XENIA — For my fourth bike ride on the Greene County trails, I decided to make the 21-mile round-trip trek to Jamestown and back via Bike Route 4, the Xenia-to-Jamestown Connector.
Much like my anticipation of the Cedarville ride about a month ago, I fully expected to find myself out in some cornfield somewhere with nary a tree of shade to be found.
And also like the Cedarville ride, I was dead wrong.
That treeless out-in-the-open stuff must be reserved for the freeways. Nearly the entire ride between Jamestown and Xenia is tree lined with plenty of shade. I can only recall an area near Skydive Greene County, just off Monroe Siding Road, and another area when you get about a mile or so outside of Jamestown, where there were no trees or shade.
I’m willing to bet that 20 of the 21 miles I was on had some form of shade along the trails, and that was a pleasant and welcome surprise.
According to the Greene County Parks & Trails website (gcparkstrails.com), the trail is on what used to be a narrow-gauge railroad from the 1870s that hauled coal from Southeast Ohio up to Xenia and Dayton.
I like having the thought in my head of a tireless locomotive chugging along these same pathways a zillion years ago. It helps me to keep chugging along when it feels like 120 degrees outside and I’m thinking of McDonald’s milkshakes far off in Jamestown.
Route 4 is the second path that leaves Xenia Station to the east and briefly requires the use of a Xenia road to eventually get you to your desired pathway.
When you take the Ohio-to-Erie Trail north to Cedarville, you need to cross Detroit Street and take Hill Street very briefly until you’ll see the entrance to the trail on your left.
I missed that trail on my first time, and had to rely on my phone’s Navigator app to get me back onto a spur further down the way to eventually get onto the path.
Well, guess what?
Yeah, I somehow missed the sign leading me to the Jamestown Connector too. I guess I was supposed to take Washington Street, but I wound up on Hill Street and eventually found a spur (again thanks to my Navigator app) to get onto Route 4.
If there were one minor criticism I could come up with for the Greene County trails, I think that would be it: More signage to point to the downtown trail routes in and through Xenia.
I’m thinking signs similar to the old Road Runner and Coyote cartoons, where they’re neon and huge, and all pointing to an enticing bowlful of birdseed, except instead of birdseed they’d be pointed at the trail entrances.
(To the younger readers who have no idea who the Road Runner or Wile E. Coyote happen to be, Google it. You’ll enjoy it. Stay away from anvils.)
Once on the Jamestown Connector, again you find yourself isolated from traffic and business and noise. Instead, there’s trees and critters and even some cool tunnels. Just over a mile and a half away from Xenia Station, you’ll take a tunnel that gets you under U.S. Route 35.
From there on to Jamestown, you’ll pass over a few roads but nothing too busy. There are some blind spots where you have to really listen to make sure there’s not a car coming up over the hill towards your way. As with every crossing, be extra cautious.
Upon my arrival into downtown Jamestown with the early afternoon temperatures in the mid-90s, I decided that I needed a milkshake or I was going to shrivel up and die. So I backtracked roughly two miles to the local McDonald’s. I think the lady who took my order sensed that I needed several gallons of cold liquid to keep from evaporating, and so I gladly purchased the large soft drink for $1.
Heading back, just as when I headed back from Cedarville, it just felt easier. I don’t have access to any elevation tables, but I think Xenia must be in a hole and the Jamestown Connector falls westward into it.
The trees break any kind of headwind you might otherwise encounter, and it just felt as if I were going downhill all the way back to Xenia Station.
All told, it took me about two hours for the round trip, and that included sitting for a little bit in McDonald’s.
I really enjoyed the ride.
Sometime, I will take the Connector even further and go the other six miles further east to the Fayette County line. I’ve pedaled my antique Schwinn mountain bike south to Warren County and west Montgomery County already, might as well go to Fayette County as well.
ANIMAL COUNT: Mostly chipmunks and birds. But on the way back to Xenia, I encountered a deer buck who didn’t seem very happy to see me. I stopped and we had a brief stare down, before he was obviously scared off by my intimidating bike helmet.
NEXT WEEK: Flying on the Wright Brothers – Huffman Prairie bikeway in Fairborn.
Got a question about the Greene County bike trails? John will gladly answer your questions, or find the right answer for you. You can contact him at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.