Today is the most beautiful day in Zanesville. It is September cool and clear with low humidity. It doesn’t get any better than this for me – unless it was yesterday! Yesterday was pretty much exactly the same. A great day to ride and so we set off to Newark to ride the Panhandle Trail.
The Panhandle Trail is an east-west bike trail 9 miles long that runs from Newark east to Nashport. Because we were coming from the east, we decided to start in Nashport and ride to Newark and back. We had good directions to the end of the Trail and we found it easily enough – except for one little problem. No parking lot. So we continued west to Hanover, about the middle of the trail, which we hoped would have a place to park. With the help of a kind woman at the gas station, we were directed to a small parking lot next to – wait for it – the United Methodist Church in Hanover!
We hopped on the bike and rode the trail back to Nashport, then turned around and went all the way to Newark, turned around and went back to Hanover. There is a parking lot for the trail in Newark, but it is not directly next to the trail. You have to ride on the road a little bit to get to the trail. So our main criticism of the trail is that it should have more trailhead parking.
The Panhandle Trail itself is very nice, paved asphalt in mostly good condition. The trail runs right beside the railroad tracks, which some people might see as a negative, but Tom and I enjoy seeing trains go by. The scenery is partly rural and partly small city industrial, but there were some interesting trestles and rock walls. At one spot, in Hanover, the road goes under the trail, so you can stop and look down into the valley. There is a good view of the Longaberger Basket Company headquarters from the trail. One of the things I liked was the lack of road crossings from Nashport to Hanover – 4.5 miles with only two crossings of minor roads. The closer you get to Newark, of course, the more road crossings there are.
According to my Runtastic bike app we rode 19.6 miles in 1 hour 16 minutes for an average speed of 15.4 miles per hour. Tom says we are getting stronger, but I think it is mostly that the trail was really flat with very few people on it. The elevation change was only 659 feet. I burned 786 calories. We enjoyed our ride and got to see two towns we had never been to before – Hanover and Nashport.