As I packed my truck prior to leaving for Columbus, I faced the harsh reality that I would not be able to bring everything. After fitting in a bed, dresser, furniture, and clothes, I had to decide which items would get to spend the year in Ohio and which items would stay in Kansas.
Included in the junk that did not make the cut was my road bike. Over the past few years, I have developed a very amateur passion for cycling. One day, while watching the Tour de France on TV, I decided to order a road bike online. It opened up a whole new world, where I could ride far enough to explore new places but slow enough to take in all of the scenery. As an added bonus, cycling offers a great endurance workout.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Columbus cycling community. There are a series of paved bike paths that wind through nearly every part of town. The streets are also very bike friendly, and drivers seem to be cautious around cyclists. Even at football games, there is a free bicycle valet called Pedal Instead that allows Buckeye fans to bike to the stadium. Three weeks into the quarter, I realized that I needed to invest in a new bike.
From a buyer’s perspective, the great thing about a bike-friendly town is that there are numerous new and used bicycle shops. There are at least seven stores on High Street alone. I spent one Saturday morning visiting many of these stores, and I found almost every store to have great service and a high level of expertise. I ended up returning to a store called Handy Bikes, where I found a hybrid bike for $160 (I later discovered the same model used bike was selling online for around $300). The advantage of the hybrid is that it offers the strong frame needed to bike on city streets, but it is light enough to take for a long road ride.
Although Columbus has one of the best systems of bike paths in the region, it is only going to get better. There is a project right now, called the Ohio to Erie Trail, that aims allow cyclists to ride from Cincinnati to Cleveland (through Columbus). When this project is complete, we will have a “Tour” of our own right here in Ohio.