With the weather threatening to soon get crisper, what better way to enjoy the outdoors than a nice bike ride? Well, there are few ways in this humble writerâ€™s opinion. So yours truly, along with The Voice-Tribuneâ€™s Chief Photographer Chris Humphreys went on a bike ride in Clarksville, Indiana.
Oh, and then we finished that off with ice cream. Because, why not?
Jerry Alford and Ben Fraley are co-owners of the Widowâ€™s Walk Ice Creamery in Clarksville â€“ a small stand that sits alongside a building that in darker times would not look out of place in a horror film, with itâ€™s tall conical spire. But instead, on a bright and sunny day, itâ€™s a practical haven. Small tables sit outside the building and sparrows frolic in the shade. Itâ€™s frankly idyllic and would be a perfect place to unwind even without the bike ride and ice cream.
Open since 1998 but owned by Alford and Fraley since 2006, the ice cream shop has also had bike rentals available for the last three years â€“ something that Alford admits has kept the pair busy.
â€œWe started around three years ago with the bikes,” explains Alford.Â â€œAnd with the Big Four Bridge opening, itâ€™s become so popular. In the busy season and on weekends, every single bike is out, and we have to make reservations for people.â€
According to Alford, even though the bikes are from Indiana, theyâ€™re often taken to Louisville, too.
â€œPeople ride up to the Big Four,â€ he says. â€œAnd cross the river into Louisville because it has some great paths as well.”
And so it was our turn to try and ride a bike. Foolishly, we attempted a tandem. Foolishly, not because itâ€™s dangerous in any way but because if you want to go anywhere other than along a nice flat path, you are going to be pushing your tandem around. Itâ€™s heavy. But thatâ€™s probably more our fault than anyone elseâ€™s.
But let it be said, the tandem is also really fun. Itâ€™s a delight from the moment you get on and realize teamwork is paramount (you really, really have to start pedaling at the same time) to the time it takes to get used to the turns, which are admittedly a little submarine-like. Itâ€™s also strange to pedal and not have to worry about steering â€“ if youâ€™re in the back that it is â€“ itâ€™s still one of the most important things if youâ€™re at the front!
But after a brief and albeit slightly sweaty experiment involving the tandem, we decided to swap it out for some nice steady city bikes. Heck, they even had lovely bells on them which you could ring while you swanned around.
The path we chose stretched along the water in the direction of New Albany and was part of the Falls of the Ohio State Park â€“ another great place to visit for epic scenery. The bike path as it is right now only extends for two miles, but that was more than enough. In those two miles, we saw wonders. We saw a snake cross the path as we were cycling; there was a dog that threatened to chase us but ultimately decided not to; and there was the ever-present view of Louisville across the river
In an ideal world, where money is no object, the old railway bridge connecting Kentucky and Indiana will one day be a walking bridge that connects to the mooted plans to extend Louisvilleâ€™s Waterfront Park all the way to Portland. So imagine a loop that would take you all the way around the two states on a continuous path.
The business closes for the season at the end of October, so be sure to check out the bikes and ice cream while you still can. VT
Widows Walk is located atÂ 415 E. Riverside Drive,Â Clarksville, IN, 47129. For more information visit widowswalkicecreamery.com or callÂ 812.285.8850.