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Sunday, March 22, 2009

On the trails of Madison County

Yes, that's me in the rear view mirror of Doug Kaufman's bike as we rode 37.5 miles on the trails of Madison County.

Doug's birthday was more than a month ago, but several of his good friends got together today for a ride on the trails of Madison County. Since I know the trail system very well, I got to pick today's route.

Joining us on today's ride were Roger "The Answer Man" Schlueter, Brad and Kathy Weisenstein, and their youngest daughter, Rose.

We started on the Nature Trail on the southern edge of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. I first wanted to take the gang on a 31-mile circuit on the Nature, Schoolhouse and Goshen trails, but I was quickly vetoed on that idea. It turned out the rest of the folks didn't want to ride to Granite City, despite my assurances that most of the Nature Trail was nice.

Instead, we headed up to Edwardsville to the Goshen Trail, shown at left, and I decided we were going to hop on the Heritage Trail and take that to Marine.

Things started out well, but Doug noticed my seat seemed a bit low. It was. When we got to the Heritage Trail intersection, I decided to try to fix it. I got the seat where I wanted it, but I put too much muscle into tightening the bolt. It broke.

Fortunately, we were close enough to The Cyclery bicycle shop in Edwardsville to get a new seat post attachment. It added a bit of distance to the ride, but that was OK. Soon, we were on our way to Marine.

I took a bit of ribbing for my pronunciation of Marine. It sounded a bit like "Maureen" to them. Maureen is a friend of ours who was invited to come along, but she didn't. "Maureen's in St. Louis," my friends reminded me.

The Heritage Trail between Glen Carbon and Silver Creek is a bit rough because it is an oil-and-chip trail maintained by the village of Glen Carbon. Between Silver Creek and Marine, it is an asphalt trail maintained by Madison County Transit. Despite the rough trail, everyone enjoyed the scenic trail.

We stopped for lunch at the Parkview Cafe in Marine. We got there shortly before closing time -- 2 p.m. -- but the folks there were happy to serve us!

We had a pleasant surprise on the way back. Most of the time during the spring, the wind blows from the west or the south in this part of the world. Today, the wind was coming from the east and made our ride a lot more enjoyable.

On the way back, my friends told me I had a wardrobe malfunction in my bike shorts. Fortunately, it was warm enough to take off my jacket and wrap it around my waist to hide the malfunction.

"Make sure you destroy those shorts when you get home," Doug said.

Rose was a real trooper today! By the time we returned to the Goshen Trail intersection, Rose was game. Even though she's an eighth-grader, she agreed with the rest of us that we wanted to take the Heritage Trail to downtown Glen Carbon, then ride the Nickel Plate Trail back to Edwardsville. That added about 3 miles to the ride.

It wasn't the fastest ride I've ever done, but it was one of the more enjoyable. It's always fun to ride with Brad, Doug and Roger, and having Kathy along was great. Kathy rode with her aunt on the 1985 version of the Bicycle Across the Magnificent Miles of Illinois ride that went from Chicago to Edwardsville, the first weeklong ride I ever did.

"This bike likes to go far," Kathy said while on the road. Here's hoping that Kathy's able to do a weeklong ride again sometime in the near future!

In honor of his birthday, Doug treated us to cans of guava juice at the end of the ride. Cheers!

From left, Doug Kaufman, Roger Schlueter, Roger Kramer,
Brad Weisenstein, Kathy Weisenstein and Rose Weisenstein.

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Roger 1 comments links to this post 9:23 PM

Nice account of the ride, Rog. One addendum: When we were discussing whether we should add those extra three miles, Rose said, "If all you old people can do it, I guess I can do it."
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