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Illinois Offers Hundreds of
Miles of Bicycle Trails

May 17, 2005

Springfield - May 20th National Bicycle to Work Day, designated by the League of American Cyclists. Illinois provides a wide variety of opportunities for cycling, from special lanes on some city streets, to miles of paved trails. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is encouraging commuters to leave the car in the garage and ride to work on two wheels.

“Two factors make this an ideal time to bicycle to work: the temperatures are rising, and so is the cost of gas,” said Joel Brunsvold, Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “It’s much cheaper and healthier to bicycle than it is to drive.”

Bicyclists are reminded to obey all traffic laws, including riding with the flow of traffic, and obeying all traffic signs and signals. When riding after dark, bicycles must be equipped with a front light that reaches 500 feet, and a red rear reflector. Wearing light-colored, reflective clothing increases a bicyclist’s visibility, day and night.

Cyclists are also encouraged to plan their ride to work in advance, to factor in special traffic considerations. Before leaving home, make sure the bike is in proper working order, including tires inflated. Cyclists may want to carry along a small tool kit and cell phone to use in case of emergency. It is also recommended that the bicyclists make plans for bicycle storage during the workday.

For more information on bicycling in Illinois, visit www.dnr.state.il.us and click on the “outdoor recreation” icon. To obtain an Illinois bike trail map highlighting hundreds of miles of Illinois bicycle trails, please send an email request to clearing@dnrmail.state.il.us.

Interviews are available on cycling in Illinois with at IDNR with Marla Gursh, 217/782-3715.

Popular Illinois Bicycle Trails

Illinois Prairie Path - One of the first rail-trails in the country, the 62-mile Illinois Prairie Path is a pitchfork-shaped trail in the heart of the Chicago suburbs. This hiking, bicycling, equestrian and nature trail in DuPage and Kane counties stretches from Elmhurst to Wheaton, where it splits into four spurs that lead to the Fox River in Elgin, Batavia, Aurora and Geneva.

Rock Island Trail - This 27-mile greenway on the former right-of-way of the Rock Island Railroad in Peoria and Stark counties is the first state-owned trail. The hiking, biking and cross-country ski trail set in the scenic central Illinois rural landscape extends from Alta, near Peoria, to Toulon, in Stark County and passes through the communities of Dunlap, Princeville, and Wyoming.

Moraine Hills Bike Trail - Eleven miles of trails meander through beautiful Moraine Hills State Park near McHenry. Exceptional scenic and wildlife viewing opportunities abound. Come see the remarkable work the great glaciers left behind.

Tunnel Hill State Trail - is located in southern Illinois, between the communities of Harrisburg in Saline County and Karnak in Pulaski County. The trail provides hiking and biking through farmland, hills/bluffs, and bottomland areas. One may travel through the Cache River Natural Area and Shawnee National Forest on the trail.

Vadalabene Bike Trail - Tour some of the most breathtaking scenery in the nation along this 14.5-mile trail from Alton to Grafton. Nine miles of the trip is along the Great River Road and an extension to beautiful Pere Marquette State Park is being developed. Travel along the Mississippi River, view the towering bluffs, and see bald eagles take wing. Don't forget to stop in historic Elsah.

Great Western Trail - This 18-mile trail between St. Charles and Sycamore in Kane and DeKalb counties stands on the former site of the Chicago and North Western Railroad line. Enjoy the striking rural landscape, including the wetlands you will pass.

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail - Forty miles of trail await you at the historic I & M Canal. It begins at Channahon, southwest of Joliet to Gebhard Woods State Park and continues from Marseilles to LaSalle. The canal once was part of an important transportation network linking Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico.

Chicago Lake Front - This spectacular 20-mile shoreline bike path takes you through some of the best views Chicago has to offer. Visit Lincoln Park Zoo, the Shedd Aquarium, Oak Street Beach, Grant Park, the Museum of Science and Industry or any number of other outstanding places the city has to offer.

Fox River Bike Trail - Thirty-five miles of trail wind through the Fox River Valley from Aurora to Algonquin. You'll bike through forest and nature preserves and some lovely communities to which you'll long to return.


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