Having grown up on the west side of Cincinnati and now living in Northern Kentucky, I had never actually experienced the Loveland Bike Trail. Sure, I’d heard of it, driven past parts of it many times and have several friends and family who are frequent users. But with two toddlers, it hasn’t been at the top of my list of places to try out – but it is now! After a rainy May and way too much time spent inside, we were eager to get out and explore and the Loveland Bike Trail was the perfect opportunity.
On my son’s last day of preschool, we decided to take him to a new location for his favorite activity – riding his bike. He got a bike for his third birthday in February and hasn’t had many chances to ride it. I started asking around about the trail in Loveland and everyone I talked to was a serious bike rider who had used it to train for a big ride or race. That was definitely not us, but we figured we’d check it out anyway.
Going on a weekday afternoon was the perfect time for a first visit, as it wasn’t very crowded. We parked right in downtown Loveland, steps from the actual trail. I was immediately relieved when I saw that the trail was mostly flat! Parents of beginning bike riders can understand my fear. I know they need to learn to break and even how to fall, but that doesn’t make it easy to watch! My only other reservation with the trail was that it would be filled with serious riders and that we would be bothersome with our double jogger and slow moving toddler bike. But again, it ended up not being a big deal. We quickly taught our son to stay to the right and riders just called out and zipped around us. I’m sure this is a bigger issue on crowded evenings and weekends, but I think as long as you stay to the right and keep moving, the trail can be fun for everyone.
ICYMI: The Loveland Bike Trail is #24 on our 100 Things to Do This Summer in Cincy list!
Since my son was referring to the trail as a “bike park” from the moment we told him about it, I was thrilled to see a large playground, right next to where we parked! It sits back from the trail a bit and you can see parts of the Little Miami River behind it. (It’s not right next to the river, so don’t worry about a safety issue.)
We were able to use the playground as the perfect incentive to turn around! Our son rode his bike, with my husband waking alongside and they “chased” me as I jogged ahead with our daughter. We went along for about twenty minutes, with a stop here or there to get back to the right or take in the river views, and then turned around and headed back to the playground.
There were also public restrooms and plenty of shady spots to rest or pack a picnic. If your kids like Hawaiian Ice (ours sadly do not), there is a stand right next to the trail. We were planning on ice cream later that night, or we would’ve definitely visited the new Graeter’s, just a block away. There were several families eating outside at the restaurants right on the trail; that’s on my list for our next visit!
The Loveland Bike Trail turned out to be a great way to spend an afternoon with our two young kids. We were all able to be active, enjoy the sunshine and take advantage of this unique Cincinnati destination. Since the trail is 70 miles long and has many towns and stops along the way, I look forward to utilizing it many more times with our kids.
A native Cincinnatian, Andrea has experienced life in all four corners of this city. After growing up on the west side, she headed north to attend Miami University, then moved east to Hyde Park and now lives in Northern Kentucky with her family.
When she’s not playing trains and doing the “hot dog dance” as a stay-at-home mom to her two toddlers, Andrea is busy writing for Cincinnati publications and sites. With a newfound passion for fitness and overall health, she spends a lot of time at her family gym and loves to play outside.
Andrea worked in education for several years and has a special love for children’s literature. She loves showing her children all our city has to offer and enjoys sharing her finds with other parents. Her favorite spots include the Cincinnati Zoo (although she steers clear of the bird house), her local library and any playground.