We arrived with the sun shining and the temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s. There was a slight breeze. It was warm enough that we shed an extra top layer and got the bikes out for departure. It takes a few minutes to put on the fairings and don shoes, gloves, moisture wicking bandana, glasses and helmet. But before long we are ready to depart.
This end of the trail has a formal washroom. It is nice in summer but quite draft in winter and fall. What it lacks is a sink. But it beats the porta-potty at the next parking lot east and that is something for which to be thankful.
A couple of riders have made it down this far and are staring at our bikes. They circle the parking lot not wanting to be too obvious but having seen this kind of thing before I smile and continue with what I am doing.
We first pass through the industrial park next door to the parking lot. There is another Sheriff’s car here as well. That is good since you worry about your vehicle sitting unguarded for so long.
The underpass ahead has graffiti everywhere. I stop and get a few pictures. Some of the older stuff has faded. But much of what I see just along the trail is quite vibrant, indicating that someone has recently added it.
Glass is all over the trail at this juncture. I worry about a flat but feel a bit better knowing that the Schwalbe Marathons on the rims are plenty tough, but still. Why does anyone have to spread glass over a pathway intended for bikes and pedestrians. Silly.
There is a short climb ahead after the Park Street parking lot. We climb slowly not wanting to rush things. It is too nice a day to hurry this. Flowering trees are ahead on each side of the trail. Bright purples, pinks and yellows. Spring is a truly glorious time of year!
We proceed at a stately pace all the way to Wolf Road. Just beyond it we run into Joe Williams (one of many recumbent riders were are due to encounter today). He’s just returning from Frankfort’s Breidert Green Commons where the Farmers Market is in full cry.
Like me he does not like the crowds. We chat a bit. He’s wearing a t-shirt from a cross country ride he’s done a few times in years past. He tells me about his experiences on it and we laugh. It seems that the fellow who started the ride was dealing with “youth at risk”. But any adults who accompanied the group got the same stern approach that worked well with his charges. I guess it worked. Neither Joe nor Kathy have taken up lives of crime. (smile)
In downtown Frankfort we spot a few more recumbents and their riders who are off the bikes just now and sitting on benches alongside the trail. The place really is busy. Connie makes another pitstop while I wait outside guarding the bikes.
I grab a few shots of passersby and even get one of Connie passing under the eastern wrought iron archway that guards the Commons. We don’t stop for snacks at the candy store but instead cross the street and take up our pursuit of more miles.
All the way to the golf course the trail is up and down riding. You can always count on the sections where flowers are planted near a crossing to be hillier and they are. Lots of pedestrians and dog walkers and bikers of every persuasion are out and enjoying the day.
Bob Butler rides past and we say hello. By the time we reach Ridgeland I am now the one in need of a pitstop. I wait while a fellow goes in before me. I enter and when I come out there is a lady who worries about my stooped appearance. She has the remedy she says. She has a company that sells back braces!
I take her card and say goodbye as she and the fellow are discussing his back issues. Up ahead I hear Kunta Kente call out my name. He rides past and then stops to add air to his trike tires. He was in the Commons when we passed earlier but was deep in conversation with another trike owner. I grab a snapshot and hear him welcome Phil Lincenberg to the group. I grab a shot of him as well.
After they both depart Connie and I discuss turning around. Do we go as far as Cicero or turn around here. I opt for the latter. When we get back to the porta-potty at Ridgeland the lady and fellow are still talking.
She has called the local bike shop to purchase some cleats for her shoes. They are Look style and have worn to the point that she can no longer safely disengage them when coming to a stop. They both leave and now Connie makes another pitstop.
We take off and head back through the golf course woods. A rider we encountered last weekend at the Easter Ride comes up behind and chats for a few minutes and then takes off. Bob Butler comes past again and I get a snapshot this time.
We make good progress all the way to the old temporary terminus in Mokena. That is now the spot where riders like to “take to the hills”. We pass the entrance to the turnoff into the area and we spot two trikes heading towards us. It turns out to be Tim and Terry and she is pulling a trailer herself with their pooch in tow! Neato!
The last few miles are pretty quick. My legs are a bit leaden by now not having many miles under me for this season. But I feel comfortable and am going to make it just fine. In fact the last two miles are mostly downhill so, no worries.
We pull into the parking lot and wonder of wonders our van is still there. And that is a good thing. I’ve never parked down here before and worried that vandals might do some mischief. But in fact more cars are parked here now than when we set out. So that gives me comfort.
Hope all of you had a wonderful Mother’s Day. Most of the moms we saw today were either on bikes, rollerblades or pushing strollers. Glad to see so many active people!
Distance: 31.2 miles
Time: 3h 30m 41s