Columbus Cycling: New Albany

Choose your own adventure at this hub for bike clubs and social rides.

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?)

Starting Point

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. 

For first-timers, here’s a fairly direct New Albany-Granville route: Head east on Old Worthington, for about a mile, and then make a left on Kitzmiller Road, and the bridge over (new) Route 161. Follow Kitzmiller a couple miles, until you get to Central College Road, and go right. Follow this road for a few miles, and then it winds to the left and then to the right and becomes Jug Street. At Mink Street (there used to be mink in this area, and, according to rumor, there still are), make a left and then the first right back onto Jug Street. When you get to Burnside Road, make a right and follow it until it dead ends, with (new) Route 161 in front of you. Make a left onto Jersey Mill and follow it down, past several farms. Bear to the right when Jersey Mill intersects with Jug, and this will take you onto Route 37. Make a right and head through the little village of Alexandria. Just past the stop light, bear left onto Racoon Valley Road. Bear left when this rolling road dead ends at West Broadway. This will take you into the heart of Granville.

Here's a hillier option: From Racoon Valley, go left on Loudon Street, then right on Dry Creek and follow this scenic road for a couple miles. Make a right on Burg Street, where there are some rolling hills and lots of expansive views. If you want fewer climbs, bear left when you get to New Burg Street, which winds around and into Granville. If you want more and bigger hills, stay on (Old) Burg, where there are two steep climbs, and then down into Denison University and Granville.

On your way back to New Albany, explore the south side of the loop. “We like Canyon Road,” Bartz says of the road that’s south and a little east of Granville. “Because of the hills.”


Allow plenty of time for a pit stop in Granville before heading back. “We always stop at the Village Coffee Shop and get some coffee and chat and then ride back,” Bartz says. The coffee shop serves baked goods and sandwiches as well. He also recommends Whit’s Frozen Custard shop and the Aladdin, an old-school diner (try the pancakes).

Another good option en route is Ragamuffins, a coffee shop in Alexandria. And for post-ride eating and drinking, there are numerous options at Market Square in New Albany, including a Starbucks, two ice cream shops, the Rusty Bucket and Mellow Mushroom (pizza), and the new BrewDog pub and restaurant.

Join the Club

Riding with a cycling club is a great way to meet other cyclists and learn new routes. In addition to the Westerville Bicycle Club, you can connect with the New Albany-based The Cycling Club, the Pickerington Bicycle Club, or Columbus Outdoor Pursuits.

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.