Entering New Bremen I was fascinated to see a building on the edge of downtown. I had to look a few times and it wasn’t until I saw the 2007 cornerstone that I realized that this was a new building. The building is a testament to small town pride and the integrity of companies willing to honor a community’s tradition.
I will say that I was disappointed that their Bike Museum was closed on Sundays. From the window, it looked like it would be a fun visit. Like the two previous downtowns, new Bremen was amazing. The ability of these western Ohio communities to hold and preserve their architectural integrity and heritage is astounding. Going through them is like a walk back in time – before shopping malls and strip centers…at least until I got to the east edge of town and then they all look alike.
Even having said that, these small towns with such rich architecture supply a visual oasis, an appreciation of place, history, craftsmanship and and Ohio is richer for it.
Next down Route 66 was Minster. I was really looking forward to Minster as I have spoken a number of times with Don Harrod, the Village Administrator. This is a small town with an underlying energy. Minster (population 2790) has its own swimming pool, and is part of the Miami to Erie Canal bike path (though I did not see it or use it) and is home to a very large Dannon Yogurt operation. I love Dannon yogurt and have eaten it for years. (I am very partial to its lemon and vanilla flavors). Minster is preparing for an expansion of Dannon as they are reaching to meet the new demand for Greek yogurt (of which I am rapidly becoming a fan).
All that aside, Minster is very picturesque. The neighborhoods that I rode through were quiet and well maintained. Though the downtown was less than I expected, they have managed to hold on to their architectural heritage rather well.
The last town on my jaunt was to/through Fort Loramie. This place took me back. It reminded me a little of Burton, Ohio – not real active, but enough of an energy and town green park. I really got a kick out of the bank that is now a pizza shop – now that’s what I call creative re-use!
The shade of the park provided a respite from the sun, as I was noticing clouds of various shades of gray to the south and west. I was getting a bit worried about this time about the potential rain forecast I saw on TV before I left the hotel (did I mention that the hotel was right on the bike path!?!?!). I recalled from my mapmyride map that from Fort Loramie, that the elevation as such that the ride back to Piqua was pretty much downhill. It wasn’t a sudden downhill, but a very gradual grade. I was looking forward to the last 20 miles – I can’t recall any ride where the last quarter has been on a decline. With that elevation, I was feeling somewhat confident that I just might be able to beat the rain, though I did don my raincoat and helmet cover.
I was most impressed by the fact that as I was leaving Fort Loramie, there was a bike lane on Route 66 going south! I had not seen any other bike lanes, though the berms on this ride were a good width and the drivers most polite, giving me a lot of room. As much as I throughly enjoyed the day of riding, it was rather sad seeing corn and beans in a shades of brown and ears of corn underdeveloped. Living in the suburbs, most of us are shielded from really seeing what drought looks, save what we see on TV. Seeing it up close and personal is shocking. I thought an awful lot about the farmers and their families and said a lot of prayers for them that day and since.
The last twenty miles was quite enjoyable – downhill always is – and I only got hit by a few drops. Coming back into Piqua felt like coming home. The bike path was so easy to find.
I got back to the Comfort Inn and had a wonderful rest that only a long bicycle ride could bring. The ride convinced me that Piqua is the bicycling hub of west central Ohio. To be able to connect with these other towns so quickly and easily is for this cyclist, a grat way to spend a day. I really cannot wait to go back to Piqua and explore some more of Ohio – I am thinking that this just might be an annual trip – and next time, I am bringing some friends to join my new Piqua friends. So, thank you Bill Lutz, Jim Hemmert, Lorna Swisher, Beppo Uno, Susie’s Big Dipper, and Main Street Piqua. See y’all next summer.