It might be hyperbole to say everyone in central Ohio rides here, but it wouldn’t be far from the truth. New Albany has become the riding epicenter for numerous clubs, including several of the pelotons (teams) that participate in Pelotonia, the annual cycling event that attracts thousands of riders and has raised more than $200 million for cancer research at Ohio State’s James Cancer Hospital.
The most popular loop is to the scenic village of Granville and back, and nobody knows the way better than Dick Bartz, who has done the trip more than 300 times since 2008. Actually, that’s hyperbole too. “There’s one other person who’s done it as many times as me—my wife, Annette,” he says.
This bicycling couple has ridden the New Albany-Granville loop many, many Monday mornings with members of the Westerville Bicycle Club, and they have led the weekly 9 a.m. ride (April to November) since 2015. That’s a lot of Mondays … and miles. “We try to do a little something different each time,” Bartz says of the quiet, rural, and sometimes hilly roads. (Thinking of joining? Bartz says he likes to throw in as many hills as possible because, well, why not?)
The large Market Square parking in the center of New Albany is the meeting point for most rides. While New Albany has grown tremendously in recent years, you’ll quickly leave traffic behind as you pedal rural roads surrounded, first, by business parks and warehouses, and then, farms, fields of corn, and cattle and horses. Some of the tree-lined forest roads are topped by a canopy of branches and leaves to ride through. Above, look for hawks and even bald eagles, circling overhead.
New Albany-Granville Routes
You have many choices when riding to Granville and back. A direct route each way equals about a 35-mile loop, while a less direct route can easily add another 10 or 20 miles, or more, as well as several more climbs. Almost all rides begin by heading east on Worthington Road (the old Route 161), which is just south of and parallels the new Route 161 for about 8 miles, ending at Watkins Road.
“You can ride almost completely on the north side of 161, or do a north and a south route, or just the south side. Do it clockwise or counterclockwise,” Bartz says.