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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Alt. Rte: How to Ride Your Bike to Coney Island

By Pat Lafleur

As of last Friday, it is officially summer, and -- in that spirit -- here’s an Alt. Rte. post devoted to getting you pedaling over to one of Cincinnati’s most beloved, most historic summer destinations: Coney Island.

I only made this trip for the first time last Friday, on the first evening of summer, giving me plenty of lingering sunlight to ride safely back to KY after 9:00 PM. In a way, this was serendipitous because this route is not one you want to take after nightfall. While generally flat, the route has a wide variety of road and traffic conditions that should be considered.

By the time you get to Coney, though, you’ll be satisfied and ready to ride some rides or take a dip in Sunlight Pool.

BIKE ROUTE*: Ft. Thomas to Coney Island

*These instructions are only meant for those who feel comfortable riding a bike on the road with auto traffic (as the law requires), and who take proper safety precautions (including helmet, and lights if at night). The notes and ratings for the route are intended for those with little in the way of gear or gadgets.

1. Take Highland Ave. west toward Grand.
2. Make a right onto Grand Ave., heading north toward Newport.
3. Pass under I-471 overpass.
4. Make right into Newport Pavilion. Take the roadway (or CAREFULLY ride through the shopping center parking lots) toward the 10th St. exit.
5. Make left onto 10th St.
6. From 10th St., make right onto Washington Ave.
7.   Make left onto 3rd St.
8.   Cross the Purple People Bridge.
9.   Make a right onto Pete Rose Way.
10.       Cross under the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge.
11.       Continue on to Riverside Dr.
12.       Continue on to Kellogg Ave.
13. Destination will be on the right, just after the I-275 overpass.

For notes on steps 1-7, leading you from Ft. Thomas through Newport, please see Alt. Rte. 4/23/13.

Pete Rose Way/Riverside Dr.

Once you’ve reached Pete Rose Way, it’s fairly smooth sailing for roughly 5 miles. There is some current road construction, particularly once you reach the portion of Riverside Dr. adjacent to the Columbia-Tusculum district. There is, however, a bike lane established for the majority of the whole of this stretch, with plenty of signage preparing drivers for the possibility of your presence on the road. This makes all the difference in the world when you’re on a major thoroughfare like this one. For the most part, it’s two lanes (dropping to one as you pass under the occasional overpass) and a generally pleasant ride, with intermittent views of the Ohio River peppered throughout. Watch for slight inclines here and there.

Kellogg Avenue

While this ride is, overall, one of the most enjoyable I’ve made in NKY, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say: don’t get too comfortable on Riverside Dr. because Kellogg Ave. packs a punch. The road itself is roughly the same size as Riverside Dr., but the traffic -- Kellogg being a more industrial roadway -- is somewhat heavier, with larger vehicles, higher speeds, and less bike-tolerant drivers (for tips on how to assimilate into auto-traffic on bike, see “5 Simple Rules to Sharing the Roads in NKY”). On top of the traffic (or, rather, underneath), the pavement conditions are treacherous in some spots, the asphalt having suffered under the weight of several types of industrial vehicle. There is also a bridge, crossing the Little Miami River, that offers some coarse concrete. The inclines are also of a higher grade, so, while you’ll remain in the same gear for the majority of Riverside Dr., this will not be the case here.

Overall, this ride -- especially for a beginner cyclist -- can be very fulfilling (nearly 10 miles, regardless of where you start in NKY) if approached with the proper amount of preparation and caution on the road. Be sure to give your tires a full top-off with air before embarking, wear your helmet, be patient with intolerant drivers, and -- in the event that you don’t have the longest day of the year to shed light on the situation -- make sure your lights are fully charged.

1 comment:

  1. I would recommend going out north on Fort Thomas Ave until you get to Covert Run down to Belleuve and then under 471 into Newport. I think this just keeps you out of all of the Pavilion traffic.