More Bikes, More Places to Go!
The I&M Canal Bike Share system is expanding with added stations and more bikes at several of its existing stations along the I&M Canal trails! This includes adding a new station in downtown Lemont at 55 Stephens Street sponsored by the Village of Lemont. The Village of Utica has also just announced that they are planning a station in their community, bringing the total number of stations to 8. In addition to these developments, more bikes have been added to Lockport, Morris, Channahon, and Midewin Stations to handle more visitors and allow larger groups to ride together.
These easily-accessible bikes will allow visitors to cover more ground when exploring miles of scenic trails and charming canal towns within the heritage area. Locals and tourists alike will be able to discover more of IMCNHA’s natural and historical wonders without having to bring their own bikes. The Canal Corridor Association (CCA) launched the system toward the end of 2019. 2021 is the first full year of operation.
“The trail is an underused and underappreciated asset,” said Ana Koval, CCA’s Executive Director, “We hope this program to provide easily accessible bikes will encourage more people to get outside and discover the Illinois & Michigan National Heritage Area (IMCNHA) in a new way.”
Bike stations are located near the canal trails at LaSalle, Morris, Channahon, Lockport, and Lemont. There are also two stations at the trails at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie The system is operated with an app – Movatic, which is downloaded on a smart phone and available for Apple, Android, and Google phones. Bike rentals are $5/hour, available dawn to dusk. Visitors start at the station, download the app, register and add their credit card, then select a bike and ride. Bikes can be returned to any station in the system. More information can be found at iandmcanal.org/bike or by calling (815) 220-1848.
“We have a great trail!” said CCA’s Associate Director, Erin Maze. “Biking along the I&M Canal has scenery that rivals Starved Rock or Matthiessen State Parks. You can see sandstone bluffs and canyons, find rustic canal engineering and fascinating industrial ruins, meditate on vistas of tranquil waters, or have surprise encounters with wildlife, all while hopping between great historic downtown shopping and dining. The trail offers so many adventures.”
Several of the stations are located on the I&M Canal State Trail, which follows the old canal towpath 62 miles from Joliet to LaSalle and is managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The Lockport station is located adjacent the 8-mile I&M Canal Trail managed by the Forest Preserve District of Will County. The Lemont station is located adjacent to a 5-mile section of canal towpath trail managed by the Village of Lemont and near the Centennial Trail managed by the Forest Preserve Districts of Cook County, DuPage County, and Will County. Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie manages its own trails not connected to the original canal towpath.