After the short ride on Sunday, Tom and I decided to take a longer ride on Monday, so we headed south to the Holmes County Trail. Holmes County has the largest population of Amish anywhere in the world – 42% of the population are Amish, with the Amish expected to become the majority before the next census. So it makes sense that the Holmes County Trail, running from Fredricksburg to Killbuck, is a bike and buggy trail!
The Holmes County Trail is asphalt with the buggy and bike sides clearly delineated. The trail begins at the small park next to the school in Fredricksburg (well, that is the parking lot – the trail starts on the other side of the bridge). We noticed that Fredricksburg also has a store with 24 flavors of soft-serve ice cream, but Tom said I had to wait until the end of the ride. Drat!
We rode by farmland and some small industrial areas. There was also lots of bog and marsh on either side of the rail-trail. Killbuck Creek runs along the west side of the trail most of the way. The Holmes County Trail is flat and mostly straight, and on a Monday afternoon, there were some buggies, but very few other people on the trail. We rode the 16 mile trail, passing through Holmesville, Millersburg, and ending up in Killbuck. Future plans for the trail will extend it to the county line in Brinkhaven.
The weather was very hot and humid on Monday, so by the time we got to Killbuck I was feeling a little water-logged and needed some salt and carbs before heading back. We found an odd “downtown” convenience store in Killbuck that sold snacks, sandwiches, cold drinks and ice cream. I got some peanut butter crackers and enjoyed a cold Diet Coke before we climbed back on the bike to head north again.
According to my Runtastic app, we rode 33.7 miles in 2 hours and 10 minutes, making our mph close to the “speed limit” of 15 mph on the trail. Elevation up was 961 feet, and the temperature was 88. I burned 1,230 calories, so we could have stopped at the ice cream shop, but Tom and I were hungry for real food, so we drove home and had supper.
Tom took a picture of me during a rest on the Holmes County Trail, so I wanted to point out to you four essentials for me as a bike rider: 1. Helmet. I’ve never landed on my head – only fell off the tandem once – but I am ready. 2. Gloves – they have extra padding in the palms to keep your hands and arms from getting numb. 3. Camelback water system – on my back. I am a sipper, and if I don’t have water available all the time, I don’t drink as much as I should. Tom is a gulper, so he just carries along a bottle of fluid and drinks it when we stop. I tried gulping my Diet Coke in Killbuck and burped for the next five miles! 4. Bike shorts – they help prevent chafing and have extra padding in the seat. You may think I don’t need extra padding there, but you can only ride as long as you can stand to sit on the bike. I can go much longer with my padded bike shorts.
The Holmes County Trail is the nicest one we have ridden on this year, and we set a 2014 best on speed! The length, scenery, and solitude were definitely worth the drive.