A man from New York who is ride a bike in all 50 US state capitals in a year on a unique, all-American cross-country trip revealed his favorite city so far — and why he plans to start a new life there once his trip is over.
Bob Barnes, 52, of Syracuse, New York, told Fox News Digital that once his cross-country trip is over, he plans to return to Cincinnati, Ohio. And if he can find a job there, well, he would even consider moving there.
Barnes cycled through Cincinnati, the so-called “Queen of the West,” on April 15 after visiting Columbus, the 35th capital he has cycled to so far.
“Friendly at the top”
Barnes said when he came to Ohio State, he found himself “in his comfort zone.”
“I been in the Midwest [before] and it just had a nice feel,” Barnes told Fox News Digital. “Crossing all the Southern states was a little more intense than I expected – and I didn’t realize it until I got to Ohio.”
Barnes enjoyed hiking the Buckeye State Railroad Trails, which are tracks built on abandoned railroad tracks used for walking or biking.
“I was on a rail trail for two solid days,” Barnes said. “It turns your ride into a 100% recreational ride.”
“[On rail trails] you have no worries,” Barnes added. Instead, “you can… just enjoy the ride and talk to people.” You don’t have to worry about traffic at all.
Barnes even stopped for lunch with members of Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails.
The group runs part of Ohio at Erie Trail, the railroad trail that Barnes took after Columbus.
Barnes met the men at a dinner party in London, Ohio. There, Barnes ordered the special meatloaf – and his companions offered it to the meal.
“It turned out to be a good time and I didn’t want to leave,” Barnes said.
“These guys were amazing. They were so passionate about their trail and their city, and it was cool.
“Then they let me know what to expect on the track,” Barnes also said.
The men also encouraged him to visit Loveland, he said – a place Barnes described as “one of the most bike-friendly towns in the country”.
“You’re riding around town and everyone’s on their bikes and it’s all bike-oriented,” Barnes said.
Barnes said he also enjoys driving through another small town called Lancaster, Ohio.
“Lancaster was a small-town American sensation,” Barnes said. “It was really nice. It was very neat… There was this feeling.
Overall, Barnes said his interactions in Ohio were “awesome.”
“The whole state is just too friendly,” Barnes said.
“It’s just very friendly and it’s fun. I had a ball.
Second favorite state so far — favorite city
Barnes said that after MississippiOhio is his second favorite US state so far.
Ohio is home to Barnes’ now favorite city: Cincinnati.
“I could live in Ohio,” Barnes said. “I could live in Cincinnati, actually.”
“I plan to come back here,” Barnes added.
“And right now, if I had a job opportunity in Cincinnati, I would move there.”
Barnes said one of the things he loves most about Cincinnati is that it’s “a perfect size,” with a population of just over 300,000.
“It’s pretty urban for me and you can just get around,” Barnes said.
Along with beautiful parks near the Ohio River, the city offers easy access to Paul Brown Stadium, home of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, and Great American Ball Park, home of the MLB’s Cincinnati Reds.
“Big Law Enforcement Fan”
Although Barnes found Ohio generally very cycling–friendly, he said there was a freeway area that was less than accommodating for his trip.
Barnes planned to be on this stretch of freeway for a while – and for the first half it was legal to cycle on the road.
Once he got to the second half of the stretch, however, Barnes said the road got busier and he encountered more off-ramps than before.
Bicycles were no longer allowed on the highway at that time.
Still, Barnes said all the signs were on the on-ramps and not the actual freeway – so he pretended not to see the signs.
Near Logan, Ohio, Barnes said a police officer pulled him over.
“He was cool,” Barnes said. “He checked my ID and he was really nice. Then he escorted me [the highway].”
Despite the detour, Barnes said he didn’t waste much time.
“It just added a little nuisance,” he said.
When Barnes arrived in Cincinnati a few days later, he had another great interaction with a police officer.
Barnes said that as he drove through an area under construction, a police officer who was managing traffic in the area chatted with him for a few minutes, took a selfie with him and even stopped traffic to let Barnes continue on his way. .
“I’m a big fan of law enforcement,” Barnes said. “They help me wherever I go.”
Barnes now heads to his 36th capital of Frankfort, Kentucky.
While still in Ohio, Barnes told Fox News Digital he looked forward to pedaling the rest of the Midwest.
“Of all the capitals left [on his biking journey across America], I haven’t cycled through four of them,” Barnes said, referring to the fact that he took a trip out west four years ago; on this previous trip he visited many capitals and states that he is heading now.
Of the four capitals he mentioned, two of them — South Dakota and Iowa — are in the bottom 48, while the others are Alaska and Hawaii.
“It’s something in my favor going forward,” he added.
To Alaska and Hawaii: Barnes explained earlier that he plans to cycle to Juneau, Alaska after taking a ferry from Canada. And he will cycle to Honolulu, Hawaii after flying his bike to the island, he previously told Fox Television Stations.