By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
“Bucket Lists” make me cringe.
After all, life makes lists every day, lists full of tasks that must be completed (make dinner, mow the lawn, gas the car, write this blog).
We’re already under pressure to get things done. Why create a new list to add more tasks?
Okay, just this once.
Although it was never on a list per se, I’ve always wanted to ride my bike along the Hennepin Canal trail.
I never got around to it until a few weeks ago.
Coming into Colona, IL on Rt. 84 from either direction, you’ll see a sign that directs you down 6th Street to a parking lot at the trailhead.
There are also restrooms at a field near the lot, which is handy if you are making the 20-30 minute drive from the metro area.
The path is well-paved as you begin in Colona, but in about a mile, you pass through a tunnel that goes under I-280 and it’s as if you have left civilization and the 21st century behind.
The road on the other side of the time tunnel is still paved, but it’s no longer smooth concrete.
It’s an old asphalt trail that appears to have been rolled out many years ago and then abandoned.
As I got further out of town, I thought the trail might get worse. But it was remarkably consistent.
It’s hard and flat and pleasant to bike on, despite the many pebbles that have been loosened from the aged roadbed.
There were short sections of packed sandy soil and gravel. But they were short, totaling less than a mile in my ride from Colona to Geneseo.
The trail is flat. It is, after all, alongside a canal in the heart of farm country.
But while you won’t get any hill work in, there are a lot of looong, straight stretches where you can really concentrate on your pedaling cadence.
One I got the reporting part of my ride out of the way, I realized how much I was enjoying myself!
I love history and it dawned on me that I was pedaling alongside a canal that was first planned in the 1830s, and finally built between 1890-1907.
I also love the idea of time travel, so my imagination took me back in time as I rode. I could really daydream, because I was the only rider on the trail! Not much civilization was evident at all.
I did see some houses once, and I did have to cross one very small road.
Mostly what I saw were lots of wild flowers, trees, greenery and some distant farm fields.
I didn’t want to turn my bike around and head home to my everyday list of chores.
Although I did, you can be sure I won’t wait years for a return visit.
|Meet Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell. Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life. Read Alan’s other blog posts.|