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Grand Illinois Tail Bicycle Ride Key Equipment


Day Three

Sheffield to Colona


I woke up at 7:20 (a little later today). While they are small and slow, there are many more mosquitoes here. The wheel took a fairly good hit yesterday. First, it was a bent rim, then a spoke snapped. I bent it out, and kept riding. It seems to be slowing me down. I have been traveling at a pace to complete the Grand Illinois Trail, but I do not think I can get 50 miles today, since that will put me in the center of urban area to sleep. I have to back off. It is good too, because I am very weary. Palisades looks like it just might be my turn around point.


A bridge on the Hennepin Canal.

When riding the I&M canal, the entire bike trail is on the south side of the water. On the Hennepin you ride these bridges over the water. thus shifting from one bank of the canal to the other.

This is a horizontal drawbridge where the platform extends directly up. There are a variety of styles, but this is the most notable.



I took a long time packing and backtracked to the visitor’s center. This time I found water. There was a woman who seemed to be “saving” the pavilion for a later party. She saw me ride up and when I enquired about water, she pointed to the spigot and said, “that water is nasty.”

“When you have no other water, this is like the best pure spring water.” I said.  She was right though, the water was orange.

From here it appears that if I go more than 30 miles, I will have to go through crowded Moline. It's best if I stop short on the Hennepin, camp, and push through tomorrow.


Bridge 26-37.9 on the Hennepin. It is a large culvert tube with a concrete floor. I stopped and had a lunch while it sprinkled a little rain. Didn’t know if this was the best place to stop, but figured I was in a "faraday ice bucket." It’s been a while since high school physics, but I thought it might be safer from lightning than being outside.



There have been no real hard rainfall or thunderstorms. On the same token, there has never been a really sunny day during the trip either. It’s the best of both worlds, like London England. It doesn’t rain hard; so you don’t get soaked, and there's not a lot of sun so you don’t risk sunburn. I pass fishermen on the trail, point up and whisper “Shhhh, don’t say the “R” word” (rain)


Here is a bridge on the Hennepin with fresh paint. They are fairly unique. They definitely have that "industrial age" look. This bridge was used as a part of the graphic for the GITride t-shirt.



I’ve covered about 32 miles today, and I need to find a place to sleep soon. I’ve past Geneseo and looking at the map, think I can only go about 5 miles or so before I hit civilization and trouble finding a secluded place.


Another  abstract bridge on the Hennepin. A little more modern though.



Rain started sputtering again so I stop under a tree. I could camp right here, however the closer I get to civilization the shorter my ride is tomorrow. I just passed a dam with mile marker 57 so if the trail map is the same as the mile markers, I am only one mile from the place I have to turn around and find a place to set up camp.

I went two or so miles out of my way, but followed a road to a boat launch. It seemed to be the community park for Colona because there was a bathroom facility and a baseball diamond, well maintained. If I am lucky and stealthy, I should have no problem setting up camp here unless it is a teeny bopper beer/dope smoking hang-out. This is the first time I am not in a desolate area on my bike and accessible to automobile traffic. Looks like I got 43 miles today and two or three of them are off trail.



Camp day three. Given I was so close to a park, I tried to set up this camp near the edge of the grass under some trees. Leaving the bike parked upright ended up being a mistake. While the tent was fairly hidden, the bike’s reflectors gave my camp away and I was visited by the local police. After a flashlight in the face aroused me from a deep, restful sleep, I explained that I couldn’t move even if I wanted. (I was out of gas again!) He was pretty good about it, left me to sleep and I was off early in the morning. It seems there needs to be a process to make the trail more Thrubiker friendly. I've got some ideas if you want to get involved.



Another dead tired bone weary day under my belt, and I am a good hard ride away from Mississippi Palisades State Park.

END DAY 3:  Sheffield to Colona
Route: GIT Clockwise
Stayed At: Near a Boat Ramp to the Rock River
Total Miles 42.8
Total Time 6:00:48
Average Speed 7.1
Maximum Speed 15.7


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