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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Get your kicks on Route 66

For those of you who are into all things Route 66 -- or just want to get a few miles in on your bicycle -- there are bicycle rides the next two weekends on the Mother Road.

On Saturday, June 14, Trailnet's Bicycle Fun Club will be putting on the Route 66 Bicycle Ride & Festival at Cassens Transport Co., 145 N. Kansas St. in Edwardsville, Ill. The event includes routes of 11, 25, 37 or -- what else -- 66 miles. You can register and start the ride any time between 8:30 and 10 a.m. The cost of the ride is $8 for members, $12 for non-members and $3 for children.

After the ride, cyclists can take part in Edwardsville's Route 66 Fesitval. Families can expect plenty of food and beverage choices, live entertainment and music, history displays, local artists and a children’s activity area, along with many other events and activities.

On Saturday, June 21, the Gateway Council of Hostelling International-USA will put on its first-ever Get Your Kicks on Route 66 Bike Ride & Car Cruise. The ride begins at Route 66 State Park near Eureka, Mo. Routes of 9, 25, 34 and 41 miles are available. The cost of the ride is $15 for HI-USA members, $20 for non-members, and $10 for children. You can register and start any time between 8:30 and 11 a.m.

Route 66 State Park is on the site of the former dioxin-contaminated community of Times Beach, Mo. Today, the nearly 419-acre park treats visitors to nature and historical displays showcasing Route 66. Bridgehead Inn, a 1935 roadhouse, serves as Route 66 State Park's visitor center. It houses Route 66 memorabilia and interprets the environmental success story of the former resort community of Times Beach, which once thrived on the location of the park.

The routes also stretch through the communities of Eureka, Allenton, Pacific and Gray Summit. The long route also takes cyclists to the scenic Shaw Arboretum.

Even though the routes only are about 50 miles apart, you get two cdifferent views of the Midwest. The Trailnet ride gives you the rural version similar to what you see through all of Central Illinois, while the Hostelling International ride takes you on the edge of the Ozark Mountain range.

So, get your kicks on Route 66 -- on a bicycle!

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