Guest Author - Sharon Bejin
For some people itís hard to imagine thinking about summer activities when they are outside shoveling heavy snow or all bundled up indoors trying to keep warm. But for those who loving biking, it isnít hard to imagine at all. These bikers find their minds are occupied with thoughts of biking throughout the winter months.
There are always bike repairs or upgrades to do on their bikes; anything to keep them busy. While the bike trails may not be ready for riders just yet, there are plenty of trails to scout out prior to the biking season. Wisconsin has free books with bike trail maps in their tourist centers throughout the state.
All around the Great Lakes region there are plenty of biking trails to ride on. These trails will take bikers on scenic rides through small towns and woods throughout the state, allowing them to enjoy nature and the small towns nearby.
One such trail in Wisconsin and it is called the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail. This trail encompasses 32.5 miles of trails where the old railroad used to run. Whatís unique about this trail is that it takes bikers through three different tunnels. The Kendall tunnel is a quarter mile long, the Wilton tunnel is about the same distance, and the Norwalk tunnel is ĺ miles long.
The Kendall tunnel is located in the small town of Kendall where bikers will find the Kendall Train Depot which is listed in the Wisconsin State Register of Historic Places. Nearby bikers will find a park, a shelter, a bed and breakfast, and a convenience store just in case supplies are needed.
Bikers will find hills and farmland on the trail near the village of Wilton. The Wilton tunnel is located in between the Kendall and Norwalk tunnels. The village of Wilton has camping and picnic shelters for bikers.
Near the Norwalk tunnel bikers will find picnic tables, shelters, food, and lodging when they take a break. There are even showers nearby for bikers to use at the end of their long ride.
When biking through these tunnels on the limestone trails, bikers will notice that they still have doors on both ends of the tunnel. They are open during the warmer months and closed during the winter to keep warmer temperatures inside the tunnels. This is what they did nearly a hundred years ago.
One major difference from the tunnels of today and the tunnels of the past is that years ago, trains came roaring through these tunnels up to 50 times a day. It was the job of watchman to be on standby and open the tunnel doors after receiving a telegraph that a train was coming. After the train passed through the tunnel the watchman would close the door until they got word of another train coming their way.
Signs are posted outside of the tunnels suggesting that bikers walk their bike to avoid collision of other bikers. The trails are dark with no lighting. It is recommended that bikers bring their own source of lighting when riding through the tunnels.
Whether bikers are just starting to ride or are experts, they will enjoy the scenery and riding through the tunnels. Trails passes are required.