Families. I knew we had a lot of families coming for GITy Up! from the registration list. But I didn’t really put together what that would look like.
Like the 3 year old who rode her tiny tag-along nearly the entire 25 miles to St. Charles. It was 96 degrees out.
Like the half-dozen cargo bikes and another half-dozen of trailers full of tots, pedaled by parents.
Like the 20+ GITy Uppers! splashing around in Batavia’s quarry.
Like the six pounds of Hershey’s chocolate and 8 bags of marshmallows that just disappeared Saturday night.
Like the Fox Valley Astronomical Society guys staying out at the campsite until past 11 PM just to satisfy all the little eyes that wanted a peek at Saturn.
Like the Hooks, who posted here a couple days ago: “It was our first ride more than a couple miles together as a family.”
Like Bobbie Mitchell, introducing 13 year old grandson Josh to overnight bicycle touring.
Diane Banta of the National Park Service - Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance program fired her cannon of a Canon in all the right directions to get amazing shots.
The response from GITy Uppers! has been overwhelmingly gracious and positive. It was too hot a day for me to have slacked on route signing—too many folks got turned around, and the way finding on the Illinois Prairie Path and the Fox River Trail is too poor to be a reliable backup. To feel lost in that heat with an impatient kid…aye! The big improvement to look forward to next year—AWESOME route marking.
As for next year: the original plan for GITy Up! was to move it around the state year to year, to explore all of the state’s available opportunities for overnight, trail-based bike touring. I think we’re going to capitalize on our lurch up the learning curve, though, and return to the western suburban triangle in 2013. I’m so thankful for the riders who eagerly asked me to add them to the GITy Up! 2013 planning team.
Thank you everyone for an amazing experience!
You stepped outside this morning to blue sky and a cool breeze that smelled vividly of a great trail ride or run.
My Google feed highlighted a video of Springfield’s Interurban trail this morning. YouTube, of course, served me related videos and now I’m in danger of killing the productivity of my whole morning. So I’m stopping after watching and posting 4 vids. I’ll add more as I find them.
Enjoy! And send us your recommendations for the playlist!
Central Illinois Bike Summit Reveals the Righteous Path
From the session description for my presentation at the Central Illinois Bike Summit in Normal, Ill. on May 23, 2012—
“The Triple Bottom Line adds two equally weighted considerations—environmental impact and quality of life gains—to our usual way of valuing public and private investments, financial profit.
“Your trail, unlike many other public investments such as highways and airports, can deliver a Triple Bottom Line…but you have to avoid the Seven Deadly Trail Sins that lurk along the way.
In this session, you’ll learn how to use the Triple Bottom LIne to plan, design and sell your project, and how to resist temptation and build a righteous path. PLUS…this session reveals the Secret Bottom Line to the Triple Bottom Line!”
Ooo, the anticipation! Also on the schedule: Andy Clark, director of League of American Bicyclists, on Bicycle Friendly Communities, Ed Barsotti from League of Illinois Bicyclists on Bike Planning 101, Jeff Sunderlin from YMCA USA on turning around the rise of inactivity-related chronic disease . Don’t miss it—get your registration form.
Nice picture and story yesterday in St. Louis Today about a trail group once again doing dirty, blessed work.
Federal trail grants are necessary. In Illinois, they are also inefficient—they add up to 30% to a trail project’s cost—and frustrating, sometimes adding years to completion. The International Mountain Bicycling Association groups—like GORC in the St. Louis/Edwardsville area, CIMBA around Lake Shelbyville, and CAMBr—often take a more direct route.
To make every home a trail head, Illinois has to seed and cultivate diverse models for funding and building trail. Who else out there is grabbing shovels or raising funds and getting it done in Illinois?
|—||From February-March 2012 Trail News, “IDNR trail funding—It’s broke, needs a fix.” Read the issue.|
The fittest couple at the Capitol: US Congressman Dan Lipinski and Judy Lipinski. The Congressman ran a 20:29 5K at Mike’s Hike in Homer Glen, while wife Judy took 3rd place in Over 19 - Women with 22:28.
I (Steve) had planned to run, but tweaked an achilles tendon pushing too hard on a Wednesday run (I’m a beginning barefoot runner, and still acclimating to nature’s demands). I’m glad I had the excuse: the (shod) Lipinski’s would have smoked me.
After cooling down, the Congressman asked if I had seen the new shoulder on Lemont Road in Lemont, north of Lemont Road bridge (an important—and intimidating—connector between the Centennial Trail, Waterfall Glen Trail and downtown Lemont) since our ride together in October. At that time, former Olympic cyclist John Vandevelde was with us, and John and I got to show the Congressman first hand how a paved shoulder from the bridge’s barrier-separated sidewalk to Bluff Road would help cyclists feel safer making the connections.
So Congressman Lipinski made a call to IDOT. The shoulder opened last Tuesday, less than a month after we showed the Congressman the issue. Congressman Lipinski is a trails champion as well as an enthusiast! Go on and thank him!
