We've setup categories for Ohio bike trails to help users more easily identify the different types by establishing bikeway classes. The concept is similar to the one used for camping, giving the user an idea of what facilities are available, etc.
Narrowing It Down
When we began roughing-out preliminary categories and definitions we soon realized that we'd have to pick a few main points to cover and let the rest go. For more details regarding a particular bikeway, visit the review pages. The trail class is listed in the Trail Specs section of each review.
The main classes address trail surfaces:
Hard surfaced trail for all bikes; ideal for road bike use. Surface may be asphalt or concrete.
Firmly packed crushed stone (sometimes called towpath) for all bikes. Trail may include hard surface sections. Road bikes can usually manage a Class B surface, but riders should be on the look out for soft or uncompacted sections.
Gravel, ballast stone, dirt, grass, cinders or other natural surfaces. Ideal for mountain bikes. Surface may be primitive, unfinished or ungraded and may include uneven, wet or treacherous areas. *May not be suited for inexperienced riders or small children.
*Important Note: This class includes sections that might be closed or have restricted use due to their unfinished condition. Consult the trail overseers or their web site for allowed uses and trail rules.
That covers the surface types you'll encounter, now we'll address whether the bikeway is part of a network.
Sub Class Categories
The sub classes cover connectivity:
Sub Class 1
A trail that connects directly to one or more bikeways. Additonal connectors may be direct or marked road routes.
Sub Class 2
A trail that connects via signed road routes or bike lanes with one or more bikeways; no direct trail connections.
Sub Class 3
A stand alone trail or one that has yet to be connected to another bikeway.
What We Have So Far...
So if we have a class A2 bikeway, we're talking about a hard surface trail that is connected to another bikeway by a marked (or signed) road route. The Kokosing Gap Trail fits this description as it connects with the Mohican Valley Trail, which would be a class C2 trail.
The "+" or "-" Touch
And finally, bikeway facilities are noted using plus or minus signs. Here's the breakdown:
++ Restrooms & Water Available - Standard restroom facility and water available on the trail or immediately adjacent. Other amenities may also be included. Longer trails will generally have several water sources and a combination of full and partial restroom facilities along the way. Toilet facilicites may vary from standard restrooms to primitive toilets or port-o-potties. Note that there may be long distances between them. Short trails may have only one restroom.
(Please note that all facilites are not open year round -- or seven days per week -- and may be subject to closing at different times of day or night. As long as facilities are intended for trail users, no distinctions are made between privately owned and park or public facilities.)
+ Limited Water & Restrooms - This designation suggests at least one water source, but when it's at one end of a trail, it may have limited benefit. You may encounter only a water fountain or portable john, not neccessarily at the same location. Toilet facilites generally include at least one porta-john or latrine, but you may have to improvise by using a nearby mini-mart or gas station facility.
- No Water Source - No water source directly on the trail. Always pack as much water as possible when visiting these bikeways and park near the middle of the trail when possible to pickup more water or food when you double back to your car. The trail may be very rural and may or may not offer a portable or primitive toilet(s). Be prepared to road ride into nearby villages or towns to find water or a restroom.
Putting It All Together
Ok, let's get back to our Kokosing Trail example. The Kokosing would be a A2++, while the Mohican Valley Trail would be C2-.
So we know the Kokosing is a hard-surface bikeway that connects with another trail by a road route. It has restroom and drinking water facilities along its route.
The Mohican Trail also connects with the Kokosing by way of a road route. But it has no water source on the trail and may or may not have a portable toilet(s). (It has one primitive toilet.) The trail is a natural surface that's best suited for mountain bikes.
Can't remember the designations? Not to worry. The classes will be linked to a definition popup like the example below.