I needed a recovery ride. I'd done my longest ride in two years the day before, and pushed myself hard at the end to avoid getting rained on. I was tired, and I needed a slow bit of pedaling to unwind. Fortunately, Metroparks Serving Summit County had the trail for me.
The Freedom Trail is a new multi-use path in development on an abandoned commuter rail line. The trail currently runs 4.2 miles in the city of Tallmadge, but plans are for it to continue into Akron and connect with the Northside Station of the Cuyahoga Valley Railroad and the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath. On the other end, Portage County will bring the Portage Trail to a connection, which will mean residents of that county can have an off-road path into Akron, north to Cleveland, and south as far as the towpath goes.
I was joined on this ride by my buddy Aaron, and Aaron's pal Samson. Aaron rode and Samson walked, connected to Aaron's bike by a special mount on the seatpost. Samson seemed enthusiastic. Then again, he's a German Shepherd. The trail itself is wonderfully planned, wooded for most of its length. For much of the ride I couldn't even hear traffic noise. Once we passed the small Metropark on the trail and entered downtown Tallmadge road crossings and traffic noise were there, but aside from waiting at crossings we had no trouble.
Or, I should write "we humans had no trouble." Samson has been on long walks and rides before, but at the turn around point Aaron noticed his dog was bleeding on one of his paws. Something on the asphalt surface, or the gravel next to the trail, irritated his pads. My friends took it easy riding back, walking the bike at times. Samson is a strong dog, and after a couple of days with his paws wrapped he's recovered and reportedly wants to go for another run/ride with his human.
I finished the ride, and the day, with ten miles. I rode back and forth near the end while Aaron was talking to Samson and checking his paws, which explains my increased mileage.