Fox River Memorial Day Toodle 2011

Preparing to Leave

Schaumburg Bike E Rider

We arrived at the Fox River Island location of the Batavia Police Station in the early afternoon. By now the sun was pretty warm and while not oppressively hot you could tell it was going to be more challenging than yesterday’s ride along Lake Shore Drive.

A nicely restore Classic 1941 Chevrolet was parked a few feet away from our van. I made plans to get a snapshot but as we were unpacking the bikes the owner and his family came up and starting to depart. I begged him for a shot with him standing by the vehicle and he obliged. I said thanks and meant it. That sort of restoration is timely and as you grow older you appreciate the efforts made by folks who care.

I went back to get back on the bike when a gentleman rode over on a nicely accessorized Bike E which he had owned coming up on three weeks now. He was (like most recumbent owners) eager to discuss his newfound love for the bikes and wanted to share that feeling with someone he thought might appreciate his sentiments. And of course we did.

A few years ago we owned the hard tail versions of this bike. His was a fully suspended model. He asked about our Easy Racers Ti-Rush bikes and we gave him the skinny on the company and its products. Who knows he may one day buy another bike and it may be from Denton Coetzee‘s Easy Racers company.

The Bike E owner was headed off in search of some luncheon and a bathroom so we bade him adieu and headed north along the west side of the Fox River towards the Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden.

Just outside the main gates we stopped and grabbed some shots of their hauntingly beautiful Japanese Gardens gateway. The irises and other flowers and plants were in full bloom. My father like his father was an avid gardener. They both raised and loved irises. I have loved them myself ever since. In fact my good friend in college invited me to his home and lo and behold his father too was a famed breeder of the plants. My father and he spent an hour or so picking one another’s brains over them. How all of this brings back memories.

Crossing To The East Bank of the Fox River

We crossed to the windmill side of the river and continued our ride. I spotted a gentleman of Hispanic descent approaching on a delta style trike and nodded hello.

By the time we reached Geneva’s Island Park it was now a rather busy trail. The park itself was bustling with families grilling out-of-doors while their children scrambled up and down the jungle gym. Dogs were tethered to their owners and yipping at one another. It was a delightful sight all around.

At the washrooms ahead we stopped for a brief moment to capture an image of a giant Turkish hound that is used in South Africa to guard sheep. It is known as the Kangal Dog. It had to be one of the largest dogs I’d ever laid eyes on.

Moving on we reached the underpass beneath Roosevelt Road. It was flooded and folks were taking turns riding through the muck and water to reach the dry ground on the other end of the tunnel. We waited a moment and then crossed ourselves.

St. Charles Sculpture Garden

The Sculpture In The Park area has been recently renovated. The entire trail that one rides to circumnavigate the place is now paved. And the area just along the river is paved using special bricking. Very nice.

We rode slowly around the outer edge of the park and enjoyed the sculptures new and old. We found a relatively new one with a theme that will appeal to bicyclists. It is three leather saddles mounted on old Schwinn forks with cork eyes that look like futuristic robots. Quite amusing!

We left the park and rode back over the bridge and heading north again stayed on the street this time to make riding a bit easier. It was at North Avenue that we stopped next door to the newly converted Arcade Theatre that now serves as a venue for live performances to grab iced coffees from Starbucks.

Turning Back

It did not take long to devour the coffee and a banana and bagel that we had brought along for the occasion. The table at which we sat was in deep shade and that made it quite appealing. But it was time to get going again and so we donned helmets, gloves and rode southward to Bennett Park before joining the trail once again.

Then it was back under the overpass and once again approaching the Windmill Park. But there was a near collision as a bicyclist came racing around a blind curve while trying to pass another cyclist and crossed the narrow wooden bridge with inches to spare (before possibly slamming into me) doing what had to be 20 MPH. His eyes went wide as he realized how little space and time he had but no accident occurred!

We continued along the east side of the river back into Batavia and crossed the pedestrian bridge just above our favorite area restaurant El Taco Grande. We packed up the bikes and decided to simply grab a couple of fruit blender drinks from the Jamba Juice in Naperville (near the Centera theatre complex) before heading home.

Distance: 11.5 miles
Time: 1h 22m 48s