(Mini stopping to enjoy one of the Locks on the Mississippi River)
Mini Says: “I love Bicycle rides. My family loves me because not only am I cute but I’m practical too!”
One of the passions BigMan and I developed this summer was bicycle riding. Initially I picked it up to add to my fitness regime since it’s such a wonderful calorie burn and it gives me the freedom to eat the way I want to be able to eat, instead of eating like a rabbit counting calories. As the summer wore on and we got in better shape, increasing our distance, we decided to take a ‘Mini’ vacation to LaCrosse Wisconsin to ride the very first bike trail in America. Sparta, which hosted a train rail line back in the day, converted that rail line into a bike path when it was mothballed and a new line put in. Now, if you ride from the trail head in LaCrosse to Sparta, you can log 21+miles. From Sparta, you can continue up another 10+ miles to Tunnel #1, which is not only 1 of 3 wonderfully hand carved tunnels, but also a winter bat sanctuary.
Hubby and I ticked off over 40 miles Day 1 by riding from LaCrosse to Sparta and back again. Burning over 3,000 calories, we were able to fully enjoy amazing food and fun beverages in downtown LaCrosse. Then Day 2, Mini hauled the bikes to Sparta. We unloaded them, and started the 3% grade climb up to tunnel 1. Since it was sunday and we still had a drive back home, we only went as far as tunnel 1 before we headed back down.
The trail is all packed limestone. So, if it’s sunny and dry, its a breeze and we could cruise an easy 16 mph on the flats. We discovered however, that after a rain shower overnight, the trail is slow where it was damp. Be sure to have at least hybrid tires on your bicycle or it could be a rough go.
If you are near LaCrosse WI and have your bike on your roof….I highly recommend the ride. The ride sports some amazing views and downtown LaCrosse is quaint, full of friendly people and a great place to grab a post ride bite!
We fully enjoyed ourselves having a healthy vacation….
And Mini loved being admired, as usual!
(Mini getting ready to take a nap, at the bike path trail head in LaCrosse)
(Limestone bike path from LaCrosse to Sparta)
(Vistors Center in Sparta. Head left and its ALL uphill!)
(Tunnel #1. About 10 miles from Sparta. The doors were installed to close in winter to protect the bats)
(The Tunnel is long, dark and drippy. Bring a STRONG flashlight if you want to go on to Tunnels #2 & 3)