From: Todd Hollritt thollritt AT yahoo DOT com
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 10:15:07 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Erie-Lackawanna in Indiana...by bike.
"EL_Griffith.jpg" - image/pjpeg, 627x627 (24bit)
The Erie-Lackawanna bicycle path can be a great way to explore northwest Indiana.
Forecasts in northwest Indiana still are calling for temperatures in the 70s with clear skies. Sure as shooting, though, as the calendar inches toward late October and November, such weather will be replaced by "cold with a chance of flurries."
Those who love outdoor activities, such as bicycling, should get in as much as they can while the getting is good.
In northwest Indiana, there are some great bike paths being developed to do so.
My favorite is the paved path built along the former Erie-Lackawanna rail lines.
The full bike trail is nearly completed and will run from Hammond southeast to Crown Point, with breaks in between to deal with streets and downtown areas.
If it's picked up off Broad Street in downtown Griffith, which is about the halfway point, riders can choose which direction to go depending on what they're in the mood to see.
Taking the path north brings riders through more residential areas and past the high schools in Griffith and Highland before reaching downtown Highland to find something to drink or eat at several shops.
This direction also allows for more people-watching.
I prefer taking the southern path, which meanders through more rural country bringing bicyclists past streams, cornfields and even a small horse farm.
With fall foliage starting to appear on trees, this leg of the path should be spectacular to see in the next few weeks.
Expect to share the path with a mix of riders from bicyclists speeding along all dressed up in spandex riding suits, to the more casual bicyclists like myself who are more interested in admiring the sights along the way than making it in record time.
For those with more stamina than me, the trail soon will run all the way to downtown Crown Point, about a 17-mile trek from its starting point in downtown Hammond.
Plans call for this bike path to eventually tie in with the Pennsy Greenway that takes riders from Munster, Ind., through Lansing and into Calumet City near River Oaks Center.
From there riders can hook up with the Burnham Greenway that runs to Burnham.
If funding comes through, the path eventually will extend into the South Side of Chicago, connecting to a path that runs along the Lake Michigan shoreline into downtown Chicago.
You should eat your Wheaties before you start on that trek.
Information, including maps, about northwest Indiana bike trails is at nirpc.org by clicking on the links for Transportation and then Non-motorized.
It's amazing how many railraods are now trails in Indiana! Here's a link with a review and what's planned in the near future, including preserving some large bridges.
Two photos of the former EL mainline are posted including the neat EL Logo they added to the bike trail.