This past weekend, my brother and I traveled to Athens County, nearly 75 miles south of Columbus (down US-33), to experience Brewed on the Bikeway, consisting of 21-miles of scenic bike trails along Hocking River, award-winning craft breweries and the infamous West End Cider House.
It was my first time visiting Athens County, and I was beyond excited to share this experience with my little brother, who hasn’t rode a bike in 10 years. Travelers can either opt to BYOB (“Bring-Your-Own-Bike”) or rent a bike at a local shop in the area. For convenience of traveling from out of town, we opted to rent.
We started our journey at Athens Bicycle, located on Stimson Ave., where we were greeted by friendly staff and fitted for our bikes. With my brother being 6’3” and myself at 5’4”, it was nice to have our bikes customized to our varying height differences. Within minutes, we were on our way to get ‘Brewed’.
The amazing staff at the Athens County Visitors Bureau organized our trip and recommended specific trails and breweries to visit along our bike ride. Our first stop was Jackie O’s Taproom, rated “Best Brewpub in Ohio” by RateBeer.com in 2015.
And with little to no food in our system, we did what any normal brother-sister duo would do and we started drinking. A 16-ounce razz wheat beer for me, and an IPA for him, and this small town soon felt like home.
Let’s be real, life gets busy, people get lazy, and excuses come easy. And spending time with family is the best; especially with siblings who just get it. Although each brewery included new topics of conversation for the both of us, each trail provided different feelings, both old and new.
From the roaring applause coming from the OU football stadium to the pure silence you’ll hear while riding passed the community gardens, these are the moments you slow down for and take notice. It’s more than a bike ride; it's sense of community.
As we rode to our next brewery, Little Fish Brewing, I was a little buzzed and grateful for the flat bike trails. The trails are accommodating to a novice bike rider, which makes it easy for anyone to enjoy. We used a map the entire time and on our way to the second location we realized we needed to go off the bike trail and onto a gravel road. When we arrived, the smell of southern Creole cooking infused the air.
Unfortunately, our biggest regret was not enjoying the cuisine of the Cajun Clucker, so don’t make our same mistake. But we had a lot of fun there. We played a quick game of giant Jenga, grabbed a sour beer and a house-made ginger ale; and took a moment to catch each of our breaths. Little Fish Brewing has a family-friendly outdoor space along with a creative, modern taproom. From there, we decided to get back on the trails and head to our last stop.
We ended up biking a little over 10 miles throughout our entire trip and by the end of it we were exhausted. We had planned on attending the Ohio Pawpaw Fest, but decided to head back to Columbus before we begged nearby OU students to crash on their couches. If you are unfamiliar with what a “Pawpaw” is, don’t be embarrassed. I was once in your shoes. It’s actually the state fruit of Ohio.
And as we came to the end of our day, we returned our bikes and decided to drive to the West End Cider House. We enjoyed a flight of six house-made ciders, made new friends and honestly just laughed while we recapped our day. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful day.
If I had to recommend a day-of agenda, this would be my order of events.
4 W. Stimson Avenue
Jackie O’s Taproom & Production Brewery
25 Campbell Street
Little Fish Brewing Company
8675 Armitage Road
West End Cider House
234 W Washington Street
Who knew a couple of cold brews, sore inner thighs and a flight of hard cider would make for an unforgettable Saturday between a brother and sister. Thank you Athens County for creating memories that I’ll forever cherish. Your community was warm, inviting and peaceful; and I appreciate your love for sharing that with us.
Disclaimer: If you plan on drinking and biking the trails, please be cautious and mindful of your surroundings and alcohol consumption. Bicycles are considered to be vehicles in the state of Ohio and are subject to traffic law per Ohio revised code 4511.
Bicycles are the only vehicles allowed on sidewalks, local authorities may prohibit but not require bicycles riding on sidewalks. Link here: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.711
Note: In Athens, ordinance does prohibit riding bikes on some sidewalks in the uptown area.
My name is Morgan Pelt, founder and lifestyle blogger behind Columbus Living – a blog dedicated to sharing stories about local businesses, events and entrepreneurs. I grew up in Columbus and as a creative outlet; I like to share my adventures and experiences through writing, photography and social media. It's time to discover new places, try new food, and meet new people. Let's go!