Riding the Fox Cities – Fall

It’s hard to believe one week ago I was commuting to work on my bike in a t-shirt, 60 degrees, sunshine…and just several days before the Appleton Christmas parade. The temperature eventually did drop for our annual ride in the parade…it seemed appropriate, but in case you missed it, this past weekend was sunny again and a great time to ride in the fox cities!
xmas parade 2016

In addition to this past Saturday being a great day to ride, it also happened to be Small Business Saturday. I decided to head towards one of the many great local bike shops and show my support. On the way, I noticed the new Bike Fixtation (bike fix station) along the CE trail, which is a nice addition for anyone needing to pump up their tires or make a trail-side adjustment. Soon after I arrived at the bike shop. This is like my candy store. I picked up a few things, including some of the cookies they had out for customers, and made a mental note of other items for my wish list. Then I was off to explore.

I’ve become a fan of urban adventure riding, or at least that is what I call it. I like discovering pathways and shortcuts that are sometimes hidden in plain sight. There are several unpaved paths off of the CE trail that lead to parkways worth exploring. Today, I rode to one of my favorite hidden pathways, a short paved switchback in Kaukauna that quickly travels from a small town square in upper Kaukauna down to the Fox River and then takes you underneath the Lawe St. bridge. It’s one of the more fun and challenging climbs (due to the switchbacks) in the area.

I continued on to Heesakker Park in Little Chute and crossed the bridge to the Little Chute Islands and the Heritage Parkway Trail. This is a great paved path along the Fox River that runs between Heesakker Park and Island Park. It is definitely worth checking out if you haven’t ridden it yet. I rode this paved path many times and have been curious about several unpaved trails I’ve noticed leading into the woods but never ventured off. I decided that today I would explore and go wherever the path took me. This was partially because today I was on a fat bike that begs to explore unknown terrain, but I was also near the island peninsula which is the potential site for a new Fox River Boardwalk – a bike/ped river crossing connecting the existing Little Chute Island path with a planned Kaukauna path on the other side of the Fox River. The rustic and moss-lined path leading to the peninsula was pretty neat.

Once at the peninsula, I tried to envision a bike/ped bridge over the river. I love this idea. If you do too, you should plan on attending the third public information meeting for the Fox River Boardwalk this Tuesday, November 29th, at Kaukauna City Hall. Click the link for more information. In the meantime, below is the view…

I left the peninsula and followed the trail to the nearby dam. It was mostly rocks, but there were also a few patches of sand. No, it wasn’t exactly a beach, but it still felt like a discovery just the same. My next discovery was a bit more predictable. I crossed the bridge back to mainland Little Chute, rode up the hill, and locked up next to Seth’s Coffee. If you haven’t checked out Seth’s, ride your bike there and reward yourself with a coffee and a treat (or two). They are also a bicycle benefits business, so bring your sticker (or buy one there) and get a discount.

Seth's Coffee

Seth’s Coffee

I returned home after enjoying a relaxing, yet active, afternoon in the sunshine and found myself thinking about what an amazing Fall we’ve had here in the Fox Cities. Even once the white stuff does arrive, there will be plenty of great riding days, so consider extending your riding season this year. Not sure how? Check out our free Winter Biking Seminar in December. It might even inspire you to join us for our Resolution Ride on New Years Day, Bike Across Bago, or one of our other events held year-round. Hope to see you out there!


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