I’m not sure of the definition of the word “hike”, or how it differs from “walk.” And in the case of a so-called urban hike, the distinction is even less. That said, even though I’ll never be a fan of cities, they are ‘outdoors’ and such a walk, especially with friends, can be fun.

Last month in Ohio I met my friends Aaron and Matty for one such hike. We traveled through the Ohio City section of Cleveland, across the Cuyahoga River from the downtown. Our first stop was the most impressive, the West Side Market. Like Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal, the West Side Market uses an old rail station building. The building is impressive now and must have been very grand when it was used by the railroad. One end of the main building has an observation walkway, and I took advantage of it for photos.

Matty is still recovering from his car accident last October, and the hike was kept to a little more than a mile to not stress him. We stopped for a few minutes at a bike shop to drool over Brooks saddles and get out of the heat. I can’t imagine ever riding a tall bike, and just looking at it made me dizzy.

As I was walking around I began to get a feeling of deja-vu. At first I thought it was because I saw hipsters riding on fixies and was reminded of Philly, but then as we returned to the West Side Market I realized I’d been here before. In 2007 I visited Cleveland and rented a bike from nearby Ohio City Bicycle Co-op, and rode on a Bike to Work day event. Our turn around point was the little park opposite the West Side Market. Back then I was still trying to change from an indoor person to an outdoor one. Standing across the street from the market, I reflected on how far I’d come. Then I came to Ohio to research in a library. Now I came to be outside.

The hike ended with a disgusting spectacle. My friends were tempted by an offering at the market, and tried head cheese. I was revolted by the mere idea of such a product, but my companions delighted in eating slices of it in front of me. Still, I was lucky. There were items even more disgusting they could have eaten.