I recently purchased a new SE bike called “The Big Woody.” It’s a one-speed bike great for cruising the Greenways. I live in between Glacier Ridge, Highbanks and Sharon Woods — so one of my favorite pastimes is to ride Big Woody to these parks and enjoy nature.
Last summer, I mapped out and rode an 88-mile loop hitting the five dams of central Ohio (O’Shaughnessy, Delaware, Alum, Hoover and Griggs). It was an exhilarating ride and I wanted to do something similar this summer. So I came up with the “10 Metro Parks/100-mile loop.” (My original loop also included Scioto Grove, Battelle Darby Creek and Prairie Oaks, but I decided to scale it down for this particular ride and do the longer ride next summer.)
I started the ride at 8am, taking the bike route from Dublin Coffman High School to Glacier Ridge. I cruised at a comfortable 10 miles per hour pace so I could enjoy and take in my surroundings. I often stopped to take photos of the wildlife.
From Glacier Ridge, I cut through the Tartan Ridge neighborhood to the trail alongside Jerome Road. I took Jerome/Manley to the trail that runs along Glick Road (I stopped at Glick Park to enjoy the view of O’Shaughnessy Dam). I then took State Route 750 all the way to the back entrance of Highbanks alongside the Olentangy River.
After riding up the hill through Highbanks, I needed to catch my breath. So I rode to the eagle’s nest and made myself a perch for several minutes. Once my body was refreshed, I continued on my journey. I crossed US Route 23 and took Green Meadows to get back on State Route 750, and crossed over the railroad tracks and headed to Old State Road.
From there I connected to Storrow Drive, through Worthington Highlands Neighborhood, to Park Road, Sancus, Huntley, and finally to Schrock Road. I took the designated bike lane on Schrock Road all the way to the back entrance of Sharon Woods. I stopped and sat on a park bench in front of Schrock Lake for several minutes, taking in the beautiful day and the essence of all the wildlife surrounding me.
Once my spirit was refreshed, I crossed Cleveland Avenue and took St Anne’s service road to the Alum Creek Trail, then back to Schrock Road, and headed east in the designated bike lane, all the way to Hempstead Road, where I then took the bike trail to the fourth stop of my “adventure” — Inniswood Metro Gardens, an absolutely gorgeous park!
I then took Chipmunk Chatter Trail to Big Walnut Trail, crossed Hoover Dam and then did some road traveling along Cubbage, College, Lee, Ulry, Long Rifle, Little Turtle, Cherry Bottom, to the fifth park in the 100-mile loop — Blendon Woods.
I rode through the awesome park and exited at the southwest corner. I continued south on Cherry Bottom to Morse Road, where I picked up the Gahanna portion of the Big Walnut Trail. (Hopefully one day in the near future, all the various portions of the Big Walnut Trail will be joined together into one cohesive trail spanning Hoover Dam all the way to Three Creeks Metro Park!)
I took the Big Walnut Trail to Rocky Fork Drive, Morrison, Westbourne, McNaughten, Baskerville, Durbin, Brice, Rosedale, Rose Hill, Prior, Roundelay to JFK Park — the north trailhead of the Blacklick Creek Greenway Trail.
From this point forward, it was nearly all trail riding, which was amazing! I took the Blacklick Creek Greenway Trail through the sixth park in the loop — Blacklick Woods Metro Park!
As for the seventh park, Pickerington Ponds — I missed my turn at Abbie Trails Drive and I failed to get the picture of Big Woody in front of the park sign, but I’m still counting it as part of my ride.
I continued on Blacklick Creek Greenway Trail all the way to the confluence of the three creeks at Three Creeks Metro Park, the eighth park in the loop. Here I took another breather and tossed a few bean bags on the park’s corn hole court next to Turtle Pond.
I continued on to the south trailhead of the Alum Creek Greenway Trail and rode it all the way up to Livingston Avenue. I headed west on Livingston Avenue for a short span until I reached Driver Park. Here, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Columbus Symphony Orchestra was providing a free concert to the public! I parked Big Woody under a tree and plopped down in the grass to enjoy the music for several minutes — absolutely amazing!
I then continued on Driver’s park trail to Fairwood Park, then to Deshler Park, then Stewart Road Community Bikeway to Schiller Park — where I was happily surprised to see that Shakespeare in the Park was going on! I stopped to enjoy the show for a couple of scenes and then proceeded on my journey to the ninth park — Scioto Audubon Metro Park.
I took the Scioto Greenway Trail to its current end at 5th Avenue and proceeded west on 5th Avenue to Lakeshore Drive, and to the 10th and final park of the loop — Quarry Trails Metro Park. I rode through the park, hopped in the creek underneath the waterfall to cool off and finished the journey by riding home.
I am VERY passionate about parks and biking, so naturally, my favorite pastime is biking to parks.
It was a GREAT ride, but I look forward to the day when I can do this ride on all trail the entire way!
A note from Metro Parks: Metro Parks hopes to continue creating connections to neighborhoods and parks all over central Ohio!