I fought the wind and the wind won
Got up this morning with a plan to ride to Kipton. Kipton is eighteen miles northwest of my house and I’ve never been. I checked the weather:
Sixty five degrees! I could ride without tights or shoe covers. I could wear a short sleeved jersey. This is what I’ve been waiting for.
I was a little concerned about the wind but felt I could handle it.
I hopped on the bike and as soon as I headed west I had a horrific headwind. It took all I had just to maintain ten miles per hour. Soon my quads burned and I was tiring. Then I turned north and with the wind at my back I easily cruised from 18 to 20 miles per hour effortlessly. I felt like I was twenty-five again.
The I hit Route 303 and had to turn into the wind again. I don’t like riding 303 due to the truck traffic and speed limit. Going slowly against the wind made it worse. Plus the sound of the wind made it hard to hear the cars.
Soon I came to Pittsfield. It is essentially a crossroad with a park, a church and not much else. In the park is a civil war statue very similar to the one in downtown LaGrange.
Pittsfield is mostly known for tornado that tore through on Easter
18 deaths – Extensive damage to Pittsfield and Strongsville. Pittsfield was nearly entirely destroyed and 6 homes were completely swept away there. Vehicles were thrown hundreds of feet and mangled. The tornado then struck Grafton at F2 strength, damaging homes and a car dealership before re-intensifying and striking the north side of Strongsville. In Strongsville 18 homes were leveled, some of which were cleanly swept from their foundations. 50 others were badly damaged in town. Damage amounts were estimated at $5 million. Was listed as an F5 by Grazulis. Also witnessed as a double tornado.
There used to be a sign telling about the tornado. It no longer seems to be there.
I headed back into the wind, west toward Kipton. Once I turned north I had the wind at my back and I felt young again. Just as I entered Oberlin I came to a MUP ( Multi-User Path) that would take me the rest of the way to Kipton.
The path is wide, well maintained and the trees on both sides gave me refuge from the constant wind.
The path blocked much of the wind but when I’d pass an open field I’d be hit hard. About a mile I was passed by another cyclist. He had a high end bike and had a serious look to him. All I heard was an, “On your left” and he was gone.
I finally arrived at the end of the MUP in Kipton. It ends just west of town in a little park. I sat down and took a well deserved rest. In the park was this placard.
If you read the sign, and I bet you didn’t, it says:
Great Kipton Train Wreck
On April 19, 1891, a head-on collision between two trains of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway Company occurred at the Kipton Depot. Eight people lost their lives, and the depot was heavily damaged. The crash occurred when a fast mail train heading east near Kipton and a passenger train going west from Elyria collided. The passenger train was supposed to let the mail train go by, but the conductor had not realized that his watch had stopped for four minutes and then restarted. As a a result the passenger train was late getting to the stopping point. Looking into the matter, the railway company enlisted Webb C. Ball, a well-known Cleveland jeweler, to investigate time and watch conditions throughout its lines. Ball instituted the current railroad industry’s timekeeping program, which specified watches trainmen could use. His attention to accuracy and promptness let to the well-known saying, “Get on the Ball;”
Here is a youtube video of a person finding a gold watch at the site of the train wreck. Interesting what a little bike ride can tell you.
From the park all you see is decay.
I was rested now so I headed downtown. There wasn’t much to see. After all, Kipton only has a population of 243.
I got back on the MUP and it was glorious. I comfortably rode 18 to 20mph and could relax and enjoy the ride. I saw egrets and turkey vultures. I saw ponds with the last bits of ice that reminded me of the salamander eggs we used to see as kids.
I was so enthralled to be riding without wind that I overshot my turn off and ended miles to the east of where I should be. Now I had to head back into the wind to get home. Riding south was bad and riding east was worse. The winds picked up and had gusts over forty miles an hour. It was so bad that I had to stop numerous times.
Finally I came to a field and a gust of wind blew me into the middle of the lane. Then it happened again. I realized it was no longer safe to be on the road and I made the call of shame to the wife to come and pick me up. I was only a few miles from home but it wasn’t worth it. Still, I rode nearly thirty miles, in the wind, averaging 12.9 mph. I’m glad I did.
One thing I”d like to end with. It’s a shame that both these towns are known for some tragedy instead of all of the good people and things that have happened. I guess that’s the way it is.