electrical bike Watch now: Get your ‘kicks’ with bike journey to Towanda | Native Information
TOWANDA — Route 66 could have formally ceased to exist as a freeway in 1985, however individuals are still getting their kicks along the “Mother Road” corridor — usually by bicycle.
Parts of the deliberate U.S. Bicycle Route 66 have been developed by means of McLean County. It is a good possibility for individuals who need the agricultural biking expertise with out using the identical highway as motorized visitors.
Considered one of my favourite rides is what I name Towanda-to-Towanda-to-Towanda, a roundtrip journey from Towanda Avenue and Shelbourne Drive in Normal to the village of Towanda and again, a visit of about 12 miles, relying on how far by means of Towanda you pedal.
It’s stress-free, informative and enjoyable.
Whereas some communities are relative newcomers to embracing outdated Route 66 as a vacationer attraction or a part of their historical past, Towanda stepped up in the late 1990s.
That is when a Regular Group Excessive College instructor, Fred Stroll, obtained his college students concerned in changing an deserted portion of the outdated route as a strolling and biking path.
When he first took his college students to the location “and defined my imaginative and prescient,” Stroll mentioned they had been skeptical.
As soon as they began sketching plans on paper, it grew to become extra actual. Along with studying about Route 66’s historical past and geography, college students discovered to “grow to be energetic of their group,” mentioned Stroll.
College students did analysis. They launched a profitable marketing campaign to avoid wasting the Cash Creek bridge, stopping a spot within the path’s path. They designed and created giant murals for every of the eight states alongside the Illinois-to-California route.
He mentioned college students have a tremendous quantity of expertise “whenever you present them avenues to faucet into it.”
The undertaking additionally enabled them to “depart a legacy of their very own,” he mentioned. “I meet a few of my college students out right here with their kids.”
There are Burma-Shave indicators, recreating the outdated promoting technique; gardens, greater than 130 bushes, benches and knowledge indicators.
“We have now visitors here from all over the world, particularly western Europe,” mentioned Stroll.
A big, suitable-for-selfies Route 66 signal on the intersection of Historic Route 66 and Jefferson Avenue was a fundraising undertaking of third-graders.
A map of the US, which Stroll mentioned will be the just one on pavement that was once a part of Route 66, has the route painted on it — permitting guests to “stroll” from Chicago to L.A.
“We have now an incredible group of volunteers,” with Rick and Carol Myers being instrumental in landscaping work, mentioned Stroll. As well as, “the village has helped immensely with upkeep and mowing,” he mentioned.
Through the years, the route has been popularized by the TV program “Route 66,” the “Route 66” music with lyrics about getting your kicks, John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” and, extra lately, the animated Pixar film “Automobiles.”
“Individuals see it as a possibility, a slice of Americana,” mentioned Stroll.
Avid bike owner Bob Williams of Regular rides the U.S. Route 66 bike path a couple of times per week, usually combining it with flippantly traveled roads to “take the great distance again,” he mentioned. He’s pleased to see McLean County working to expand the bike trail and join current sections.
On Wednesday, set up of a pedestrian bridge over Timber Creek started south of Funks Grove as work continues on a brand new section from 1 mile south of Shirley to past Funks Grove.
McLean County engineer Jerry Stokes mentioned work ought to be accomplished by the primary a part of October.
The county intends to use for funding by means of the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program in November to finish a Towanda-to-Lexington connection, he mentioned.
“As ITEP funds are made obtainable, it’s the intent of the Route 66 Consortium to proceed with the development of the path by means of McLean County,” mentioned Stokes.
See images: U.S. Route 66 in Towanda
PHOTOS: Route 66 Bike Path development
Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Comply with her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota
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