Mike’s Hike 5k was a Homer Glen Foundation fundraiser to 1) honor the sacrifice of PFC Michael Olivieri, who lost his life in Iraq June 6, 2011; 2) cut the ribbon on the newest completed section of the Homer Glen community trail, a segment north of 139th St. and Bell Rd; and 3) raise funds that the Foundation plans to use for donating benches and other amenities to the trail. Trails for Illinois will work with the Foundation to get the village’s trail system connected, and to get more residents out using them.
It was a great morning for honoring our veterans and for Illinois trails!
Growing up in the 70s and 80s in rural Indiana, I watched my extended family exit farming in less than a decade. It was brutal, and many Amish families bought and subdivided the hundreds and hundreds of acres into smaller family plots.
I also watched the calories from a diet that once sustained dawn-to-dusk labor pile on the health complications after the work disappeared. Weight gain and diabetes became a family tradition in just one generation. The number of knee replacements in my family would get your attention, particularly if your business was knee replacements.
Thinking about this made me wonder about the health consequences of rural living when you’re not farming. There are thousands of miles of beautiful country roads in Illinois, gravel roads among the most pleasant (even for biking, if you have the bike for it). But there are hundreds of thousands of Illinois who live along less-pleasant roads, state routes or busy county routes that are narrow and fast. And the surrounding land isn’t always free to walk upon, or even safe—I had fun watching crop dusters fly over my house as a kid, but I admit that I’d want to spray my kid off after a hide-and-seek game in an intensely farmed cornfield today, leaf cuts not being my worry (those, actually, you should treasure).
So where do you walk? Where do you bike, or get the horses out? Some place miles away, likely, which means three things: 1. more sitting while you drive, 2. less use because it’s not convenient, and 3. one more vehicle on the road to further discourage walking or biking.
Lots of press about Illinois’ inactivity epidemic (please get use to saying that instead of “obesity epidemic”—we know why people gain weight, so let’s name the cause, not the condition) focuses on, frankly, where the money to fix it is going, to the urban areas. But the map above shows why making EVERY Illinoisan’s doorstep his or her trailhead is important to quality of life in this state. And that’s our charge at Trails for Illinois.
We believe our plan for trail use counts on major trails around the state is going to reveal the health impact convenient trail access has on our population, as well as the economic impact on our communities. We’ll need volunteers to help survey trail users in 2012, and we need you to include Trails for Illinois in your year-end giving. Please join us today!
Last Friday, still dripping from a wave of support from Illinois and the rest of America to preserve trail funding, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released its draft transportation reauthorization bill that shrinks trails funding for the next two years by more than $80 million, from $1.15 billion to $833 million. And those funds are no longer set aside by mandate for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. They can be raided by the state for more roads.
This moment, right now, is why Trails for Illinois matters to your life, your community. Two reasons:
1. Less obligation for Illinois to spend federal funding on trails means more depends on relentless & statewide trails advocacy. If the Senate language survives markup—and our DC friends say it will, as Senators Boxer and Inhoefe have prevented amendments—it will set the tone for the transportation debate in the U.S. House. And if Illinois gets the flexibility to let itself off the hook from creating safe, convenient, and sustainable pathways for enjoyment and transportation, then our relationship building and advocacy in Springfield and in Illinois lawmakers’ home districts—already a critical and core activity—will directly impact whether dollars are spent on trails—or not.
2. Statewide trails advocacy is key to the federal transportation fight. Senator Boxer’s bill backtracks on promises she made to trail advocates this past summer, and it’s lowered our expectations for the Senate’s version of the transportation bill. But passage in the Senate remains, and the House gets a say; one of the things they’re saying is lawmakers want a 6-year transportation bill, not a 2-year as the Senate is likely to propose. There are a lot of wins left on the table for trails, and capturing them requires the diligence, connections and quick feet that only a statewide trails advocacy organization can provide.
We’ve been waiting for the larger battle for federal trails funding to begin, and, with Boxer’s stunning draft, suddenly find ourselves in it. While you consider your end-of-year giving, please consider that the fight for continued federal investment in trails for Illinois has suddenly begun. Trails for Illinois needs your year-end gift to fund the work ahead.
Please use our simple and safe donation page hosted by Razoo.com to pledge your support for Trails for Illinois. We’re working with our Washington, DC partners to craft a strategy in response to Boxer’s draft, and that will help shape our strategy here in Illinois. Within a week, we should have a plan of action for your involvement. Stay tuned, and thank you for reading! And remember to give!
North Shore Channel Trail. Building a trail in Illinois is like tapping beauty. It just flows out sometimes. Thanks for sending us this, Carolyn H. Share one of yours!
Like Mickey told Rocky, keep your hands up, and keep your chin down: Kentucky senator Rand Paul says that funding safe and sustainable pathways for walking, running, cycling, and other non-motorized recreation and travel opportunities is causing our highway bridges to crumble and imperiling the lives of Americans.
It’s a Rand Paul rope-a-dope…