Tag Archives: Ohio Bloggers

Ohio Blogging Cookie Swap: Recap and Recipe

Bit o’ Blogkeeping: You have until 11:59pm on Monday, Dec. 24 to enter my Damn Right I’m From Cleveland giveaway. I’ll announce the winner on Christmas Day!

Cookie Monster Heaven

As I’ve blogged before, my lack of cooking skills is a bit notorious. In fact the last (and only) time I ever baked something was a few years ago.

And even then, I wouldn’t really call it baking. I made cookies from those Pillsbury cookie dough rolls and still managed to burn them to a crisp.

However, last week I donned an apron once again when I got roped into decided to make cookies for the 3rd annual Ohio Blogging Cookie Swap.

I was told baking is more fun in the company of friends so when WhyCLE offered up her kitchen, I figured this was as good a time as any to learn how to actually make cookies from scratch.

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A Downtown Bike Tour with Cleveland Bike Tours and Ohio Blogging

Thanks to this month’s Ohio Blogging Meetup, I got back on a bike for the first time in years and somehow managed to not hurt myself (or others!)

Cliches exist because there’s usually some element of truth to them.  And earlier this week I proved that you never in fact forget how to ride a bicycle when I got back on one after years and years of not biking.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I have almost no balance — check me out in a yoga class if you’re ever curious.  When I was a kid it took me a really long time – and a lot of falls into ditches – to get on a bike. But once I did, I didn’t stop – spending anytime I wasn’t in the water during the summer biking through the neighborhood and along the beach.

But then I stopped. After I moved to Philly, I had a huge fear of biking in the city because I thought my clumsiness combined with cars and crowded streets would likely result in an accident.

The group takes a break from the bike tour to check out Marine Week and get a photo in Public Square (photo courtesy of Ohio Blogging/Poise in Parma)

Flash forward to this week and the Ohio Blogging Association‘s latest blogger meetup.

For this month’s Blogger Night, we met up at the Bike Rack in downtown Cleveland for a bike tour with Cleveland Bike Tours.

Our fearless tour guide – Anne Smith, founder of Cleveland Bike Tours

Cleveland Bike Tours (iBikeCLE on Facebook; formerly called Great Lakes Tour Company) was founded by Anne Smith in 2010. As Northeast Ohio’s premier source for custom bicycle tours, Cleveland Bike Tours brings fitness and adventure together on Cleveland-area bicycle trails while promoting interest in regional tourism and history.

From Cleveland neighborhoods – like downtown, University Circle and Ohio City – to the Bike Aboards in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Bike Tours has designed excursions for riders of all experience levels – even (re-)beginners like me!

I love exploring downtown on foot – and now by bike – because you get the best view of Cleveland’s beautiful buildings

For the Blogger Meetup, we took a tour through downtown Cleveland. We picked up our cruiser bikes and helmets outside of The Bike Rack (Don’t have a bike? For a few dollars more you can rent one from BikeCLE). Then we were off!

We first biked past the Q and Progressive, learning about our sports teams’ histories, and then over to Erie Street Cemetary (my first time there!) to learn about the legend of Joc-O-Sot’s angry ghost and downtown’s other “permanent residents.”

Joc-O-Sot, why would you ever want to break out of your grave and leave the Cleve?

Biking down Euclid and E 9th Street, we stopped at PlayhouseSquare, the Cathedral and the Free Stamp for this fun group shot:

Taking a break from checking into FourSquare (photo courtesy of Ohio Blogging/Poise in Parma)

From there we headed to Public Square for the War Memorial Fountain, Medical Mart, Old Stone Church, the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument and Marine Week.

Everytime I see a helicopter in an unusual setting, I have an uncontrollable urge to take a photo and exclaim “Go-go-Gadget-copter!”

Although I work downtown, even I learned a few things about the buildings and monuments I pass by everyday thanks to Anne’s tour.  I also got over my near-paralyzing fear of getting hit by a car.

Anne did an excellent job at guiding us through the streets and sidewalks. I didn’t get hit, hit anything or fall over and embarrass myself (I know – I was shocked too!)

Even though I pass by this statue everyday, it was fun to take a closer look and learn some trivia about it

We finished the tour with a trip down E 4th to end up back at The Bike Rack. Through a partnership with the City of Cleveland and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, The Bike Rack offers the region’s first full service bicycle parking and commuter center for everyone.

Clevelanders like Julie who own their own bike can take advantage of The Bike Rack’s commuter facilities (Don’t have a bike? They do rentals too!)

With the goal of making downtown Cleveland a more bike friendly environment, it provides convenient, secure bicycle parking and fulfills everyday commuting needs with individual shower/changing facilities, lockers, bicycle rentals and a full service bicycle repair shop.

Although I didn’t need a shower, it was nice to have a spot to freshen up afterwards and relax. If you have the capability to commute and bike downtown, I would highly recommend taking advantage of their facility.

Cooker Girl’s husband Kevin goofing off — we clearly needed food in our stomachs at this point. Good thing there was food back at The Bike Rack!

While our group of bloggers hung out and caught up with each other, we grabbed a post-tour bite to eat courtesy of Cleveland Bike Tours. Anne even sent us on our way with a treat to enjoy when we got home – a bag of Love Kettle Corn. Cleveland Bike Tours has just started selling these to help raise funds for Blessings in a Backpack.

Because no child should go hungry, each purchase of Love Kettle Corn will provide a child with one meal through the organization.   After tasting devouring the bag I took home, I need to order some more.

So good! And for a good cause! Each purchase of BikeCLE’s Love Kettle Corn will provide a child with one meal through Blessings in a Backpack

It was great getting in a bit of fitness and Cleveland history in one evening – plus the chance to catch up with new and old blogger friends alike:

PlayhouseSquare will host our next Blogger Meetup on 7/11, courtesy of the young professionals group PlayhouseSquare Partners

Thanks again to Cleveland Bike Tours and The Bike Rack for hosting; all of the bloggers who were there that didn’t laugh at me wobbling on my bike; and Alicia (as always!) for organizing this month’s Meetup!