This week Tom and I tried a new (to us) bike trail, the Olentangy Greenway Trail. Columbus has lots of great bike trails and the Olentangy is one of the prettiest. We chose it because we drive by it every time we go to John and Jackie’s. It parallels 315 through the northern part of Columbus, starting in Worthington Hills Park (not in Worthington) and ending up downtown.
We rode 12.5 miles each way on the Olentangy Greenway Trail. The last mile of the trail had construction going on, so we skipped riding all the way into downtown. Most of the way we rode along the Olentangy River and over many of the small creeks that feed into it. We rode through six lovely metro parks: Worthington Hills, Olentangy Parklands, Antrim Park, Whetstone Park, Clinton-Como Park, and Tuttle Park. Columbus should be very proud of its metro parks – they are the centerpieces of many neighborhoods and generally trash and graffiti free.
One of the nicest things about the Olentangy Greenway Trail is the road crossings – there aren’t any! Every time you get to a road crossing the trail dips to the river and goes under the road. We followed another couple who were familiar with the trail for a while, which was helpful, because sometimes you can’t tell which direction you need to go. The signs are posted at trail intersections, which means you have to stop to read the sign before deciding which way to go. A couple of times we lost the main trail and had to turn around, which isn’t easy on a tandem bike!
The Olentangy Greenway Trail also follows the river through the Ohio State Campus. We rode right by the famous OSU horseshoe football stadium. There was also one place where the trail became a road trail through the Whetstone neighborhood. The traffic wasn’t heavy, and the trail was well marked in this neighborhood.
There were lots of people using the Olentangy Greenway Trail so we had to go a little slower than normal, which I enjoyed. There were so many interesting things to see that the trail seemed effortless. The trail was shaded, undulating, and curvy – just like the river. Most of the trail was well-maintained and very clean, so even though it is in an urban area, it felt somehow removed from the hustle and bustle of the city.
We enjoyed an excellent lunch at Potbelly Subs, which just happened to be on the street corner where we decided to turn around. A good sub helped give us the energy to make it back to the beginning of the trail.
Columbus has almost 400 miles of bike trails within an hour of downtown, making it one of the most bike friendly cities we have visited. Most of these trails follow rivers or old railroad tracks and are nicely configured so that there are as few street crossings as possible. We are enjoying exploring the bike trails in and around Columbus and the Olentangy Greenway Trail is one of our favorites.