DuPage County Forest Preserve Has A ‘Gem Of A Ride’

Background Reading

Summary

Cycle Tracks Worth Having

Cycle Tracks Worth Having

One thing the Dutch use that really seems inviting is the Bicycle Super Highway. I think they also refer to them as Cycle Tracks. I like the ones that ride through wooded areas without cars.

DuPage Country has something quite similar now. I have ridden portions of the route we took today in the past but now that they have managed to get the connections done it is really a gem.

What Makes A Good Cycle Track?

First and foremost you really need a useful destination to make this a good thing. In DuPage County you can now ride from Villa Park Historical Museum to Bartlett, IL and back without much effort at avoiding car traffic.

Lambs

Lambs

If you want to stop and visit the Kline Creek Farm to see the baby lambs you can do that. In fact we did just that last weekend and really found it delightful. Kline Creek Farm lies along a leg of the Illinois Prairie Path (IPP) which intersects with the Great Western Trail.

The IPP can take you to downtown Aurora or Elgin with very little difficulty. The Great Western runs between Villa Park and Sycamore. So on just these two paths you can cover quite a bit of DuPage County and enter DeKalb County to the far west.

Transitions Are Key

The next ingredient in a good Cycle Track is smooth transitions. The route we rode today really does not require dealing with automobile traffic very often. There are the occasional intersections as you pass through DuPage County but there good traffic signals and switches that you can push to let the system know you are ready to cross.

But even more interesting is when a good trail or path gets you from one main street to another as you progress north/south or east/west. A really great one is where you actually pass under North Avenue between the Great Western Trail and the Kuhn Trail as you ride through a park. There are swing sets and jungle gyms galore. So if you were riding with children in a bakfiets you could stop and let them stretch their legs and even grab a bite to eat and use the bathroom.

Getting young children around on their own bikes is for me a litmus test of the usefulness of any Cycle Track. The stretch along Kuhn Road and then Lies Road is delightful. Each of these trails is pretty much devoid of stop signs. They make this possible by not allowing crossing streets very often. Actually what would be crossing streets actually “T” into them. So you simply keep riding and as long as you stay in the Zebra Crosswalks you are fine.

The Lies Road trail even stops at the local water park. In fact these stretches are so very useful that you see all sorts of folks out walking their dogs, rollerblading, jogging, and bicycling. And young kids are perfectly safe along them. When you finally hit the stretch along Bartlett Road you have access to another rather spacious park and a public library. Sweet!

Finally when you reach downtown Bartlett you can take side streets to reach the railroad tracks or ride along nicely groomed sidewalks constructed of paving stones. And all along the way are shops and places to grab a bite to eat or sit inside and enjoy  some air-conditioned comfort.

Cycle Tracks Need To Integrate Well With Automobiles

Virtually each of the parks through which you ride has parking for cars. This makes it quite easy to allow your family to begin their journey at a point which is realistic for their fitness level and ages. In fact the Bark Park allows you not only to park the family van but also to let Fido stretch his legs with his fellow canines. And just about every where we looked there were bathrooms and water fountains galore.

One of the secrets to keeping things going when you are with a family is to know that libraries, and fire stations are great places to always find bathrooms. And because they are serviced by municipal groups if you have an accident or health issue you can duck inside and ask for 911 assistance. And of course a good fire station already has EMTs at the ready.

Try Out This Route And Let Me Know What You Think

I would really like to hear from folks who have tried out these trails and paths and attempted to do the 40 miles from Villa Park to Bartlett. My bike club did this ride last week and really liked it! Now I see why.