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

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