Trail: Holmes County Trail in Ohio
Start: Walmart Trailhead in Millersburg Ohio
Route: Ride from Millersburg north to Fredericksburg and back, then ride south from Millersburg to Killbuck and back.
Distance 36 miles round trip.
Weather: Morning fog to Sunny. Temp: 50-70 degrees.
Low Elev 820, Hi Elev 990. Feet Ascended: 310
Trail Material: Asphalt.
Rating: TWO Thumbs Up.
I read about the Holmes trail being a gateway into the past through Amish country. Even though the trail is short (15 miles), I wanted to ride it since there was a good chance of seeing Amish buggies in action. Heck, I was only two hours away and this was an opportunity to experience a different type of bicycle trail. So the plan was to ride the Holmes County Amish trail in the morning and the nearby short Richland B & O trail in the afternoon. Just driving the roads to Millersburg was an experience. Some of the hills were so steep that you do not know which way to steer as you crested the steep hills. It felt like the car would go airborne.
Somewhere I had read that the horse and buggy trail was parallel but separate from the bicycle trail. Surprisingly it turned out that the trail was just one wide trail with bicycles using one side and horse and buggies using the other. It was easy to see which side was for the horses based on the deposits left on the trail. Horse poop might be a turn off for some but the bicycle side was free of it, plus the trail horse poop did not smell as bad as I thought it would.
I parked at the Walmart trailhead in Millersburg which had an unbelievable long covered stall for Horse & Buggy parking. I had not ridden more than a mile before the loud clip-clop of a horse and buggy was heard being driven by a typical Amish looking gentleman. Then moments later another buggy, this one with a front tinted window like cover so the occupants were hard to see. Ended up seeing a couple dozen Amish buggies all between Millersburg and Fredericksburg.
Highlights of this trip: The thing that blew my mind was hearing the clip-clop coming from behind and getting louder. I was riding up a slight railroad grade incline toward Fredericksburg at about 13 miles an hour and the horse and buggy slowly passed me. I had no idea those Amish buggies pulled by a single horse could make better time than an average bicyclist. Whoa! (Pardon the Pun) The variety of scenery along the trail north of Millersburg was superb. The scenery south of Millersburg was dense and boring. I would gladly ride this trail between Millersburg and Fredericksburg again.
Next time I would love to take some side trips on the country roads to see where all those horse and buggies were coming from or going to. But those country roads get so steep it might require getting off the bicycle to walk up the hill in some places. I can see why Horse & Buggy are so popular in this hilly area.
Experiencing this ride gave me much internal satisfaction. I realize that one day in the future when a catastrophe or Isis knocks out the Power Grid across America causing mass chaos and neighborhood wars, that life will go on without much change for those Amish farmers who grow their own food and are used to living the old way without electricity and cars and electronic devices.