Towpath Trails and Bus Lines Provide Alternate Modes of Transportation 

Happy trails

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While Cleveland's the type of city where you kinda need a car to get around, we also embrace our alternate modes of transportation. One of the reported reasons why big events such as the Gay Games and the upcoming Republican National Convention decided to come to Cleveland is because of the public transportation system. While the Rapid doesn't go everywhere, it does make its way from the westside of town to the eastside, using Tower City as a transfer terminal of sorts. And it goes all the way to the airport. Not even the New York subways can make that claim.

If you just need to take a few quick trips around downtown, the Trolley is your ticket as it provides free transportation from the Warehouse District to Public Square and Cleveland State University. In addition, RTA's HealthLine, a "state-of-the-art bus-rapid transit (BRT) system," offers "rail-like convenience with the flexibility of a bus" as it connects Public Square to the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere in East Cleveland. It's not free, but it's convenient and you can bring your bike on the bus.

And we do love our bikes, even if the city doesn't have the kind of bike paths you find in places like Portland, Oregon or Seattle, Washington. Back in 2013, a team of so-called "renegade bike enthusiasts," or "guerilla stripers," laid down an unauthorized bike lane on Detroit Avenue from West 29th to West 32nd after they were frustrated that the city hadn't demarcated a designated bike lane. The city originally promised that a 1.7-mile bike lane on Detroit from West 29th to Lake Road would be installed by the fall of 2012. So these stripers used duct tape and spray chalk to let the city know they were pissed. While a designated bike lane now exists on the street, the tactics show just how serious the city's cyclists really are. There's even an extreme faction that rides year round, and there's now a bike locker downtown where you can store (and work on) your bike. With or without bike lanes, cycling the city's streets has its rewards and can be the most efficient way to get from point A to point B.

While urban cyclists and commuters use the city streets, recreational cyclists take to the Metroparks and the Towpath Trail. Plans are in place to extend the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath to Lake Erie. According to ohiobikeways.net, "Cleveland will then become a state-wide trail hub where one can ride across Ohio by trail in three different directions." Even if you have to ride down to the Harvard Road trailhead to pick up the Towpath Trail, it's still a helluva ride as the bikeway heads south for some 85 miles to Zoar, in Tuscarawas County. Along the way, you'll find restored buildings that serve as exhibits and information stations, a working lock where demonstrations are held in summer, and even the occassional bar or restaurant for a well-earned rest. A section of the Towpath runs alongside the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad; the train's Bike Aboard program allows cyclists to pedal in one direction and make the return trip on the train.

We got boats of all sizes too. Head out on Lake Erie during the summertime and you'll encounter everything from sailboats and motorboats to giant tour boats such as the Good Time III and the Nautica Queen which take party hearty tourists and locals on cruises along the lakefront. You can also rent boats, kayaks and jet skis along the Cuyahoga River and head down river or venture out onto Lake Erie. Published in 2010, Ohio's Lake Erie Public Access Guidebook lists some 164 public access locations and shoreline attractions along our 312-mile Lake Erie coast. In other words, there are plenty of places to paddle/sail/motorboat from and paddle/sail/motorboat to.

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