Take to the B&O Trail to explore on two wheels!
They say getting there is half the fun. But the 18.4-mile Richland B&O Trail is a rare gem that elevates a bike ride to a whole new level. Typical Rails-to-Trails paths travel by diverse communities and territory. Rather than merely rolling past, the B&O invites discovery all along the way as you hop on and off the trail at multiple entry points. You’ll go across 18 bridges, past open fields, over babbling creeks, around colorful public art and through quiet communities inviting you to stop and explore. Bring your camera to capture the memories.
The trail’s northern-most point, North Lake Park in Mansfield, is the perfect spot for a photo op. Take a selfie by the colorful mural near the trail head, then hop on your bike to cross over the creek on a bridge made of sandstone that dates back to the 1880s.
Locals love Kingwood Center Gardens on the former estate of famed industrialist Charles Kelley King. Take a rest from the trail beside ponds, flowering gardens and cool woodlands. For a small fee, tour the historic Kingwood Hall mansion and follow the Storybook Trail with your family. Seek out the story pages spread throughout the woods and feel like you’re in a living fairy tale. Grab a bite before getting back on the trail at the Gateway Café.
Stop to relax over a cup of coffee, fresh-made biscuits or a freshly baked chunky chocolate chip cookie at Nickel & Bean coffee shop. Tune up your bike at Y-NOT Cycling & Fitness, the only bike shop on the trail, where knowledgeable experts can get you back on two wheels in no time at all. You can even purchase or rent a bike here, too.
Hop off the trail and stroll the picturesque Main Street in downtown Bellville. Stop for coffee and a snack at Brumby’s. Find gardening tools and more at Elzy Milling & Trade, housed in a Civil War-era feed mill. Slow down on a walk around the peaceful grounds of the Bellville Cemetery, where the oldest headstones date back to the late 1800s. Detour for hearty comfort fare at local favorites V&M Family Restaurant or Fast Eddie’s. Linger on the patio with a glass of wine and signature cheesecake at Wishmaker House Bed & Breakfast and Winery.
Reward yourself with a stop at Butler’s Five Points Drive-In. Cool off with a peanut butter shake or a raspberry slush, or choose one of their signature tornadoes, available in more than a dozen flavors, like thin mint or Oreo. If you’ve worked up a serious appetite on the trail, the double cheeseburgers and shredded chicken sandwiches are just the answer.
TIP: Check out a bike for the day at the Bellville, Butler and Lexington branches of the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library with a valid library card.
Be among the first to hit all the stops on the Black Cyclone Trail. This self-guided driving trail tells the extraordinary life story of Ohio’s own Charles W. Follis — the first African American pro football player, dubbed “The Black Cyclone.” Learn about how he defied the odds to make it to the pros at stops in Shelby including Charles Follis Way, the fields where he played and restaurants where he and his teammates socialized. Learn more at blackcyclone.org.
By Nicholas Dekker