We got to the ride start a half hour early but already folks were parked many rows deep on the grasses behind the check-in area. Lots of recumbent riders were out and ready to roll. We got our bikes together and walked them over to the check-in area where I waited until Connie returned with maps and t-shirts.
The waiting line for the washrooms was fairly long and it took a few minutes to get in. I was glad that the long underwear I had worn was keeping me toasty. I hate riding in cold weather when my body core is not well insulated. Today was just fine.
The first mile or so of riding is all uphill along Houboldt Road. It is a bit choppy owing to fragmented pavement in places but not bad. I would rate this an excellent ride despite it being shorter than most. The scenery is not bad and gets better as you go.
The first long stretch takes you around the rear portion of the Joliet Junior College campus. It winds for quite a while heading north. What is nice for newer riders and kids is that you have a rest stop about every four miles.
If you have family members or neighbors you would like to introduce to invitational riding, this might be the one to try. They even hand our free t-shirts and water. There is a smaller attendance and that is fine since the route path is fairly narrow.
At the third rest stop Connie went to get off her bike and noticed that her entire kickstand was missing! Yikes! It had fallen off (due to her mechanic, me, not checking it before the ride began) and was nowhere to be seen.
We doubled back checking every place I thought it might be. Suddenly a fellow passes with the kickstand in hand. The bold and the wedge piece were all in place and he gave it to Connie after noting that my bike had this same kickstand and hers did not. He suspected we were searching it out. Nice fellow!
Resuming the Ride
With our lost kickstand safely stowed in my seat bag we set out following the crowd in the right direction. Once again we thanked the officers for helping with the ride and they asked about our success in finding the missing part. I said we had indeed succeeded!
The last couple of miles before reaching the I & M Canal portion of the ride was a breeze. It’s all downhill. Whee! Once on the Canal we slowed down to keep the bikes upright on the wet gravel. Tim and Terry (two trike riders) came up behind and stayed with us for a while. Then they pulled away to hurry back to the ride start.
A mile later we entered the parkway where the ride began and after making one last pitstop loaded our bikes, but not before filling out the ride survey with a glowing report about the entire experience.
Try it out someday, you might find it as much fun as we did.