Visiting with the Folks On Spokes
The Folks On Spokes crew has found a wonderful new ride start for their annual Easter Ride. In fact for their 30th Annual Easter Ride they moved to the Forest Park Village Hall. The parking lot was nearly full by the time we arrived and people seemed genuinely happy to have a new venue. In fact the ride begins in a lovely neighborhood and that always helps when you are bringing kids along. It helps them feel more at ease that a busy highway intersection.
As we turned into the parking lot a group of about 10 riders at least three of them adults were taking off down the street. What was notable was that they were African-Americans (something of a rarity outside of the Bike The Drive Ride, in my experience). So from my perspective this being a hometown ride folks from the area will perhaps be encouraged to participate.
The SAG Captain and I talked at length about the ride. He’s a long time volunteer and asked if I would be comfortable giving him a call should I encounter a stranded rider on the course. I agreed to do so. And in fact a bit later on as we set out we encountered a family of four where the older daughter’s bike needed some brake adjustment but they were without tools. We leant them ours and before long they were on their way.
We were able to stop and chat at two rest stops. There was one along Ridgeland Avenue on the Old Plank Road Trail itself. And then we stopped at the Monee Reservoir rest stop afterwards to see the bulk of the riders from all of the routes as they pulled in.
I should mention that Joe Williams greeted us at the ride start (sorry I forgot to get a picture of him) and later Tim and Terry two ardent trikers (a married couple) were seen pulling into the Monee Reservoir rest stop.
Next up we headed north to LL Bean
If the busy state of retail stores is any reflection of the state of the economy then there is evidence that things are picking up. Bean was bustling with customers. Connie went into to take a look at some new clothing and to make a return.
I waited outside and marveled at all the foot traffic.
Poplar Creek Forest Preserve Bike Trail
Despite the lateness of the day we decided to tackle the Poplar Creek Bicycle Trail. It’s a merely 9 miles but they are quality miles. The route is steep in parts and you find yourself climbing what seems like a quarter or half mile before things level out. (See trail map in PDF version)
I told Connie that I noticed that the regulars all appeared to be doing this trail in a clockwise direction. But we’ve always done it in a counter-clockwise fashion and today was no exception. There are a couple of notable downhill runs as you progress around the circuit.
The wind was hellacious! You could see why the riders at the Easter Ride down south of us were gritting their teeth and try to concentrate on generating forward momentum. Despite the fact that parts of this trail are shielded by trees and low-lying vegetation there were plenty of “out in the open” opportunities for Mother Nature to push up backward and she was not shy about doing so.
Towards the end of the ride I stopped for three photos but otherwise we tried to keep a steady speed around the circuit to make it back before the cold seeped through my wet clothing.
We’ll have to come back later in the season to give this circuit a couple of loops rather than one.
We have not washed bikes since last fall. Our Taiwanese Tour Easys are being to need some TLC. In the meantime we’ll be getting our legs in better shape now that Spring appears to have put together two back-to-back days of relative sunshine.
Take care and keep the shiny side up!
Distance: 9 Miles
Time: 1h 5m 28s