I feel very excited to be writing this first post on a series I’d be calling Cleveland’s my gym. In it I’ll be exploring different ways to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, while enjoying some of the coolest neighborhoods and sites that Northeastern Ohio has to offer. Of course, as soon as I started getting serious about writing it, my inner saboteur immediately went on to ask: “Why would anyone care about this?” And so I told myself, “SWEETIE, first of all, ALL of us in Cleveland have been traumatized by this last, painfully long, bitterly-cold winter; now we want to be outside to enjoy the nice temperatures. Besides, it seems to me that more and more Clevelanders are trying their best to engage in active lifestyles and we could all benefit from knowing of good places to work on our fitness while enjoying the many, many assets our region has to offer.” And with that I kicked my inner saboteur in the butt, and got started. After all, if there’s something I’ve learned in the last few years is that the real secret to a successful health and fitness journey is to learn to overcome your inner saboteur; that’s when you can go on to achieve your goals.
|Playhouse Square on Euclid, looking west. May 2014|
I know that when we think of outdoors + Cleveland it usually equals the Emerald Necklace or the Metroparks. I love them all, and I’ll get there eventually. However, I wanted to start this series somewhere closer to the heart of the city and its history: Euclid Avenue between Downtown Cleveland and University Circle. The once world-famous Millionaires’ Row saw its decline during the Great Depression and it seems like rest of the 20th century was not really that kind to it. But that’s really changing now. The avenue has benefit from heavy investment, and it’s full of life again. It’s about time we enjoyed it!
|Uptown development, view from MOCA. May 2014.|
The single best thing you can do on Euclid Ave. is to ride your bike. It’s only about 5 miles long and there are bike lanes on both sides of the road through most of way. The speed limit is 25 mph, so you probably won’t be intimidated by the cars driving in the lane next to yours. Besides, I’ve never really seen heavy traffic on Euclid, so you won’t be smelling exhaust as you ride. The terrain is flat, which makes this an easy ride that takes the average rider about half hour each way. What really makes this ride cool is that you have tons to do on both ends of your ride, so you can couple your ride with a day-visit to work on your Cleveland pride.
|View on Euclid looking west, by the Cleveland Clinic. May 2014.|
If you start in Downtown Cleveland, you’ll find plenty of reasons to make it to the cultural heart of Northeastern Ohio, University Circle. You can for instance, and for free I may add, go into our world-class Art Museum. Fairly small fares will get you into the Art Museum’s special exhibits or to the many other attractions around (MOCA, Museum of Natural History, Western Reserve Historical Society, the Botanical Gardens, and others). You can also go and check the Uptown development, which is so cool. You’ll have plenty of food and drinking venues there such as the ABC tavern, Mitchell’s ice cream, Coquette, Cleveland Beer Cellar, and soon there’ll even be a Happy Dog. In addition, you’d be within a 2-3 minute by bike from Little Italy and its art walks and restaurants, and if you really want to extend your ride, you can go down all the way to Lake Erie on MLK’s bike lane through the Cultural Gardens. Just make sure you keep the calories under control if you do choose to dine or drink in the area! Oh, and don't forget that the Wade Oval Wednesdays and Parade the circle, both are coming up soon!
|View of Severance Hall on Euclid Ave., from Adelbert Rd. May 2014|
If you are heading towards Downtown Cleveland, you’re in luck because you won’t be worrying about parking once you get there! Besides the obvious attractions (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center, Lolly the Trolley, and the beautiful buildings everywhere), there are many outdoor events going on during the summer. I would suggest to go even if it is to check out the area around the new Convention Center because it’s so damn cool. The East 4th district will have your eating/drinking needs covered and will really make you feel cool while you’re at it. The East 4th district is also home to the Cleveland Bike Rack, a bicycle garage with locker room and showers that might interest you if you are considering commuting to Downtown by bike, or if you want to make sure you are nice and fresh for your downtown visit (great if you are meeting people there and you want to freshen up!).
|Snapshot of the E.4th District looking west, on Euclid Ave. May 2014.|
Going back to the ride itself I’d say it’s quite enjoyable. I need to mention that although the road and the bike lanes are for the most part in great condition, there are some fairly big potholes concentrated in the area between E. 30th and the bridge over I-90. Luckily, because of the low volume of traffic, it is fairly safe to switch to the “car lane” and avoid those potholes. Still, be careful. But once you are done dealing with that, make sure you enjoy your ride and see all the cool stuff along the way. You’ll see people doing their thing around the Cleveland Clinic, along the thriving Cleveland State University campus, and at Playhouse Square. If you pay attention you may see some of the remaining Millionaires’ row homes still standing. And as a special trivia, I’ll share a little secret with you. The first time I rode my bike on Euclid I was confused by all the HTC banners between Cleveland State and the Cleveland Clinic. I somehow felt the cell phone company had some sort of a presence in Cleveland, but turns out I was just being dumb. HTC stands for Health Tech Corridor, a conglomerate of companies in those industries taking advantage of the local assets in those fields. Many of them are located in new and/or renovated buildings along Euclid Ave. Classic me, lol.
|Playhouse Square on Euclid, looking east. May 2014|
|Cornell Rd. looking north towards Euclid Ave. May 2014.|
|University Circle at Euclid Ave. and Cornell Rd. May 2014.|
|Public Square, facing south. May 2014.|
|Public Square, facing north. May 2014.|
|Public Square, facing north. May 2014.|
|Southeast view from the Convention Center. May 2014.|
|South view from the Convention Center. May 2014.|
|Northwest view from the Convention Center. May 2014.|
|North view from the Convention Center during the Cleveland Marathon. May 2014.|
|Severance Hall. May 2014.|
|Case Western Reserve University Campus. May 2014.|
|University Circle. May 2014.|