Kick-start your outdoor fall fun with a trio of guided group bike rides.
The free, all-ages “Pedal the Prairie” biking series will be held from 8 a.m.-noon on September 5, 19 and 26. Head out with a guide on these Saturday rides and then wend your way back on your own, soaking in the sights and sounds of nature.
Here are the three rides:
September 5: The first ride will begin at Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve in New Lenox. The 7.28-mile outing features the 2,000-acre preserve’s paved loop trail from Hickory Creek Barrens to LaPorte Road Access and south to Old Plank Road Trail. This ride will provide a warmup for the two longer rides later in September.
September 19: This 22-mile round-trip ride will start at Lower Rock Run – I&M Canal Access in Joliet. Participants will head out on the I&M Canal Trail west to the Dresden Dam and back on the multi-surface trail.
September 26: The final ride is more than 28 miles round trip starting at Sugar Creek Preserve on the crushed-limestone Wauponsee Glacial Trail and heading south to and through the U.S. Forest Service's Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
Registration is required for each ride; call 815.727.8700, or register online on the Event Calendar.
On each ride, a Forest Preserve District partner will make a presentation about the area being toured. Partners include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
The series is designed to provide participants with a fun way to get some exercise while enjoying beautiful preserve scenery.
“This is the second year of the program,” said Ben Hecke, the Forest Preserve’s community partnerships and outreach coordinator. “We’re excited to bring it back and we waited until September to give the weather a chance to cool down for folks.”
Last year’s rides started with a long distance, but this year the first ride will be shorter and each ride will build up in distance and difficulty, he explained.
“Each ride is unique with fun and different aspects of Forest Preserve trails highlighted,” Hecke added. "The rides are a great way to get some recreation and information along the beautiful trails of Will County.”
Riders of all abilities are welcome on the bike tours, which are designed as social rides as opposed to aggressive speed rides, Hecke stressed.
So sign up to enjoy a bike cruise and conversations with friends and District staff as well as the presenters, who will be providing destination information.
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