If you live in Ohio, you may have heard of the Triple Nickel, or OH 555. Considered by many to be one of the more challenging roads in Ohio, the triple nickel rewards courage and a strong upper body.
Always up for a good challenge, especially if that challenge supposedly exists in Ohio, I hopped on the bike and rode north to see what all the hubbub was about.
Our triple nickel adventure starts in Zanesville, OH located about fifty miles east of Columbus on Interstate 70. If you plan to run OH 555 north to south like myself, spend a little extra time on directions in Zanesville. Street names were missing/different than the map, and my GPS got confused more than a couple of times trying to find the start of OH 555. Zanesville is not a big city though, so within 15 minutes I had stumbled my way to OH 555.
After clearing Zanesville, I came over the top of a crest and a traffic light appeared followed by a short straight, a big sweeper, and a sign for OH 555 - the ride was on. Within about two minutes, I came to a very sharp ninety degree left turn that led over a small bridge and then another very sharp left - I'm already starting to understand how the Triple Nickel got its reputation.
Many say this road is just as challenging as the Dragon. Within about fifteen minutes I was finding myself in agreement with that comparison, but the Dragon is a completely different type of challenge than the Triple Nickel.
What do I mean by a 'different' type of challenge? Where the Dragon is a series of smooth, cambered twists and turns that leave you smiling at any speed the Triple Nickel is full of very tight off-camber turns and rises that you can't see over until you are on top of them. The Dragon throws curves at you expectedly, allowing you to get in a rhythm - the Triple Nickel likes to turn quickly and with no warning, keeping you on your toes. Don't get me wrong, you'll be smiling at the end, but you'll also have a couple of beads of sweat on your forehead.
Most of the ride is through beautiful farmland with a couple of spots of rural areas thrown in (primarily around the northern part of the road).
About twenty miles into the run, I crested a left hand curve running over the top of the rise and spotted a thick patch of gravel right in the middle of the road. A quick 'pucker' moment, a slight adjustment to the handlebars, and I motored on by missing the patch of gravel completely.
Why did I bring up a single patch of gravel? Because it wasn't a single patch of gravel, I found a significant amount of gravel through almost every turn the rest of the route.
Beware, there is a lot of gravel on this road, ride to expect it in each turn and you'll be fine and still have a great time. The picture above is pretty much what you can expect in most turns.
Outside of the gravel, the road is in great condition. Most of the southern part of the road is blessed by some gorgeous new black pavement.
As far as amenities are concerned, don't expect to be rolling up to a lot of gas stations along the way.
The road runs through a few very small towns, and by small I mean a population that is counted in people plus their pets. Overall, I passed one small gas station - and it looked to be the type that closed on weekends and after five. So don't be counting on a lot of opportunities to fuel up.
With gravel, no line of sight turns and rises, this road begs you to ride it slowly and take in the beautiful scenery... and I did, and still had a blast at a slow speed. Cruising through the green farmland, listening to the rumble of the Harley's engine, and trying to find that perfect pace where the bike runs through the turns without leaving too much of my floorboards behind.
If you do plan on a little bit more spirited ride, you won't be disappointed in the Triple Nickel. I'll be heading up on a more sporty steed shortly. I'd just recommend you do a gravel check before you work up any type of speed.
Okay, so put this all together - a challenging road, some good scenery, good roads, and light traffic. The triple nickel has the makings of a great ride weather you're looking into a more spirited ride or something to just cruise and put a smile on your face along the way.
As I headed home after 'conquering' OH 555 I thought to myself, this is definitely a road I'll be back for.
Things to Consider
Gravel. I talked about it above, and I'd feel remiss if I didn't talk about it here again. I ran into a lot of it through the curves on this road. Make a note and be prepared.
The pavement was in great condition the full 65 miles of this route. The southern 30 miles or so were outstanding, having just received a new black coating of asphalt.
The road is great running either north or southbound. If you are running it northbound, I would turn around about 15 miles south of Zanesville and do the road again. The northern 15 miles are fun, just not as much fun or scenic as the lower 50.
The southern part of the road ends on Highway 50 (the Ohio River Scenic Byway) and will lead you though some great river towns. Connect this with the Triple Nickel for a great combination of cruising and sweating.
You don't really conquer this road, you yield to it. In fact, with its blind turns/rises, and gravel if you're not careful, this road will conquer you. A more challenging road would be tough to find in Ohio. Are you brave enough? I know I'll be back.
Nearby Things To See
Head north from Decaturville on CR6 from OH555 to see this great covered bridge built in 1878. 0.3 miles to the bridge on the E. side of the road. N39 20.56 W81 45.24
Big Muskie. 'Big Muskie' was once the World's Largest Earth Moving Machine. What remains today is a very large metal bucket. The bucket sits on a rise, overlooking the beautiful valley that it once mined and destroyed, which has been renamed 'Re-Creation Land.'
To see it, head north on 78 to Reinersville, OH.
This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Ohio. This motorcycle route has 4 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by OpenRoadRider in July. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by OpenRoadRider
Just did 555 today and the just north of Pottersville the road is ripped apart with tons of lose gravel everywhere! The rest of 555 is amazing like it a ways is! If you have a couple hours to take a great ride you won't go wrong doing 555!
Tue Mar 24, 2015 at 3:29 PM
My Husband and I rode this over the weekend!! What a blast. Thank God I let him lead because there was some tricky spots. As oldDenny says we were beat by the time we made it to our Hotel Room. Was glad I read the reviews because it made us aware of the gravel. Will do it again.
Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Fabulous route through OH farmlands. Lots of rolling hills but take it easy over the blind ones - you are apt to encounter the wrong end of a manure spreader. There will also be some 90's on the other side of some of them.
Mon May 6, 2013 at 7:31 PM
Drove it over 10 times.
If you fuck up you will die
Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 7:41 PM
The first five miles is no big deal but then hold on the road goes straight up then straight down in to a sharp turn and it never seems to stop the only thing to watch for is rocks on the road, they cut the ditch and blow it onto the road. The ride back along the river is fun and the scenery is not bad. By the time I got back to my room I was tired and beet. It’s about 90 miles of HOLEY COW!
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM
I recently (July '07) received an email from another rider that said the gravel has gotten worse along this road. Beware if you're going to ride it!
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM
What a great Ride!! If going south on the triple nickle it starts a little on the curvey side. But bye the time u get about 13 miles out of town u relize this isnt going to be an easy no pay atention ride. After hitting a few 25 mph turns u think that u have it down, suddenly it throughs u another 20 mph corner that isnt marked and your not ready for. But what a Ride!! Will do this one again. As for the rocks on the road. They didnt seem to be many at all when I was on it. If You get a chance take the time to enjoy this one!
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM