10 March 2013

Windy ride to Miamisburg

Sunday, 10 March 2013

I started out an hour later than I planned, but that was no problem. The late departure meant that I met Martie Moseman on the trail—and met her friend (Mark?) and saw the runner Mike Nedeff long enough say hello. I had stopped at the rise to East River Road to remove my undershirt; the temperature was so warm today.

Martie stopped, said hello and mentioned her need to suggest a hike or bike activity for the Five Rivers Metroparks volunteers. I suggested a hike in Taylorsville Reserve, perhaps to include a guided history lesson on Tadmor and the aquaduct over the Miami River. It turned out that her ride partner Mark knows the area and its history well, and we had a good Q&A session on the area to clarify my understanding of what I had seen yesterday.

I continued south, into a windy and slow ride to Miamisburg. Tired of the wind, I decided to turn back instead of going to the trail's end in Franklin. I took a breather with a short tour of downtown Miamisburg, photographing many buildings along South Main Street. I wondered if Miamisburg is among the best examples in Ohio of an original, commercial area from before 1900? Just in the commercial area is a 3-block length of buildings that were built roughly from 1875 to 1895. A few are derelict, but most have an active storefront and occupants in the upper floors.

1875 map of Miami township
On my wind-sail return, I had energy to spare and could observe the course of the Miami and Erie Canal on the east side of South Dixie Drive, just to the west of the active railway. As the bikeway heads more northerly at the edge of West Carrollton, I noticed rough-hewn stones underneath a bridge, apparently where a canal lock had allowed the Hydraulic Canal to wind around the towns known in 1875 as Alexanderville and Carrollton. I lost track of the canal as the modern-day sewage treatment plant overtook its former routing before it joined with the Great Miami River.

Meanwhile, the Miami and Erie Canal was also overtaken by the growing city. Where it had neared the Miami River and turned north toward Dayton, now Alex Road, East Dixie Drive, and Interstate 75 have overtaken its path. And in what had been Van Buren township, the canal may have been disguised by a series of lakes that are bounded by the bikeway and East River Road. As I passed the lakes going north, 
1875 map of Van Buren township
I wondered if they had been built to supply canal water. But the 1875 township map reveals that the lakes did not exist back then and that the canal had flowed unimpeded through the area between the river and the hills to the east. Then finally the river and canal near each other where there is now a low dam and the Interstate 75 overpass. From there, the canal enters what is now Carillon Historical Park, where you can see a fully restored lock and a good segment of restored canal. 

Back some four miles, I had passed a cyclist going the opposite direction who was wearing a 1994 jersey from the old Dayton Cycling Club. I had yelled a hello as we met, though I didn't recognize the rider. But as I descended from East River Road to the flood plain, that rider caught me and introduced himself as Scott Weber. Sometime before the crash that had stopped my bike racing, I had sold him some special rims, and he had recognized me from that transaction. We rode together to Veterans' Park, where he dropped down to the river and I bypassed the closed bikeway to head home along clearer paths.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 60 to 67°F from 15:15 to 17:55 
Precipitation: none
Winds: 18 to 22 mph, gusts to 28 from the south-southeast
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed 48x16 
Time: 02:10 for 30.19 miles
Heart rate: no data
Bikeway users: 20+ cyclists, 12+ pedestrians

Found: the National Road

Saturday, 9 March 2013

My ride today started with errands to mail a package—getting there only a minute before the office closed—and to drop off a CD at the library.

Then I took the Great Miami River Trail north toward Taylorsville Reserve, thinking of Troy as my turnaround point. When I crossed the Miami River from Harrison township to Wayne township, I noticed a small farm building that was clearly from the 19th century, so I crossed over to Powell Road and rang the bell at the owner's house.

When he opened the door, I pulled out my 1938 map and asked, "Are you perhaps Mr. Spahn?" He answered, "No, but I bought this house from the Spahn family in the 1970s." I asked about the barn and whether there still are remnants of the lock on the Miami and Erie Canal that passed just east of their home. He invited me in to talk with his wife, who has a much greater range of information about the location. We three had a great time talking about the locks, distillery, former owners, and old buildings that still stand nearby.

His notes on the 1938 map helped clarify where Johnson's Station had been. Where today Little York Road passes underneath the railway through a large tube is where Johnson Station had been. Today, the area is home to several businesses, including Butler Asphalt and the Miami Valley Shooting Grounds. A modern bridge has replaced the crossing that existed even as early as 1875, and a new bridge has been built at the north end of Rip Rap Road Park as part of the Great Miami River Bikeway.

Remnants of the National Road, at the end
of Silvan Cliff Road, Vandalia Ohio
Back on the bikeway, I headed north again, more cognizant now of the canal that parallels the bikeway and the Miami River, until the canal crossed over the river where Taylorsville Dam is now. About a mile north of the dam, I took an abandoned road up out of the park, over two sets of active railway, and up a ravine to the Cassel Hills Golf Course. I spoke with a manager near the clubhouse, who mentioned a toll house monument just outside the golf course entrance. Just beyond that monument was a rolling bluff-top neighborhood and an old cut into the hill, curving down toward the river. It was the remaining excavations for the National Road curving up from the river to Vandalia. The former village of Tadmor lay along this part of the trail. In 1875, the village may have had only three houses, owned then by W. Crook and M.S., and J. Sunderland.

I left exploring this trail for another day, when I could walk the area with hiking shoes rather than cycling cleats.

Remnants of National Trail bridge across the Miami and Erie Canal, just outside Tadmor Ohio
I returned to the bikeway along the same abandoned road, and headed further north to photograph the remains of a bridge that crossed the canal, near the former location of Tadmor. I descended to the river, hoping to find remnants of a bridge crossing. But I was disappointed in that hope. Instead, what looks like a stream outlet to the river is so gradual—and serves no actual stream from the surrounding forest—that it seems to be an engineered exit for fording the river.

Finally back in riding mode, I continued on the new bikeway into Tipp City. I had used a lot of time in my explorations, so I turned around here for a bonk-tinged ride back home. I'll leave for another Spring day a ride to Troy, which was my planned turnaround for the ride.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 53 to 56°F late afternoon
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm to 5 mph from the southeast
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed 48x16
Time: 14:40 to 19:30 for 44.95 miles
Heart rate: no data
Bikeway users: 9 cyclists, 25+ pedestrians, 6 dogs

25 February 2013

Ride to Taylorsville Dam

Monday, 25 February 2013

Bikeway (red) from Dayton
to Taylorsville Dam
Because tomorrow's weather forecast includes rain and sleet, I felt today's sunny skies beckoning. And I felt I had enough time to extend yesterday's trip all the way to Taylorsville Dam. On my way, I stopped at the closed steel bridge that had crossed to Johnson Station. I glimpsed momentary bits of a little community that forms a sub-suburb to Huber Heights. I climbed the serpentine bikeway to just underneath Highway 40, and descended to Taylorsville Reserve. At my turnaround, I read the National Trail Association's memorial board that describes Tadmore and Taylorsville. The gist of it: poor little Tadmore, once at the crossings of an important railway, a canal system, and the National Road, it was doomed to oblivion because of the advance of the highway system.

Butler township (left) and Wayne
township as illustrated in 1874
I've been taking this route as a sort of genealogical research project. My focus is the National Road, on which my great-grandparents Robert and Leopolinda Ohnsat traveled between 1877 and March 1878. Though the National Road was in greatest use from about 1840 through 1860, a family anecdote describes their trip by Conestoga wagon from Pittsburgh PA to Tipton KS. (Whether true is another matter, since the railway system was a well-developed and more-reliable means of travel by 1877.)

And the National Road passes just north of Dayton, crossing through Vandalia and Englewood. An 1875 map I have shows the National Road and a bridge at Tadmer, just east of Vandalia. (When I find one, I will add a map of Bethel township from Miami county.) There are several other intriguing points:
  • The Miami Canal that passes over the Miami River halfway between Johnson's Station and Tadmer
  • The little town of Orsville that would become known as Taylorsville within 50 years
  • The Dayton & Michigan Railroad that has a modern-day parallel that also passes underneath Taylorsville Dam
Butler and Wayne townships as
illustrated in 1838
Today, U.S. Highway 40 takes nearly the same route as the National Road. But not always, as Highway 40 drops 1.5 miles south to cross Taylorsville Dam. A 1938 map shows U.S. 40. (When I find one, I will add a map of Bethel township from Miami county.) The river crossing at Tadmor (with a slight name change) is still present in 1938, though it no longer exists. There are other notable changes:
  • The renamed Miami & Erie Canal no longer crosses the river
  • Taylorsville has some platted homesteads
  • The renamed Baltimore & Ohio Railroad follows nearly the same route
Perhaps this spring, I can trek through the park system and find remnants of the old road. In the meantime, I plan to ride the bikeways near the National Road where it drops 0.8 mile south to cross Englewood Dam at Englewood, at the west side of Butler township. These two diversions between the National Road and U.S. 40 are among the few. The next diversion west is at Knightstown-Raysville-Ogden IN, the next east is at Cambridge OH (east of Zanesville).

