Riding the Fox Cities – January Edition

I just got back from a bike ride around the Fox Cities and I feel great. In fact, it inspired me to share my story with you, followers of the FCCA, in hopes that you can experience this same feeling.

I know what you are thinking…biking in winter is “crazy”! I admit, it is difficult to break away from that mind set at times. However, if you have been skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice skating, or participated in some other activity outdoors recently, then you just may be a member of the “crazy” people that discovered the joy of winter recreation. The truth is, when dressed appropriately, biking in winter can be quite enjoyable. I’ll try to provide more information on dressing “appropriately” and other winter riding considerations in an upcoming blog. But first, I prefer to share why I enjoy biking the Fox Cities.

newberry trail winter

My ride essentially looped around the Fox River between Appleton and Kaukauna. I started by working my way towards Telulah Park in Appleton and continued along the Newberry River Trail. The trail was perfectly clear and the winter scenery along the river was great. There were other walkers and joggers on the trail as well, which helped me feel not so crazy. I was also warmed up by this point, so I felt very comfortable if not too warm. I proceeded to the Oneida St. bridge. This stretch of road was recently re-done and now includes a bike lane. I really like this addition since you can get a birds-eye view of the flats and surrounding area from the bridge. I think this view was underappreciated when only viewed from the car.

Once over the bridge I worked my way over to City Park to take advantage of the Drew St. bike lanes. On the way I discovered an amazing church on the corner of Durkee and Harris that appeared to have been remodeled that I never noticed before. I’m still amazed at how much more I notice when biking versus driving. I rode the Drew St. bike lane to Wisconsin Ave. and headed towards Little Chute. The bike lane connecting Appleton and Little Chute is really great. Little Chute eventually continues the bike lane on it’s Main St. just past downtime, but don’t pass by Seth’s Coffee in downtown Little Chute without trying a coffee (brewed by the cup) or sweet treat. I recommend the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. And Seth’s is a Bicycle Benefits business, so if you have a sticker, you get a discount just for riding your bike. If you don’t have a sticker, you can buy one there or at any of the 50+ Bicycle Benefits business in the Fox Cities – see our Bicycle Benefits page for more info.

seth pb cookie

After my pit stop, I continued down Main St. in Little Chute and into Kaukauna. The bike lane is great and travels this entire stretch. This is also part of The Paper Trail route, which is a signed bike loop covering 40+ miles around the Fox Cities. I’ll talk more about the Paper Trail in a future blog. In Kaukauna, there is an opportunity to refuel again at Kaukauna Coffee and Tea, another Bicycle Benefits business, before heading down the bridge to lower Kaukauna. Now on the South side of the river, I worked my way back towards Appleton through Combined Locks. The rolling hills provided allowed me to burn off my extra fuel from Seth’s before heading through Kimberly and looping back home.

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My ride was just over 20 miles and was exactly what I needed. If you have cabin fever, this may be just what you need as well. The Fox Cities is becoming a better place to ride every year. If you haven’t experienced biking in the Fox Cities recently, get out there and check it out. Prefer a family-friendly group ride? Check out the year-round events offered by the FCCA on our web site. Want to help make the Fox Cities a great place to ride? Consider becoming an official member of the FCCA.

If you have any questions about winter biking, feel free to leave a comment below or on the Fox Cities Cycling Association Facebook group. I’ll return with another blog in February in an attempt to provide a year-round perspective on Biking the Fox Cities, so stay tuned.

–Scott Hietpas

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