Man rediscovers himself biking along Ohio to Erie Trail
CHILLICOTHE — The plan started out as riding less than a mile round-trip to get ice cream with his two kids, but Jack Williams ultimately rode his bike 346 miles in six days.
Williams bought his mountain bike in May after his children — Jackson, 11, and Geneva, 9 — had gotten bikes for Christmas. He thought it would be fun for them to ride together down to nearby Hook’s Pizza, but within a week of buying the bike, he began putting together a plan to ride the Ohio to Erie Trail solo.
The plan was prompted by a need to rediscover himself after his 14-year-marriage had ended in divorce along with him turning 40. His children were going on a weeklong beach vacation, so he struck off from the Ohio River in Cincinnati on June 28 with a goal to reach Lake Erie by 4 p.m. July 3.
“I just decided I always enjoyed adventure, and I toyed with the idea of traveling alone,” Williams said. “It was kind of the perfect storm. You know, this is a chance for me to do something epic.”
Geneva and Jackson weren’t sure exactly what their dad meant when he said he was going to ride across Ohio, envisioning a trip from Chillicothe to Columbus.
“I was like, whoa!” Geneva said of when she realized exactly how far her dad rode after he returned home.
As he went along the trip, Williams, a former broadcast journalist who does public relations for a Department of Energy contractor, began keeping a video journal with his iPhone to remember his journey and share it with his kids. He has since turned the video and photos he captured into a 20-minute documentary of the trip that he hopes to share with the public in an effort to inspire others.
“Sometimes, you think you have to go to Alaska or an African safari (for adventure), but it’s right here. ... (I want to) give folks an idea that anybody can do this. You don’t have to be a super athlete,” Williams said, adding that it was a phenomenal way to see and experience Ohio.
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