Ride conditions
Temperature: 39 to 44°F at 16:24 to 18:30
Precipitation: none
Winds: 10 to 15 mph from the east
Clothing: Skinsuit, cotton undershirt, longsleeve undershirt, ankle socks, tights, light jacket, full-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed 48x16
Time: 02:06 for 26.0 miles
Bikeway users: 2 cyclists, 8 pedestrians, 3 dogs

24 February 2013

Sunday before the Oscars

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A chilly ride up into Butler township on the Great Miami Bikeway. I went a bit north of the underpass of Needmore, and explored the short roads that intersect the path at Birch: to the right to find a small, neighborhood of run-down homes near the river, then to the left past a mobile home park and up to the intersection with Wagner-Ford Road.

I wondered if this area was once Johnson's Station that was east of Chambersburg (as known in 1875, map shown). But looking again at the map, I think my ride actually missed reaching Butler township. Dayton township abuts Butler township at its southern edge, and Wayne township reaches a bit more north, on the east side of the river. Just south of this three-township junction, in a swansneck of the river is the little settlement I explored.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 39°F at 16:40
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm to 5 to 8 mph from the southwest
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, contton undershirt, ankle socks, tights, light jacket, full-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed 48x16
Time: 01:25 for 20.16 miles
Bikeway users: 5 cyclists, 3 pedestrians, 2 dogs

18 February 2013

The Huffman Connector

Monday, 18 February 2013

Today was a slog, riding my trail bike on the bikeway so I could explore the Huffman Connector.

 The bikeway in Eastwood Park has a rough layer of asphalt that stretches from the lagoon, east through the park, and under Harshman Road along the Mad River.
After the Mad River underpass, the rough asphalt layer climbs to the entrance to the Dayton Well Fields.
 The path is dug to an existing underpass of the railway, though the whole area is water logged from seepage from underneath Harshman Road. I suspect this will be a problem that requires further engineering to answer the wet conditions before applying underlayment and asphalt to the path.

The underpass was built in 1918, as attested by a date on the south approach. I guess that it was built by the railway company to allow higher speeds and eliminate infringement of auto traffic.

The connector work is in progress on the segment that closely parallels Springfield Pike and skirts the west and south edges of old Harshmanville. Almost the entire reach is in various stages from the Harshman Mansion to the railway underpass near the merge of Springfield Pike and Highway 444.

A few segments have a well-rolled rock underlayment, 
some segments have the top layers of dirt scraped away, other segments have a loose dressing of crushed rock, and others have a lightly compacted rock. The next coating of a rough asphalt will not be laid until all the path is at the same readiness.
The digging stops neatly at the boundary marker of Riverside, just a dozen feet from crossing into Greene County.

Inside Greene County, much detail work awaits final surveys and on-the-ground planning. Construction will include rerouting Springfield Pike into a two-lane underpass of the railway. The west arch of the underpass will be reserved for bike traffic, the east for auto.

After the railway underpass, the bikeway will curve into a 3-turn zig-zag down to an existing rough trail. This trail will be upgraded to bikeway standards, and it will climb Huffman Dam in another zig-zag.

Perhaps in late spring, the full routing from Eastwood Park to Huffman Dam will receive the final smooth coat.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 50 to 56.7°F at 13:57 to 16:09
Precipitation: none
Winds: 5 to 16 mph from the southwest
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Mongoose MGX-D40 trail
Time: 02:12 for 18.6 miles
Heart rate: no data
Bikeway users: 13 cyclists, 23 pedestrians

17 February 2013


Sunday, 17 February 2013

I knew it was cold before I went for the ride today, even pulled on another layer in plan for it. By the twelfth mile, my fingers were getting a bit cold. Otherwise, I was pretty comfortable.

At Eastwood park on my way back, I stopped to talk to a park ranger who was watching the traffic—a lonely, cold job for a Sunday afternoon.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 30 to 28.1°F at 15:15 to 18:00
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, cotton undershirt, two pairs ankle socks, quilted tights, light Gore-Tex jacket, quilted full-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed 48x16 
Time: 01:35 for 19.71 miles
Heart rate: no data
Bikeway users: 3 pedestrians

15 February 2013

Thursday, 14 February 2013

After a day of honing a sales proposal and making bunches of sales calls, I was able to break away for errands and a ride at 3 p.m. First to the library to drop off some CDs that were due today, then a visit with Lucy Siefker at FiveRivers MetroParks to talk about volunteer plans for the season.

