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A New York man who is cycling to all 50 U.S. state capitals in one year as part of a unique, all-American cross-country journey has revealed his favorite city so far — and why he’s considering starting a new life there when his trip is finished.
Bob Barnes, 52, of Syracuse, New York, told Fox News Digital that once he completes his cross-country journey, he plans to return to Cincinnati, Ohio. And if he can get a job there — well, he’d even consider moving there.
Barnes pedaled through Cincinnati, the so-called “Queen of the West,” on April 15, after he visited Columbus, the 35th capital he’s arrived at by bike thus far.
Barnes said that when he arrived in the state of Ohio, he found himself “in his comfort zone.”
“I’ve been to the Midwest [before] and it just had a nice feel,” Barnes told Fox News Digital. “Going through all the Southern states was a little bit more intense than I thought — and I didn’t realize that until I got to Ohio.”
Barnes enjoyed riding through the Buckeye State’s rail trails, which are pathways built over abandoned railroads used for walking or bicycling.
“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 don’t have any worries,” Barnes added. Instead, “you can … purely enjoy the ride and talk to people. You don’t have to worry about traffic at all.”
Barnes even stopped to have lunch with members of the Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails.
The group manages a portion of the Ohio to Erie Trail, the rail trail Barnes rode after Columbus.
Barnes met with the men at a diner in London, Ohio. There, Barnes ordered the meatloaf special — and his companions treated him to the meal.
“It just turned out to be a great time and I didn’t want to leave,” Barnes said.
“Those guys were amazing. They were so passionate about their trail and their town, and it was cool.”
“Then they gave me a heads-up on what to expect down the trail,” 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 roll into town and everybody’s on a bike and everything is bike-oriented,” Barnes said.
Barnes said he also enjoyed going through another small town called Lancaster, Ohio.
“Lancaster was the small-town-America feel,” Barnes said. “That was really nice. It was very manicured … It had that feel to it.”
“I could live in Ohio.”
Overall, Barnes said his interactions in Ohio were “great.”
“The whole state is just over-the-top friendly,” Barnes said.
“It’s just very friendly and it’s fun. I’ve been having a ball.”
Second-favorite state so far — favorite city
Barnes said that after Mississippi, Ohio is his second-favorite state in America so far.
Ohio is home to Barnes’ now-favorite city: Cincinnati.
“I could live in Ohio,” Barnes said. “I could live in Cincinnati, as a matter of fact.”
“I do plan on coming back here,” Barnes added.
“And right now, if I had a job opportunity in Cincinnati, I’d 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 urban enough for me and you can just get around,” Barnes said.
Along with beautiful parks near the Ohio River, the city has great access to the Paul Brown Stadium where the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals play — as well as to the Great American Ball Park, where MLB’s Cincinnati Reds play.
‘Big fan of law enforcement’
Although Barnes found Ohio generally very bicycle–friendly, he said there was one area of highway that was less than accommodating to his trip.
Barnes planned to be on that stretch of highway for quite some time — and during the first half, it was legal to ride his bicycle on the road.
Once he got to the second half of the stretch, though, Barnes said the road became busier and he encountered more off-ramps than earlier.
Bicycles were no longer allowed on the highway at that point.
Yet Barnes said all the signs were on the on-ramps and not on the actual highway — 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 off [the highway].”
“I’m a big fan of law enforcement. They help me everywhere I go.”
Despite the detour, Barnes said he didn’t lose much time.
“It just added a little bit of a nuisance,” he said.
When Barnes reached Cincinnati days later, he had another great interaction with a police officer.
Barnes said that as he was passing through an area that was 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 go on his way.
“I’m a big fan of law enforcement,” Barnes said. “They help me everywhere I go.”
Barnes is now headed to his 36th capital of Frankfort, Kentucky.
While he was still in Ohio, Barnes told Fox News Digital he was looking forward to pedaling through the rest of the Midwest.
“Out of all the capitals left [on his biking journey across America], I’ve not pedaled through four of them,” Barnes said, referencing the fact that he had taken a trip out west four years ago; during that earlier trip, he visited a lot of the capitals and states that he’s heading to now.
Of the four capitals he mentioned, two of them — South Dakota and Iowa — are in the lower 48, while the others are Alaska and Hawaii.
“That’s something in my favor going forward,” he added.
As far as Alaska and Hawaii go: Barnes explained earlier that he plans to bike to Juneau, Alaska, after taking a ferry from Canada. And he’ll bike to Honolulu, Hawaii, after flying with his bike to the island, he told Fox Television Stations previously.
Fox News Digital has been following Barnes’ journey across America and detailing it for readers in this unique Lifestyle series. To catch up on — or to enjoy once more! — his previous three trips before the one described here, read more below: