On the Trail Again: Newport, KY to Xenia, OH

I had done this trip many times before but this was the first time since my crash. I had ridden through the winter taking just a month to recover. Still, I wasn't sure how I would feel.

Sure enough 6:30 AM and my alarm is screaming at me. Wake up, shower, pull up the bib shorts, and pull over the jersey. Normal check to make sure everything on the bike is working, top off the tires, top off my bottles, and away I go at 7:30.

The Purple People Bridge lets me cross from Kentucky into Cincinnati, Ohio without having to deal with traffic. Ten miles out along the river, I take note of where to sit and rest on the way back. They have been extending the trail closer to downtown, so I join where it is rideable. Just another couple of miles of traffic.

Then, I can access the Little Miami Trail, part of the Underground Rail Road Bicycle Route. This section is also a rail-trail as it follows an old railroad. All along the way are signs, either about life on the river, or some history about the railroad. The city melts away in the cool morning air as I make my escape. It is still early, so trail traffic is light and I have only 50 miles left to Xenia.

A few more miles and I see someone taking a rest with their Bike Friday. I have researched  folders so of course I stop and chat. James is retired and has plenty of stories to tell, from flying down hills on a fifty pound Schwinn, to how to woo your high school crush. I enjoy the chat and continue on always with a "see you down the road."

I look down at the time. I have been going way too fast. I won't be able to eat in Loveland. I sit down at a bench and enjoy the morning. I hear the whistle from King's Island in the distance. Okay, I should have wasted enough time.

Loveland Cafe is open. A vegetarian sandwich and a Coke make my early lunch. I call my mother to let her know I am okay and brag on Facebook that I am making good time. Loveland is having a farmer's market that I will miss. I notice a group of older men having coffee and getting ready for a ride. Away I go, only 30 more miles.

Still making good time, I realize that if I keep going I will have to sit in the hotel lobby. So I stop in Corwin at the Peddler for a milkshake. They still haven't opened full time yet, and I am lucky that they are open. I catch up with the group I passed in Loveland, they went on an ice cream ride. Now it is one more 15 mile push to Xenia.

As always, Raj is working at the Ramada. We chat and exchange stories. Trail traffic has been low because of the rain and more rain is expected tomorrow. I get my room key and head for a shower followed by dinner. The restaurant has great fettucini.

Morning again: I stretch my legs, get ready and head downstairs. Raj is at home and won't be in until 9. Oh well, everything was great and I head back towards home. I take my time stopping in Morrow to chat with a group out on a training ride. They are going to go towards the hills. I am reminded that the trail is flat, but that is fine by me. An older couple is there as well and we talk. Something about being on the trail makes me even more social.

I make it to Loveland just as The Works is opening. It's a bit expensive, but totally worth it. If only someone was riding with me so I could try a pizza there. I try the trail visitor center but it is closed.  I chat some more with the people gathering to take on the trail. I am reminded that I am missing a farmers market tomorrow. I would love to go, but my legs are feeling like jelly already.

Back on the construction near Ohio, I stop and watch some little league baseball. The river hosts its variety of people, the trail is finished up ahead and it is busy. I cross the Purple People Bridge and my apartment is in sight. Once there, I dismount and stand for a moment, empty my bottles in a few big gulps and head inside.

Get more information about bike overnights.

Tip for this adventure: You can start in downtown Cincinnati and mix with traffic, or start at one of the suburban trail heads. Loveland has a wealth of restaurants and a reasonable bike shop as well as headquarters for Friends of the Little Miami Trail. The Corwin Peddler is a must stop for an ice cream or a late lunch.

Favorite local bike shop: Reser Bicycle Outfitters in Newport, KY.

11 responses so far ↓

Dylan - Nov 14, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Thanks for posting this trip. Adding to my list for next spring...or maybe winter...?

Jon Reams - Nov 15, 2011 at 10:58 AM

The trail is open year round for skiing and snow shoeing, however I have never been on it during the colder months. I would contact the Friends and ask them how snow is dealt with.

R BURDYSHAW - Nov 18, 2011 at 4:37 PM

I RODE THE UGRR ROUTE AND SOME OF THIS TRAIL TO GET TO A FAMILY MEMBERS HOUSE. IT WAS SPRING AND OF THE 1443 MILES THE SATURDAY I SPENT ON THIS TRAIL WAS THE BEST DAY. NOT ONLY THAT IT WAS THE BEST DAY I'VE HAD IN YEARS AND YEARS!! TRUE STORY......... Sorry I was day dreaming about the day very fun, sweet spring smells, happy smiling faces,birds singing. Yes I hope I get to ride there again.

JACK HUGHES - Mar 25, 2012 at 8:36 AM

I am almost 85 and have ridden thousands of miles on this trail in the Newtown/Morrow segment. You encourage me to take my pajamas and go to Xenia. I ride through the winter and will comment to Jon that snow removal is accompllished mostly by southern winds
and rising temperatures.

Jim Brooks - Apr 21, 2012 at 5:06 AM

Buck Creek State park in Springfield, John Bryan State Park,, and two canoe rental spots offer some good camping options. Yellow Springs, just a few miles north of Xenia, is also a very cool little town, with lots to do. You may even run into Dave Chappelle in the local coffee shop.

Tom - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:03 PM

My wife and I rode our tandem this past Friday (Apr 20) from the southern terminus of the LMST up to Loveland. About a 27-28 mile round trip. That's a short trip length for me but a cross-country adventure for her, so was very proud of her doing so well! Anyways, we did eat lunch at The Works and had a pizza. Specifically, the Potato Pizza. Sounds weird but it totally works. Delicious! Wish this trail was closer to me, and it is a fantastic resource for those able to use it. Young's Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs is a must-stop point on the LMST. Best.Ice.Cream.EVER. And that from a Cincinnatian that can have Graeter's every day! With your pace, a round trip to Springfield and back over two days is well within your reach.

Bill Clendenen - Jun 1, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Nicely done!

Nigal - Oct 11, 2012 at 1:22 AM

Great report! I live on the north end of this trail system in Piqua, Ohio and have planned for a few years now make the trip all the way south.

Mike - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Great information. Sadly, the Corwin Pedler is closed and the building is for sale, as of July 2013. Maranda's in Morrow, 14.5 miles south of Corwin on the Little Miami Scenic Trail, is still open for ice cream.

280Dude - Oct 31, 2013 at 7:02 PM

We did a 100 miler this year from Vandalia to Xenia to just over the bridge in Newport and we also stopped for lunch in Loveland. Reading your trip report brought back memories.

Bill - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:50 PM

Great travelogue, Jon. Thank you for sharing.

I'm fortunate enough to live just beyond Indian Hill from the LMST in Kenwood. My first overnighter was from Kenwood to the trail at Newtown then out to Cedarville.

The shops seem to come and go but the atmosphere of the people and fellow riders is always friendly. My current favorite stop is The Little River Cafe in Oregonia.

Happy Trails!

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