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Featured Rider – Brinkley Graves, age 8

Dear OTET friends,

I’m Brinkley Graves from Madeira, Ohio.  I’d be thrilled if you’d consider me as a Featured 326 Club Member.  

I did not complete the entire 326 miles of the trail.  However, during Labor Day weekend last year – my Daddy (Bryan Graves of Madeira) and I biked 110 miles of the OTET trail in 48 hours on my 20’ Redline Cyclocross bike.  This may not be a big deal by itself; however, I did this two months after my 9th birthday.

Whether biking, hiking or walking, I’ve always loved adventures which push my limits and amaze my parents.  In the spring, I first thought of this ride when my Daddy mentioned the bike trail. My Mommy and Daddy were hesitant to go along with this idea, warning me I would need to practice a lot and even then, the trip may still be too far for my 48-lb body to handle.  But why would they ever doubt me for a minute? Haven’t they learned anything in the last nine years?

From that point, I asked my Daddy every day to take me to the bike trail.  He seemed to always have a convenient excuse preventing us from going, but after relentlessly pressing him for weeks and months, Daddy finally took me out on the trail.  On my first outing, we completed a non-stop 15-mile ride. After that, Mommy and Daddy were on board and willing to let me give it a try.

On Thursday evening, we began our journey from 50 West in Newton.  I became a bit anxious once I realized I’d be away from Mommy for a long time.  However, Mommy stayed in constant contact with us and agreed to be close by at all times.  

That night, Daddy and I tackled the bike path passing through Milford and Loveland.  As the sun began to set, we came upon the abandoned factory resting along the Little Miami River.  This was a familiar site since Daddy and I passed the old plant while training during the summer. However, this was the first time I saw the building at this time of day.  I can tell you for sure that the old war factory looks a lot scarier when it’s getting dark.  

That evening, we finished our ride in Morrow – which was good for two reasons:

#1 – it gave us 28 miles for the day (a new record for me)

#2 – the next day, Daddy responded to all phone calls by claiming, “yesterday, we made it to Morrow.” (I quickly grew tired of him saying that)

On Friday, we rode all the way to Cedarville.  That day we rode underneath the huge Jeremiah Morrow Bridge; ate lunch with tough-looking Harley Bikers at the Little River Café in Oregonia; and explored really small towns like Corwin and Spring Valley.  We also took a break at the Xenia Station Splash Pad/Playground. Daddy says that I’m probably the only person to ride from Cincinnati to Columbus that also insisted on climbing all over the Xenia Station playground for more than an hour.

On Saturday, we passed through South Charleston and then I wondered if we’d see another town again.  We were riding through the middle of nowhere forever. There were some farms, but we never saw any people and we didn’t even see cars on the nearby road.  But we kept pedaling through the brutal heat and eventually reached London and visited the local street festival. Later that afternoon, we dodged thunderstorms; went dirt bike riding through Darby Creek; and I even learned how to ride “no hands” style.  That evening, Daddy and I made it all the way to downtown Columbus.

One of my favorite things during our trip was getting to test all the sno-cone shops we could find.  In the end, our hometown favorite, the Trailside Ice Shack at the Loveland Bike Trail, was easily the best of all.  Maybe sometime soon I’ll get to try all the sno-cones from Columbus to Cleveland!