Great Lakes - Old plank trail question
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07-04-09, 03:36 AM
Anyone here familiar with riding the Old Plank Trail in IL?
Best times to ride this trail with your kids? Is it a busy trail with lots of cyclists or would it be suitable for towing a trailer or TAB? Anyone let their kids ride it on 20 inch kids bikes?
Heard it is fairly flat and paved as well. Runs from Joliet to Park Forest, I think.
07-04-09, 09:47 AM
Old Plank is pancake flat, which is pretty standard for a rails-to-trails path. It's a pleasant path for a casual ride.
There are a lot of road crossings, but nothing that's too bad. Lots of traffic: bikes, walkers, dog leashes, strollers, etc. Standard stuff on a suburban MUP.
You should be fine with a trailer or trail-a-bike
07-04-09, 11:46 AM
It is very busy on the weekends. If you really want a pleasant ride try it during the week.
07-04-09, 01:24 PM
Thanks for the responses, much obliged!
I've only seen a glimpse of the trail from the Hickory Creek access, but familiar with maps of the route. Wondered if it was pretty busy on the weekends. Even if we don't do the entire trail, it looked like it might be a good place for a nice family ride, especially during the week.
I'm sure my youngest could make it all the way, since he's being towed along by me. He pedals when the spirit moves him.:)
Not sure how my oldest would fare on her little 20 inch Huffy....That's a lot of pedaling for a 6 y/o.:)
Have either of you ridden the trail at the Hickory Creek access? Heard it was a little hilly. Ends up over on School House Road, I think.
07-04-09, 06:51 PM
I have ridden the trail from School House Road to the Plank Trail. It is a bit hilly with a few pretty steep climbs. I don't know about a 6y/o on a 20" Huffy. That might be a little to much for her.
07-04-09, 10:55 PM
When I was out there last week I rode the entire thing. There were a couple of spots that had a decent ascent but nothing to crazy. I did see little kids riding up the hill and falling, and saw one come screaming down. I had to close my eyes because he made me nervous. This was around the New Lenox area. After todays rain, it will suck to ride tomorrow. It will be so muggy under all of the trees that line a majority of the trail and the bugs will be so darn thick.
07-05-09, 12:33 PM
Thanks for the info. I think I'll save the hilly portion at the Hickory Creek access for when I'm riding without the kids. :)
If my youngest would actually PEDAL on the inclines, it probably wouldn't be so bad. But doubt my daughter would have a good time on her Huffy. LOL! OK, maybe on the other side of the hills, coasting down....
It was so wet and rainy yesterday, didn't even try riding at all.
Looking forward to trying the main trail during the week if it's not too hot out here. Hope you all had a good 4th despite the rain.
07-06-09, 09:16 PM
I ride the Old Plank Trail on most weekends. It really has a little of everything out there - slow walkers, roller bladers, road bikes, kids with training wheels, etc. You and your "tour group" will fit right in.
I suggest you start your ride from the Frankfort Town Square. They have a parking lot, real bathrooms (which the kids might appreciate), a convenience store, and a great bike store right on the trail. On Sundays, there's also a farmer's market (kettle corn anyone?).
After your ride, head over to the Trolley Barn for some ice cream!
07-06-09, 11:50 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I had considered a mini-trip from the Hickory Creek access to Frankfort and back to give the kids a little taste of the trail.
If it's not fun for the kids, it'll be heck for ME! LOL!
Frankfort sounds like a good place to take a break, grab some ice cream, etc.:)
Nice to know about the farmers' market....maybe I better bring the panniers along with us so we can bring home a few treats.:)
07-07-09, 12:24 PM
Frankfort also has a car show every Thursday evening in the summer.
http://www.villageoffrankfort.com/play/featured-events As with the Sunday Farmer's Market, traffic on The Old Plank Road Trail gets busy in the downtown area.
The section from Frankfort east to Cicero Ave in Matteson ( about 6 miles ) is nice with kids because there are relatively few road crossings. The distance between crossings is typically 1 mile.
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