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Another Two Wheel Option


eddd

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I'm guessing most of the attendees are not aware that this year's Un is close to some of the country's best bicycle trails. Early on Wisconsin had the foresight to recognize the potential of numerous abandon railroad right of ways. The old ROW were acquired and became a series of rails to trails bicycle/hiking/snowmobiling routes. The earliest one of these in the US is the Elroy-Sparta Trail which includes three tunnels, one of which is three-fourths of a mile long.

 

Here is some information on the trail:

 

General Information

 

Map

 

Elevation Details

 

The grades that were required for the steam locomotives were very slight making the riding quite easy. The plan would be to ride our motorcycles to Sparta where bicycles can be rented for about $20 for the day. Sparta only 33 miles from Un headquarters. I spent over 30 years in this area and so we can make the ride over or back as long or short as we want. Starting from Sparta it is only 8 miles to the first tunnel, which is called tunnel 3, the long one. The ride into Norwalk is only 3 miles further where people can dine, snack, or wander around an old farm town. If people want to continue tunnel 2 is 4 miles further with Wilton another 2 miles. The trails themselves are beautiful, but the tunnels are really special. Plan on riding your own ride...go as far as you'd like then turn around and ride back to Sparta.

 

There is no set plan at this time, but I figure Tuesday or Wednesday would be good. Of course now that you have the basic information you are free to make your own plans.

 

Speeds Bike Shop is a good place to rent the bikes. I check with them yesterday and it looks like they would have no trouble outfitting anyone who'd like to try this unique side trip.

Link

 

Let me know now or at the Un if you'd be interested in a carbon-neutral two wheel adventure.

 

If you are not interested in bicycling but like an easy hike, the trail and tunnels are easily accessible. Just check the map for details or check with me for suggestions.

 

BTW, plan on bring a flashlight for safety and to really enjoy the trip through the tunnels. There are no lights in the tunnels.

 

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I think Nicol and I will be IN for this one. We like this kind of stuff and I'll need to burn off some calories by Tuesday or Wednesday. :grin:

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Those tunnels are terrific. The temperatures are cool and, as a result, very refreshing. I thought I would ride through the tunnel, with the use of my mounted headlight, but it was too dark inside. As I began walking through I lost my sense of balance, resorting to shining the light left and right in order to maintain perspective. And then there were the gentle Holsteins who greet you from behind fences as you exit/enter one of the tunnels. Can't recommend that trail enough, for even more reasons.

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Rode this trail both ways when I was in high school. As eddd noted, the grades and curves are very mild. The surface is crushed limestone; while not as glassy smooth as pavement, it's not bad.

 

The tunnels are long enough to provide you with zero light when you're near the middle. Unless you have a really good headlight, you should plan on walking your bike through the tunnels.

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Rode this trail both ways when I was in high school...

 

Were the steam locomotives still running back then? :lurk:

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  • 2 weeks later...
Let me know now or at the Un if you'd be interested in a carbon-neutral two wheel adventure.

 

Definitely interested. If Bud thinks he can bicycle the 32 miles than I think I can too! :grin:

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Let me know now or at the Un if you'd be interested in a carbon-neutral two wheel adventure.

 

Definitely interested. If Bud thinks he can bicycle the 32 miles than I think I can too! :grin:

 

Hey, ride your own ride. I never said I could do 32 miles. :dopeslap:

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