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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Too bad I didn't have a camera tonight

Sunday evening, I had one of my most enjoyable rides I've had in a while. If I had not worked Saturday night, I might have been tempted to make it up to Trailnet's ride in St. Jacob, Ill., which uses some of the same roads that I plotted for the Tour de Stooges.

Instead, I decided to go to church, visit Belleville's Art on the Square festival and get a adjustment to my rear derailleur. By the time I got all that done, it was in the neighborhood of 5:30 p.m. I really needed to get a ride of about 30 miles in, so I hopped on my bike and started heading toward the MetroLink Trail and points east.

I wanted to hit one of my favorite cycling roads in the area, Funk School Road, an interesting road with mild hills southeast of Belleville. So after riding the trail all the way to Southwestern Illinois College. From there, I took the wide shoulder of Illinois 161 to Radio Range Road and took that to Illinois 158-177 and headed east to Renchler Road. I've always found Illinois 158-177 to be safe because it has 3 feet of pavement to the right of the white line. That's enough for me to feel safe, although I'm sure some riders may not be as comfortable on the road as I am.

I enjoy riding in the early evening. The photographer in me gets into the lighting that time of day, plus much of the scenery is very green because of all the rain we've had in the area. The rain has kept farmers out of their fields, meaning that some of them were blooming with wildflowers. Very nice!

I love Funk School Road not just because of the small hills, but because of the curves that make it interesting. The same goes for Jefferson Road and Reinneck Road.

I was a bit concerned when the sun hid behind some clouds that had formed before sunset, but I made it back in Belleville with a little bit of daylight to spare.

This is the time of year I love riding in the St. Louis area. We're a bit cooler than normal this spring, but the temperatures usually are perfect for cycling. The wildflowers and the lush greenery are a bonus.

If you live in or the near the metro-east, I recommend this ride. Enjoy!

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Roger 1 comments links to this post 11:51 PM

looks/sounds like a great ride...thanks for sharing...
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