Keep your active NEOCycle weekend going
By Heather Tunstall
If you're here for NEOCycle 2017, we're guessing you're at least a little into outdoor activities. You'll get your bike's worth at the festival, but extend your stay or sprinkle in a few other activities while you're in Cleveland by taking advantage of our parks, water sports, and trails.
On the water
If the views from the NEOCycle Festival at Edgewater Park have you pining for the water, you're in luck. Cleveland has a waterfront that's more than just eye candy.
From the crooked river to the great lake, you can paddle, fish and boat to your heart's delight. Pick your activity and dive into this (perhaps unexpected) Cleveland pastime.
* Kayaking: If you packed your own kayak, you can put in at almost any of the waterfront Metropark reservations and boat launches, including Huntington Reservation, Perkin's Beach at the Lakefront Reservation, and the Scenic Park Launch at the Rocky River Reservation. Since not everyone packs their kayak when they travel, you can also rent one at 41° North Kayak Adventures or Camp Hi for the nature scene, or at North Coast Harbor's Rock and Dock or the West Bank of the Flats' Great Lakes Watersports for unbeatable city skyline views. Looking for a guided river tour? Try River Cruiser Kayaking.
* Stand-up Paddleboarding: Go from balancing on two wheels to balancing on the waves. Nalu SUP, 41° North Kayak, North Coast Harbor and Camp Hi all are great options for renting stand up paddleboards. Or you can take a class or even do yoga (yep, on a paddleboard) with SUP CLE at Whiskey Island or Edgewater Park.
* Jet Skiing: Feel the breeze as you race around a great lake on the watertop equivalent of a motorcycle. Kind of. Rent a jet ski at Rock and Dock while ripping past the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Or head over to Great Lakes Watersports to jet through the Flats. Get on with your bad self.
* Boating: Here's where Cleveland really shines. Rent a paddle boat from Rock and Dock, or a power boat from Great Lakes Watersports to go at it alone. Or, let the captain take charge while you kick up your feet on the Goodtime III, Nautica Queen or Metroparks River Cruises. Feeling quirky and need a drink? Check out the ever-entertaining Brew Boat for a seriously Cleveland experience.
* Fishing: Anglers can cast their line from a number of piers, shores or charter fishing boats in Cleveland. Lake Erie is known for perch and walleye fishing, but there's plenty of novice catch-and-release fun to be had as well. The Ohio Division of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife literally has everything you need to find charter fishing boats, casting spots, rentals and license information.
Hiking can keep your blood pumping between NEOCycle events while getting you out into nature (just minutes outside of Downtown). With more than 500 miles of trails over 70,000 acres of open space between Cleveland and Akron, there are routes for novices and families, or for those looking for a bit of a challenge.
* The Buckeye Trail: About 50 miles of the 1,400-mile Buckeye Trail passes through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Metroparks and Summit Metroparks in Northeast Ohio. Follow the blue blazes (marked on trees) to explore hiking trails winding through the peaks and valleys of Ohio's most beautiful corners of nature.
* Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Did you even know that Ohio has a national park? Explore more than 33,000 acres of woods, waterfalls, wildlife and wonder (how's that for alliteration?) and hike the 80+ miles of trails. And, this national park is free. Peep some bald eagles, watch the awesome power of a 65-foot waterfall, and snap pictures of ancient rock formations while making your way to a valley overlook--all just 20 minutes outside of the bustling city.
* Cleveland Metroparks: The Cleveland Metroparks' 18 reservations encircle the city, giving them the nickname of the Emerald Necklace. Lakes, hiking trails, golf courses--you name it. How great are they? Well, they've won a number of awards, including the "Best in the Nation" prestigious 2016 National Gold Medal Award for excellence in Park and Recreation Management.
Bike all day, every day
You're here to bike, and that's what you're going to do. We get it. There's even more to see on two wheels outside of the NEOCycle events, so keep pedaling over the river and through the woods.
* Mountain Biking: There's a mountain biking event at NEOCycle that gets you on the challenging Bedford Reservation trail, but you can pedal even more once you're done with that one. In fact, there are more than 50 miles of singletrack mountain bike trails in Northeast Ohio. The Cleveland Metroparks have three dedicated mountain bike trails, including the short Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation trail, which keeps you close to Downtown Cleveland. Or, head to the East Rim Trail for a ride through the national park.
* Leisure Trails: Keep on rollin', even if it's at a slower, steadier pace. You've got 150 miles of cycling paths to work with, not to mention plenty of dedicated road lanes for urban biking. Anywhere along the Ohio & Erie Canalway offers immersion in nature and a casual ride along the Cuyahoga River. Or, bike along the Emerald Necklace--try the popular route of Mill Stream Run Reservation to Rocky River Reservation. The Biking in Cleveland Guide is a great resource and has good suggestions for where to jump on and off the Cleveland Metroparks access points.