The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway is 21 miles of asphalt that does not just bear the weight of tires and footsteps traveled but connects multiple communities and provides a common hub for small-town businesses. As you bike along the path, the scenery changes from the hustle and bustle of Athens and Ohio University, through miles of trees and farm land, to the historic district of Nelsonville. Some of the businesses along the way are Black Diamond Bicycles, Eclipse, Little Fish, and the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway.
Black Diamond was established in 2014, and according to the manager, Sam Keiffer, a lot of the shop’s customer base is foot traffic off the path. Even though Black Diamond is right next to the path, the shop makes an effort to engage with the entire biking community by bringing people together for group rides.
“The biking community is very interesting. There is still a very large community, but everyone is still a little more stick to themselves which we are trying to get away from and encourage more of a community focus to it,” explains Keiffer.
People of all skill levels are welcome to join the group rides.
“We are encouraging more group rides regardless of level. There are a lot of people here, its just trying to figure out how to wrangle them all together and find out how we can grow the community.”Sam Keiffer, owner of Black Diamond Bicycles
The bike path plays a significant role in helping the community come together. It conveniently runs through the middle of the city for leisure rides with friends or easy commuting.
Owner of Eclipse, Sam Kiser, paints the perfect picture of a beautiful sunny Saturday with around 50 bikes locked up along the side of the restaurant with bikers and families enjoying food and live bluegrass music. It is a vision of Kiser’s success.
“When we go back to figuring out the thought of how to have an everyday business, the bikepath was always in the back of our mind. We wanted to incorporate ourselves into the bike path and the biking community and its been a very mutual agreement for business” said Kiser.
Jimmy Stockwell, Co-Founder of Little Fish, was born and raised in Athens and thinks the path has not only been beneficial for local business, but the city in general.
“It is something that Athens city has really had a vision to put forward as an asset to the community. And I think that they have marketed it very well to tourists and community members” he states.
However, if it weren’t for the railroad that runs along the bike path, there would be no path in the first place. President of the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, Chris Hartley, says the railroad has been around since the 1800s and used to haul coal and brick from the mines to build cities such as Nelsonville and Athens.
Now, the railway is used for people to experience Ohio’s history. Part of that history- the bike path that has been serving the community since 1870.
Athens Bike and Brew is not an official one day event, but a popular phrase some of the locals and tourists have coined for their favorite past time. Bike on the path and stop at the many breweries along the way. If you are curious about the caloric intake of beer versus the calories you burn biking, check out the interactive infographic below.