Day Three Hundred Eight

Reflecting on Two Wheels

I took a break from walking today and went biking instead. I went back to an old favorite, the Old Plank Road Trail, with my daughter. (“With” means we rode in the car together, but she rides so much faster than I do that we agreed on a time to meet back at the car, and she took off ahead of me. I really felt like a slow rider later too when a man on a bike with a dog running beside him passed me–so, of course, I stopped to take a picture.)

Old Plank Trail RideEven with the heavy winds, I enjoyed my nine mile ride. The colors were gorgeous.

I really liked riding farther than I am able to walk on a given day. I saw several miles of the trail that I haven’t seen since last winter. I clearly remembered each separate walk: one with my youngest son was snowy, one was solitary and icy, one was with my eldest son, and on one unseasonably warm day, my husband joined our youngest and me.

Reliving walks on a bike–does it get any better?

Day Two Hundred Sixty-one

Erie Lackawanna on Wheels

After yesterday’s non-walk, I was ready for some activity today. Since my daughter and I both had an open block of time this morning, we decided to cross the state line into Indiana and bike on the Erie-Lackawanna Trail, a great example of a rail-to-trail conversion.

I’ve walked on the Erie-Lackawanna several times before this year, but I have never biked it. It was nice to be able to take in some portions that I’d missed before.

We parked at Cabela’s in Hammond, Indiana, and rode southeast under Indianapolis Boulevard and then through Hammond, Highland, Griffith, and into Schererville.

Erie Lackawanna BikeWe rode about seven miles together, making several side street and railroad crossings before a nice open stretch in Griffith and Schererville. I was actually grateful for these crossings, because they allowed me the chance to catch up to my daughter who rides considerably faster than I do.

Once we reached some open farmland, my daughter continued riding south and would ride an extra mile each way, while I turned around and headed back. When I stopped for water (without the taskmaster daughter around), a polite biker asked me on the fly if I was doing okay. It was thoughtful of the nice man to check on this old lady–this continues to be such a friendly trail!

With her off riding at a breakneck pace, I was able to take a little side route around a lake, pause for some pictures, and watch a great blue heron lope around before riding on to our appointed meeting place and heading back.

What a nice ride!

Day Two Hundred Fifty-five

Windy Ride with a Taskmaster

My daughter and I had both had some extra time today, so I asked her to accompany me on a 9.5 mile bike ride on the Red Trail loop in the Tinley Creek Trail System of the Cook County Forest Preserve.  I’ve walked different portions of this trail before (saw a coyote here twice). I’ve been wanting to ride the entire trail.

The temperatures have cooled down a bit from what we’ve had this hot week, but it was still unseasonably warm and quite windy.

It’s hard to ride against the wind, and my daughter is in much better shape than I am! I struggled to keep up, but enjoyed a nice workout (once I negotiated water stops every three miles).

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The Taskmaster (a.k.a. my daughter) wasn’t thrilled with my stopping to take pictures, so I was only able to grab a quick shot with my phone when she wasn’t looking. The yellow daisies, goldenrod, and white puffy clouds were just too beautiful not to document.

I enjoyed riding today, but plan to get back to walking tomorrow. Riding with the Taskmaster every day would be just too much for this old gal.

Day Two Hundred Forty-one

IMG_1087Off in a Flash of Hot Pink

My daughter had a request. She’s always wanted to bike the entire Old Plank Road Trail. She’d need a ride though, because she didn’t want to ride both ways. I agreed to drive her today.

I dropped her off in Park Forest, Illinois, at the eastern end of the trail, drove the twenty miles to the western end in Joliet, and headed east on foot.

I covered this entire trail (and back) in walkable pieces this winter and spring. I enjoyed going to the endpoint again today and seeing familiar sites and late summer blooms.

OPRT Ending AgainI had a little trouble timing things so that my daughter and I would finish up at the same time.  She went faster than I had calculated and caught up with me before I made it back to the car.  She rode up behind me, said a quick hello, and then rode off in a flash of hot pink. After snapping her picture, I picked up my pace and finished up yet another great walk!

Day Two Hundred Thirty-six

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Wauponsee Glacial Ride

We changed things up today, racked up the bikes, and rode instead of walked. We headed back to Symerton, Illinois, but this time rode south on the Wauponsee Glacial Trail.

The crushed limestone trail is lined with bushes, wildflowers, and trees that provided shade when we needed it. We rode through primarily farmland, some planted with soy, but most of it planted with corn. I enjoyed seeing the golden rod and a pair of kingbirds (a new bird to add to the list!).

We’re not really accustomed to biking so far and were pretty tired by the time we were done.

Such a good ride!

Wauponsee Glacial Symerton South

Day Two Hundred Thirty-three

On Biking

I’m spoiled. We’ve had so few 90° days this summer that when we do have one, like today, I don’t feel like walking.

I was, however, okay with biking, and so I biked again today both to the library to pick up a book (which ended up being five books) and later to the grocery store for toilet paper (we were down to the last roll, transferring it back and forth between bathrooms–not a good situation).

After learning my lesson with the library books (balancing five large books against my body while pedaling, steering, and braking), I opted for the four-roll pack of toilet paper, bagged and easily hooked over my handle bars.

I did make myself chuckle though as I’m pedaling home, picturing myself balancing a twelve or twenty-four pack of toilet paper on my bicycle. It’s a good thing that I can still make myself chuckle after all these years.

My bike of twenty-two years, long may she ride:

IMG_1001I’ll get back to walking tomorrow.