, public library and Memorial Hospital.  He also was among the men who conceived the idea of buying lakefront land in nearby Lorain to build a water-pumping station so Elyria residents could have access to drinking water — a resource the community continues to use today.

Garford dabbled in politics as well. He was an Ohio delegate for the Republican National Convention in 1896 and 1908 and had an unsuccessful run for Ohio governor in l912 as a Bull Moose Progressive. Two years later, he lost the race for a U.S. Senate seat to Warren G. Harding.  Today, the Lorain Historical Society calls Garford’s Elyria mansion home.

Here’s 5 Must-Visit Trails:

Cleveland Metroparks
The Cleveland Metroparks system is comprised of eighteen different reservations spanning over 23,000 acres. There are over 100 miles of all-purpose trails used for cycling, walking, running, etc., all available to the public. To learn more about the Cleveland Metroparks and the 18 reservations, visit

Emerald Necklace Trail
Linking many of the Cleveland Metroparks reservations is an area called the “Emerald Necklace”. A bike path exists creating a route linking the Rocky River, Mill Stream, and Brecksville reservations spanning over 70 miles. Many Emerald Necklace Trail riders use mountain or hybrid bikes, as the trail can be uneven and bumpy throughout certain parts. If you prefer a normal road bike, it’s recommended that you stick to the Valley Parkway which parallels the trail.

Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath
The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath is one of the longest bicycle paths in Ohio. Starting just south of Lake Erie, the trail leads you through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park all the way until you hit New Philadelphia. Following close to the historic Ohio & Erie Canalway, the entire trail is flat terrain, making it perfect for all riders. The towpath is open 24 hours a day and allows hikers or bikers to spend multiple days on the trail.

Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway
The Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway occupies over 17 miles alongside the Lake Erie shoreline. From Lakewood, on the west side, to Euclid, on the east side, the bikeway includes both on-road and off-road paths. The bikeway passes through Bratenahl Village, Collinwood, Edgewater State Park, and more. Some of the most scenic parts of the trail include the Edgewater Park area, historic homes on Lakeshore Blvd., and 2 miles of downtown views.

Harrison-Dillard Bikeway
The Harrison-Dillard Bikeway is geared especially to East-side Clevelanders, running right alongside Martin Luther King Blvd. Enjoy a four-mile scenic ride throughout the city’s Cultural Gardens, Wade Oval, and University Circle, viewing historic stonework and beautiful greenery along the way. University Circle is home to the Botanical Gardens, the Natural History Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and many more attractions that you can visit to take a break from your bike ride!

Handy Pre-Trip Checklist:

1A – Comfortable shorts for a comfortable ride!  SEE Arthur Garford above!
1 – Pump up your tires
Read the PSI markings on the side of the tire to ensure that you are putting the right amount of air in.
2 – Inspect your helmet
Make sure that it is not cracked or impaired in any way, be sure that it fits properly, and tighten the straps as appropriate.
3 – Check your bike
Make sure that your brakes and chain are working properly. It is much easier to make adjustments at home than on the trail. Also, check that your reflectors are clean and that you have a light if you anticipate riding after dark or through a trail tunnel
4 – Pack water
Bring more than enough water, especially on a hot day or if riding in a remote area. Sometimes even that guaranteed water refill spot is not available for one reason or another.
5 – Bring snacks (or lunch, yea!)
Nuts, granola bars, or compact foods that provide a protein punch are the perfect items to take along to keep energy up. As with water, always pack a little more than you think you will need.
6 – Prep your phone
Make sure that your phone is fully charged before heading out.
7 – Plot your route
If you are heading out on a new trail, do not forget to download directions to trailheads and research parking locations. Note where restrooms, water fountains, bike shops, and other services are located within close proximity to the trail. Also determine if your trail requires a fee or permit.
8 – Review your clothing options
Depending on the time of year and conditions on the day that you are riding, consider whether a rain poncho, an extra layer, or gloves are necessary.
9 – Pack a lock
Even if you do not anticipate stopping, a lock is nice to have in the event that plans change.
10 – Bring bike supplies
Be sure to have an extra tube (make sure it is the right one for your bike) or patch kit, as well as tire levers, a cyclist’s multi-tool, and a pump.
11 – Wear sun protection
Do not forget sunscreen and sunglasses, even on an overcast day.
12 – Review other gear
Other items to include in your pack: a band-aid or two, anti-friction chamois cream, lip balm, tissues, cash and a credit card, identification, and your health insurance card (which hopefully you won’t need). If it is a new route, you may also want to consider bringing a map, directions, and a camera.

Enjoy – and share any photos you take on the way – I’d love to see them!

Feel Good Song of the Week 
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Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos. The next week there could be 15 logos. And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing. But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post. On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count. Just in the pictures area. Got it? Good.  :-))))  Have fun!!








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