Please read descriptions below and make a decision about how far you would like to ride. NOTE THAT 26 MILES WILL BE THE MINIMUM DISTANCE. We will discuss our options before setting out, dividing into groups if necessary.
The Allegheny River Trail (ART) has something to offer every trail enthusiast. Following a segment of the Allegheny River that is part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, this flat, paved trail extends south from the Samuel Justus Recreation Trail (http://www.traillink.com/trail/samuel-justus-recreation-trail.aspx) in Franklin. Approximately a 2-hour drive from the Cleveland area, I think it makes for a nice day trip. We can set up ride shares in the comments below.
Pack a lunch for yourself and bring plenty of drinking water.
Be sure to bring a spare tube! We will be riding in a very remote area, with no local resources.
Parking and Trail Access
You can take either I-80 or US-322 to Franklin. To reach the Franklin trailhead, take Route 8 North to its junction with US 322. Take US 322, which becomes 8th Street in Franklin and crosses the Allegheny River. The trailhead parking lot is on the right. The lot sign says SAMUEL JUSTUS TRAIL, which is the rail-trail going north from Franklin. The Allegheny River Trail goes south from the lot.
Trail Map (http://www.avta-trails.org/images/maps/AVTA-Map.jpg) Starting at the Franklin trailhead, we'll head south for 5 miles, where I would like to connect to the Sandy Creek Trail, a remote asphalt surface trail with numerous trestles, a tunnel, and much natural beauty. Note that from the Allegheny River trail, we must carry our bikes up a set of stairs to reach the Sandy Creek Trail, but Brad + the reviews I've read say this is quite doable.
After riding the 8 miles of the Sandy Creek Trail that stretch to the east from the Belmar Bridge and back (16 miles total), there will be the choice of:
1. Riding back north to Franklin for a total of 26 miles, or
2. Continuing further south on the ART before heading back to Franklin at the point where you've had enough.
From Franklin to the city of Emlenton is about 28 miles one way (=56 total). Another choice would be turning back at the Kennerdell tunnel, which is 15 miles from Franklin.
NOTE TO THOSE WISHING TO RIDE ALL THE WAY FROM FRANKLIN TO EMLENTON: There are two tunnels on the ART. These are not short, simple tunnels; they are 3350' and 2868' long, and because they are both curved, you cannot see the ends. So they are VERY DARK!--Like you can't see your hand in front of your face kind of dark. You must bring a really bright bike light or head lamp if you plan to navigate either or both of these tunnels - I'm not kidding! There could be rocks and other debris in them, causing a safety hazard if you can't see them.
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There seem to be a number of eateries in the town of Franklin for post-ride refreshments, mostly on Liberty Street. We will vote on one.
Lona's Restaurant & Pub (http://www.lonasrestaurantandpub.com/Home_Page.html)
The Uptown Bistro (http://www.urbanspoon.com/cities/252-pennsylvania/restaurants/1481715-the-uptown-bistro/menu)
Leonardo's Pizzeria (http://leonardosoffranklin.com/)