Late last year we drove an exploratory route that took us from our home down to Palos Hills and from there one could presumably ride east to the Tinley Park Trails to reach the Old Plank Road Trail. But the hard part was planning the route to get to Palos Hills. Today Connie proved that the ride was possible but not very pleasant.
The day began with a decision to take off the hardware we had installed the evening before to hold our body sock and thicker front fairing. We would restore the original front fairing mount so she could ride sans a body sock on her trust Easy Racers Tour Easy. So after a half hour of dropping washers, bolts and plastic wing nuts we had the swap made and the journey could begin.
It was by now almost 11:00 AM so it was imperative to find someplace still serving breakfast. The decision was made to ride to the local Panera Bread Restaurant and enjoy breakfast there. I sat at one of the tables out front while Connie did the purchasing of the foodstuffs.
Some acquaintances who own recumbents and were eating inside came out and said hello. He rides a Sun EZ-3 and really loves the bike. He’s been quite active this year and is still quite delighted with the trike. His wife who is Welsh and he are flying out tomorrow morning to the UK. They are going to arrive at Heathrow some six hours after departure and spend time with her family. I wished them well.
We tucked into some panini bread sandwiches and yogurt cups all washed down with orange juice before taking off again.
Winding Our Way Southward
The route heads south along Leask Lane into Lisle. From there is winds its way into Downers Grove where like the sections in Lisle the elevations are numerous. While Glen Ellyn is pretty hilly it seems to be flatter the further you get from Lake Ellyn. The sections further south that Connie rode through are hilly just about everywhere.
There are long sections in Downers Grove that take you past homes in subdivisions that back up to Route 59. But once you turn east onto 83rd Street you enjoy a very nice bike trail that runs alongside the roadway along Woodward Avenue.
After you crest the overpass for I-55 the route takes you along the frontage roads that lead into Waterfall Glen. As we had been doing all along this route I would drive forward and alert her to turns by waiting with my flashers blinking. In the parking lot along Cass Avenue I waited until Connie arrived and let her the last few yards into the second parking lot around the corner where the washrooms were.
I waited outside while she went in. There were joggers and hikers galore out enjoying the remaining temperate days of the year. A few bikers were in evidence as well. I used the facility and then we got back on the front road across Cass Avenue to eventually reach 83rd Street on the other side of Route 83.
This road (83rd Street) is also known as German Church Road further east. We took it all the way down into the valley wherein lies the SAG Canal. We crossed the overpass that leads to Columbia Woods and then headed further south along South Willow Springs Road.
It should be pointed out that you are entering Willow Springs Woods F.P. at this juncture. But this is where the driving really gets quite hairy. The roadway is two lanes wide and the number of autos and motorcycles taking this route really surprised me. It is too narrow to really feel comfortable on a bicycle. I apologize for not having understand its dynamics beforehand.
Taking Archer Avenue over to the next subdivision and making our way along Kean Avenue southward might have been much better. Hindsight is of course 20/20. Nevertheless Connie rode the thoroughfare like a trooper and we met up at the fishing point just south of 107th Street. Whew!
After we stowed her bike my first thought was to get something to eat. So we headed south to the Orland Park Panera Bread Restaurant and enjoyed sandwiches and soup all washed down with orange juice. Afterwards we drank Starbucks coffees from the store just around the corner and then headed back towards home.
Along the way we compared notes on the route. As I said before it was hilly and that made the congested areas that much more uncomfortable to ride along. But despite her having to catch her breath once in a great while she enjoyed the ride. So I feel somewhat comforted and will try my best to find a better alternative for future use.
Distance: 31.6 miles
Time: 3h 7m 20s