The Ups & Downs of Local Bike Routes

By Anna Yee

May 17, 2011 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 4:09 AM CDT

For George Burrier and his wife, cycling isn't just about saving a buck these days, it's something they've done for years.

"1983 is when we first took a long distance bicycle trip in Wisconsin," said George Burrier, an Illinois recreational trails advocate.

After that, Burrier was hooked. As a Morton resident, he wanted to reap the benefits of biking at home, but couldn't, because there wasn't a long enough trail.

So he put the pedal to the metal, and helped extend local trails from 27 miles to more than 1100 miles.

"You might want to take off weight," said Burrier. "You might have health conditions that require you to get the exercise, and you don't want to have to drive to Wisconsin to get it."

Some cycling advocates still think there could be more done to the hundreds of miles of state bike routes, like clearly marking the streets for all to see.

A specialist at Russell's Cycling & Fitness Center in Washington says there simply needs to be more signs in place.

"It's easier to see. It's easier for drivers. It's easier for cyclists to become more and more aware," said Bernie Camp, buyer and fit specialist at Russell's Cycling & Fitness Center, "because I think a lot of these cyclists don't know about these designated routes."

"If you don't know where you're at," said Burrier, "then you better have a sign telling you to go straight ahead or left or right."

Whatever direction Burrier takes on these routes, he says he'll still keep pushing for more.

"Other states have done just as much with trails or more," continued Burrier, "but we're getting there, and that's the important part."

The state is still waiting on funding for the Kellar Branch in the Peoria area, which will complete the 1100 mile-network of recreational trails in Illinois.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.