As their number one priority, my bicycles are my means of exploration. New roads, trails, and places have always been my #1 motivation.
Lately, as i have traversed 99% of my local roads, my attention has turned to the area of land known as “The Driftless”.
Simply put, it’s an area of land that the glaciers avoided as they flattened out the midwest during the last ice age, about 500,000 years ago.
The term “Driftless” comes from the sediment and silt glaciers leave behind, called “Drift”, and the fact this area has none. All you really need to know is the glaciers didn’t erase the chalk board in this tiny part of the state, and made life miserable for the rest of us in the other 95% of Illinois.
Look at the roads on the map above, how pretty and curvacious they are in the driftless, now look at the east, and how sad and square they are.
The hills here are wonderful, not massive but plentiful. It is quite easy to accumulate 1,000ft of climbing for every 10 miles. Surprising, for Illinois.
The driftless (along with the rock river valley watershed) has become an important refuge for me this year. This place has restored my sanity while living in a flattened windswept agricultural industrial park. I have had weeks long depression lifted (however so temporarily) after an 8 hour ride in these hills. They have given me a new local to explore and diagnose on maps and on bike, and they have given me great rides with friends also.
I hope to share with you the things i have learned after many hours of studying maps, and the nearly dozen rides i have done there this year alone.
I hope when you get to see it this place treats you in the way it does me, and you are physically destroyed while mentally restored.
I hope wherever you are you are you seek out the wild places of your surroundings, and discover what they have to offer.
Lets go ride bicycles and explore new surroundings.