GALENA — Unless you drive here, you may not know that two major bike routes run through the village.
“People who live, work, or visit Galena can find a lot to do here,” states the village’s website. “Galena is also situated on U.S. Bike Routes 21 and 50A.”
Bicyclists are a common sight in the village during warm weather and the summer months.
“Ohio is establishing a network of State and U.S. and bicycle routes which will provide bicyclists with safe and convenient connections through and to population centers and destinations in Ohio,” states the Ohio Department of Transportation. “The system will serve as a strong backbone that local and regional bike networks can build on and connect to across the state.”
ODOT notes that U.S. Bike Route 21 goes through Delaware County, Sunbury and Galena. The other route, USBR 50, goes through Westerville and the Ohio to Erie Trail, while USBR 50A goes through Galena.
The state bike route system calls USBR 21 Ohio Bike Route 1.
In Ohio, USBR 21 starts at the Ohio River, goes west to Cincinnati, runs diagonally northeast on the Ohio to Erie Trail through Columbus and Akron to Cleveland. From there, it meets up with USBR 30, which goes west to Toledo or east into Pennsylvania.
Officials want USBR 21 to go all the way to Atlanta. Currently, the southern section of the route goes 161 miles from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
USBR 50 enters Ohio from the west at Terre Haute, Indiana, and goes through Dayton, where it joins USBR21 and goes into Columbus. At East College Avenue in Westerville, USBR 50 goes east then turns south on Sunbury Road and follows Cubbage Road, Walnut Street, and Harlem Road to East Dublin Granville Road.
USBR 50 also goes north into Genoa Township, turning into USBR 50A in Galena on South Old 3C Highway, turns south at Sunbury Road, and goes west on Center Village Road in Harlem Township. USBR 50A (Ohio Bike Route 65) crosses into Licking County and goes through Johnstown, where it meets up with USBR 50 before Granville. From there, it goes along the TJ Evans and Panhandle trails to the Ohio River into West Virginia and eventually to Washington, DC.
The plan is to make USBR 50 a cross-country route. The western section begins at San Francisco and ends in Utah.
The first U.S. Bike Route was designated in 1982, ODOT states, with 41 routes altogether that go across the country through 26 states and the District of Columbia. There are five U.S. Bike Routes in the state, encompassing 1,400 miles.
“In addition, Ohio has over 1,600 miles of proposed state bike routes throughout the state,” ODOT states on its website. “They are a combination of trails and on-road facilities. Together, these routes connect more than 400 Ohio communities for intrastate travel, recreation and tourism.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.