Cycling in Illinois, USA

Well, what a great weekend of cycling that was….

I am currently out in Illinois on some business, and decided to come out early with a colleague to do a bit of cycling.  After doing the research, I stumbled across a nice looking town called McHenry in upstate Illinois, which also had a good looking bike shop called the Bike Haven where we could rent some bikes.

Jessica, the shop owner was brilliant and sorted everything for us, including some route GPX files to go on my Garmin.

Over the weekend we rode a total of 105 miles.

Our Saturday ride took us across the Wisconsin State Line to a place called Lake Geneva.  The countryside was fairly flat and very agricultural, with fields of corn in every direction.  As it was fall, then the leaves were turning aswell, so there was plenty of colour.  Temperatures had dropped suddenly and on our way out we cycled in to a biting NW headwind, which was coming down from Canada.  Our brunch stop was at a cafe called Novak’s in a small town called Fontana on the western shores of Lake Geneva.  the warmth was much need, as was the food.  The return trip to McHenry was much more pleasant, as we had the wind on our backs and as a result made good time.

A warm shower bought some feeling back into the face, and it was then time to sample the delights of McHenry’s nightlife.  The guys in the shop recommend we ate at a place called After the Fox, which was on the banks of the Fox River.  Chris, my colleague and I eased ourselves into the evening with some recovery beers, before both deciding to go for the ultimate surf and turf – Filet Steak and Lobster for $23.99 – absolute bargain – and yes….it was amazingly good.  We both commented that if that was on the menu in the UK, then it would easily have set us back between £40-£50 and we had just paid about £15.  After a Templeton Rye nightcap it was off to bed for some rest.

Sunday started very cold with temperatures again, a little over freezing.  The route plan was for a 42 miler heading out towards a town called Woodstock.  The road to Woodstock was amazing, with colours everywhere from the wooded roads.  We reached Woodstock quickly, before then zig-zaging down towards a township called Union, which was well off the beaten track.  From there we started our return and had a quick Starbuck’s pitstop in Crystal Lake before heading back to the hotel in McHenry.

It was a great way to ease ourselves into this work trip and before heading into Chicago.

Here are the GPS files:

Saturday’s ride to Lake Geneva: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/230624556

Sunday’s ride around Woodstock & Union: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/231145120

The Straight Roads of Illinois:

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Outside Novak’s in Fontana:

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