After my first two rides here, I envisioned this post to be a negative, stay out of Rockford type piece. I could not find suitable roads. The one bike path/sidewalk was a pot holed mess. Then, after some research, I uncovered a few hidden gems.
A short downtown ride proved to be the first of many interesting routes around the screw city (for the numerous fastener factories in and around Rockford). As I cruised past Beyer Stadium (or what’s left of it), I glanced over at the ticket booth to see that it was the home of the Rockford Peaches of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. The stadium and team were featured in the classic movie, A League of their Own. I stopped and walked around. The stands have been removed and the field renovated. But, the original ticket booth still stands.
On the weekend, I wanted a bit more. So, a quick search on Ride with GPS brought me to Caledonia, a very small town about 4 miles outside Rockford. This was the highlight of my first week here. Rolling hills, quiet roads and beautiful farmland for as far as the eye could see. For 50 miles, I might have seen 4 cars. But probably 30 cyclists. A good ratio in my opinion.
Looking for something more local, that I could ride from the hotel, I headed down Bell School Road to Harvey Road and found Harlem Road, a rolling thoroughfare that’s winds through corn and farmland for about 8 miles. I turned around and found Rock Cut Park on my way back. This incredible 3,100 acre forest packs singletrack, paved cycle paths, two serene lakes and beautiful roadway all inside a very picturesque setting. I did several rides here, exploring all sides of the park.
What I learned: Do not judge a book by it’s cover. Explore, uncover and find the beauty in all areas of this incredible country.