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Thursday, May 29, 2003 04:00 pm

Two wheels good

Bicycling in central Illinois

art1133

In Springfield:
Lost Bridge Trail begins at the Illinois Department of Transportation, at Ash and Dirksen Parkway, and wends for five miles on a shady, tree-lined asphalt path to Rochester. At the end of the Lost Bridge Trail is a mile-and-a-half loop that goes into Rochester Park. The Wabash Trail begins at Park and North, and ends two miles later. The Inter-Urban Trail begins about a half block south of the intersection of MacArthur and North and runs south to Woodside Road.

There are also two off-road trails for mountain bikers: The Lick Creek Wildlife Area between Springfield and Chatham on the western side of Lake Springfield is about four miles long. The easiest starting point is the Old Route 4 bridge, half a mile east of the current Route 4 and accessible from Woodside Road. CWLP put up some signs that show the trail at the site. The second trail is the two-mile-long Lewis Memorial Acres Trail, located on the west side of Koke Mill, about half way between Washington Street and Old Jacksonville Road.

Other trails in these parts:
Peoria offers the Pimiteoui Trail, which runs along the Illinois River to Grant Street to Glen Oak Park, a five-mile urban riverfront trek through wooded and open spaces. Also in Peoria is the five-mile River Trail of Illinois, which spans from Hawthorn Street northwest to Main and Route 116, traversing woods, urban areas, and open space. The Rock Island Trail covers 27 miles from Toulon through farmland and woods. All are paved, except the Rock Island, which has crushed limestone.

Riding in packs:
The Springfield Bicycle Club, a non-profit organization formed in 1971, has about 500 members. It hosts regular group rides, both locally and out-of-town, and publishes a newsletter. For more information, go to the group's Web site at www.spfldcycling.org.

The Springfield Area Mountain Bike Association was started in 1998. It holds regular meetings and group rides. For more information, visit www.cityscape.net/~samba/.

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