Before 4, I was on the Mad River Bikeway, flowing with the gusty winds from the southwest. At Eastwood, I crossed the lagoon and zipped up the rough underlayment for the new bike path toward Huffman Dam.Though the paving carried me only to the well field overlook of the Harshman Mansion, I saw significant developments.
  • The tunnel underneath the active railway is fully excavated and all the obstructing wiring had been relocated.
  • The 20-ft descent to the tunnel is cut away into a flowing curve that flows down into the embankment.
  • The descent has its final sloping, though it is still a slowly drying, clay layer. Perhaps in the next month a rough asphalt underlayment can be placed.
My next visit to the trail has to be with my trail bike or the hybrid bike, so I can explore the trail between the railway underpass and Harshmanville, and from Harshmanville up to Huffman Dam. Doug Schauer reported that the underpass on Springfield Street has already been divided into one lane for bicycles and the other for autos.

On my way back, fighting the wind and winning, I met Lucy Siefker running the trail with her bud, Jorge Sanchez.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 46°F at 16:45
Precipitation: none
Winds: 17 to 22 mph (gusts to 31) from the west southwest
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed 48x16
Time: 00:55:00 (15:45 to 16:40) for 15.33 miles
Heart rate: no data
Bikeway users: 7 cyclists, 4 pedestrians

12 February 2013

Monday, 11 February 2013

I spent much of the morning packing up a Valentine's present, and then headed off to the post office to mail it, along with another book we sold from our Amazon storefront. This was the first chance I had for exercise for quite a while, and I planned to make use of the bike ride to run some errands beyond the post office.
So on to FiveRivers MetroPark to visit Lucy Siefker, who wasn't expecting me and was away.
So up the Mad River, then south to Linden Avenue. I stopped at my favorite laundry to check on some lost slacks, which they did find. The proprietor knew that I wouldn't take them with me when he saw my bike and my tiny backpack.
So back on the Iron Horse Trail, with a short excursion to Carla Mann's home to drop off a brochure. She wasn't home, so I left the brochure and card in her mailbox.
So then—on a whim since I was already so close—to the Kodak plant to see the empty parking lots at the flailing Fafner.  The north lot was nearly full, which is typical because it serves the wing of service and training staff, as well as those attending training. The engineering lot had isolated empty slots, perhaps some taking a long time at errands over lunch. The south lot was 80% full in the parts close in, but the extended lots were completely empty. Clear evidence that no rehiring has occurred, and that more layoffs had occurred since my last news in August.
So then to EveryBody Fitness for an abdominal workout, just a few sets at each machine.
So then to Patterson-Chase to check out the cost of repairing a framed painting, and their willingness to take on the project. The answers were at a reasonable cost and yes!
So next to Press for a cortado and pound cake, just to fend off the energy wall until I got home.
And, finally, after just over 22 miles, home before 3 o'clock.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 42°F at 12 noon
Precipitation: none
Winds: 25 to 33 mph (gusts to 43) from the southwest
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed 48x16
Time: 02:30 for 22.24 miles
Heart rate: no data
Bikeway users: none others

17 January 2013

Errands as commuting

Thursday, 17 January 2013

With a sunny day in January, overnight sales in our Amazon storefront, and receipt of a check from Nova Creative, today was perfect for taking the bike for my errands. And the bonus was the relative warmth today—fifteen degrees warmer than yesterday.

This is what commuting means for a work-from-home business. Take the opportunity to perform errands by bike. Where possible, group the errands so the ride can take you along the most efficient path that also provides something more than just a tour through the neighborhood.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 40 (end) to 44°F at 15:05 to 16:33
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm to 10 variable
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, ankle socks, tights, light jacket, full-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed 48x16 
Time: 01:28 for 15.61 miles
Heart rate: not available
Bikeway users: 1 cyclists, 8 pedestrians, 2 dogs
Playback of the ride

18 December 2012

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A gentle, abbreviated ride today on Chuck's route with Jeff. We started out shortly after nine, and I begged off half-way through to have enough time to shower and shave before a business meeting scheduled for 10:30.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 57°F at 11:30
Precipitation: none
Winds: 5 mph from the south-southeast
Clothing: jeans, longsleeve undershirt, hoodie
Bike: Trek trail
Time: 00:29:35 for 4.73 miles
Heart rate: 128 bpm HRave, 142 bpm HRmax
Playback of the ride