Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The mysterious bicycle path of Rochelle Illinois

Google chose our route from New Hampshire to Minneapolis.

I like to think it chose the route to minimize construction delays, but to get past Chicago we used Google traffic maps time snapshots to spot the route that had the least stop zones as of 3 pm yesterday. The Chicago route more or less worked -- Google inexplicably missed a big construction project on route 88 west to Rochelle. Even so, it was our fastest Chicago transit ever.

As usual we stopped in Rochelle, Illinois, a railway crossroad town that survives because it's a highway crossroad town now. (In a related vein I've a post-pending on ultra-wealthy Chicagoland and the devastated Erie Canal strip, probably with an Obama comment). My back recovery program (post pending on my patent-pending seat optimization rig that got me off the floor) meant that this time Kateva and I had to inline skate Rochelle (ok, so she has never mastered skating)...

Rochelle, Illinois - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rochelle is known as the "Hub City" because of its location at the intersection of several major transportation routes. The first transcontinental highway in the United States, the Lincoln Highway, passed through Rochelle, as did US-51, one the first highways to go the full north-south length of the United States. Both these roads have diminished in importance (and are now state highways 38 and 251, respectively), but Rochelle continues to be crossed by major highways, especially Interstates 88 and 39...

Rochelle is not a wealthy town, but it's proud of its park district, and a mysterious bicycle path. I skated and drove around the town and couldn't spot the bike path, but a satellite shot tells the tale:

View Larger Map

Yeah, that's the path. About 300 yards or so. It does look nice though. Funny thing -- there are signs throughout town referring to the path, but when you finally find it, there are no more signs. I guess someone had mixed feelings about advertising it.

Update 8/14/08: See comments. Technically, the path is 4.1 miles long! It continues on from this park path onto what I think are city streets. I couldn't find any signs during my reconnaissance, so I missed the extension. I remember some of them as pretty busy streets -- so if the path is really not segregated from traffic it's not for youngsters. More than 300 yards anyway!


Unknown said...

actually the path is 4.1 miles long...continue north on Parkview Drive and the bike path restarts at the bend.


JGF said...

I updated the post and included your map link.

I wondered how long it would take a Rochelle expert to respond. It took less than two weeks.

So how did you find my post?

Unknown said...

Actually I don't know that I've even been to Rochelle...I googled "Rochelle Bike Path" as I've been working on a map of the bikepaths of the Rockford area for google maps/my own hijinx. Your site came up first...but the Rochelle Park District site 2 spots down had the full path on its map.

Here's that map of mine:


JGF said...

Very nice maps -- It's great to see people doing this!

Google is doing user-specific search results, including location. It uses my home as my location, so you might see results on page 1 that I would see on later pages ...

Anonymous said...

This is too funny, we moved to a town by Rochelle and are avid cyclists and tried to find that path before since we always saw the signs. I just ride the country roads since I would have to go around a 4 mile path about 12 times to get a good ride in :)

gay said...

You guys all have it too easy. When I lived in Steward, we only had a bike (the whole town shared) and nobody knew what a bike path was. We called them roads. lol or whatever.