Bicycle adventure in the southern flats


Two months ago, a friend posted a link on the facespace to a spread of photographs from the 1970’s focused on environmental problems. The photo he posted was a picture of the Clark Avenue bridge in all of its smoggy industrial 70’s glory. The bridge is long gone, but once connected with Pershing on the other side of the industrialized valley.  Clark Avenue’s current terminus eastbound, is far less abrupt than Pershing’s. When it was built in 1918, it was the longest bridge in Cuyahoga County at over a mile in length, but by the 70’s it was a wreck, and in the early 80’s it was closed and demolished– with no money or plans to replace it specifically, it was to be replaced with I-290, but was scaled back to what is now I-490, a quarter of a mile to the north.

Somehow, during the last weekend in November, I found myself in shorts and a t-shirt at the start of the bicycle path atop Steelyard Commons.  I had zig-zagged through some sidestreets, passing a line of visitors outside the Christmas Story Museum and was now contemplating my usual trip to Independence or Brecksville along the canal tow path.  However, the picture of the Clark Avenue Bridge (and my fantasy to bicycle every street in Cleveland) was stuck in my head, I turned back and considered gliding down Clark into the valley.  This I did, took a right on Quigley and noticed a road I had passed several hundred times and had never registered:  Holmden Avenue.  I connected with the earlier path, as I realized Quigley doesn’t go anywhere  and huffed my way back up to the top of W. 14th, but returned to Holmden with its grade into the valley which seemed more at home in a place Pittsburgh rather than Cleveland.  As a warning, I noticed it was already heavily salted by the City with no snow in the forecast.

Upon making it back into the valley with literally, breakneck speed, I stopped and headed north.

From here, I was face to face with some beloved Industry of Cleveland looming in the in the distance.  I found some junctions I had noticed by never explored.  Little blocked of streets like Clark Court, remains of bridges that have been missing for decades like the Jefferson Road bridge, abandoned trains, etc..

Hurray for industry!








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