Summer on the Rivers + ADD NEW ROUTE
29 in Illinois Illinois308410 Miles
on August 1, 2005
- Trip Toolbox
This route makes a large 180 mile loop and you can jump on it wherever it is most convenient for you. I happened to start/end my route in Schaumburg, IL and that is how I'm describing the route below. Starting in Schaumburg, get on Rte 72 and head west through Genoa, Kirkland, Davis Junction, and finally into Byron. This leg of the route will lead you through miles of pasture, paralleling the freight tracks, (It's great to ride next to the trains about 1/4 mile to your left; feels like you're not moving), then adjacent to the Rock River (also on your left). When in Byron stop for gas and resume on Northbound Route 2. Take 2 north up thru Rockford, (Loves Park, Macchesney Park,) all the way to the IL/WI border, where you will see signs for South Beloit, Wisconsin. Here in South Beloit, due to construction, you will need to locate Rte 151, sometimes still called 51. Take this all the way up to Janesville, WI. Stay slightly West and maintain the local and smooth road alongside the river, it's well worth it! Avoid taking the toll way, (90/39) as it negates the pleasure of slowing down to 40mph thru a nice part of upper Beloit/lower Janesville. While in the Beloit/lower Janesville area you'll see large houses on your right, and smaller river-front homes to the left. They are very quaint, and unique to see, and if you look on the river, you will see a large variety of water sports and recreational vehicles enjoying the wide expanse of water. It's truly a pretty place. Continue up into Janesville, up the huge hill and past the Road Ranger and K-Mart. Make a right at the intersection of routes 11 or 14, and around there, you will see a ton of places to hang out. There's a Hooters there on the left, ( I hate their food, but love their beer) and it's air conditioned and across the street from a big Harley dealership. There is also a test track there where a lot of crotch-rocketeers are working out. All in all, a lot of cool variety for any kind of rider/passenger interested in a short 175 mile round trip day-trip. Now its time to head back ... coming back, take US Rte 14 west all the way to state Rte 11 which you want to continue west on until you get to Spring Prairie where you want to go south on Rte 120 and take this all the way into Lake Geneva for a beer at Skinny's on the water. Continue South on Rte 120 and after it crosses the IL border it will turn into Rte. 47. Continue south on Rte 47 through Woodstock and Huntley and when you intersect Rte 72 take that east back to starting point of Schaumburg.
Most of the first 30% of the ride is typical farm country road views of farmhouses and pastures. Occasionally, the small town at 25-30 mph. Once across the border and into Beloit and beyond, the view becomes pure Americana; from the enduring beauty of the river-front life to the occasional small-town local rural lifestyle. If you keep your eyes open, there are plenty of types of architectural interests, made me wish I could snap pictures while riding a scoot. A lot of this ride is along riverside, making the temperatures a little more tolerable and excellent for breaking up the occasional monotony of the straights thru farmland. Once you are 30 miles or so into the ride, you will notice the twin smoking stacks of the nuclear power plant in Byron. That's where you make your one real change in direction, from West to North. There are plenty of sights in Beloit and Janesville all ranging from old to new. I have to say that it was hot weather in middle July, but certainly a "top 3" ride.
From start to finish, the road quality is manageable and enjoyable, even for novice riders. I have a low-rider, (maybe 4" ground clearance at best), and never felt concerned about any bumps or threats of bottoming out. Speeds can vary, I maintained 4th to 5th gear on the riversides only so I could enjoy the scenery and execute my curves nicely. Any idiot can ride the straights, the fun is in the curves and twists. There's also plenty of road to haul ass and hit 95-100mph if that's your thing, and opportunities for passing abound in the event of the rare truck in front of you. The traffic is light, and even when you are "in town" within Beloit and Janesville itself, the stop lights and signs are minimal, making the ride fairly continuous and safe. Until you hit town, its mostly two-lane with a lot of bikers headed in the opposite direction to wave to. If you have a passenger or want to take one, it's a great ride both for scenery, and road quality in terms of smoothness and balance control.
Most of the amenities necessary to most of us (gasoline, water and bathrooms)are readily available in this ride. The points at which one needs to stop are very well space apart, with no need for concern regarding running out of fuel or finding a bathroom if necessary. Just play it smart and carry your map just in case. In terms of places to eat, I waited to have lunch until I got to the destination (Janesville, but can recommend that if you must, there are a few places to chow down in little Byron, IL, about 15 to 20 miles before you hit Rockford. I started out at 9am, and made about 3 stops along the way for gas and to stretch my legs. All gas stations are large, air-conditioned and complete for the traveler that needs to rest or get a drink. I have a 4 gallon tank and no fuel gauge, so I like to re-fuel often, but a huge gas tanks may only have to stop 2 times at all. I also own a low-rider chopped cruiser, so i need to stretch out my legs and back more often than the roadsters.
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