LASALLE - The I&M Canal Bike Share system along the I&M Canal trails has re-opened. Bike stations are located near the canal trails at LaSalle, Morris, Channahon, and Lockport and at the trails at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
The easily-accessible bikes 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 and 2021 will be the first full year of operation.
“The trail is an 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) since the trail ties much of it together.”
The bike system is operated from Movatic, an app 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. 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.”
Three of the stations are located on the I&M Canal State Trail, which runs 62 miles from Joliet to LaSalle and is managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The Lockport station is located on the 8-mile I&M Canal Trail managed by the Forest Preserve District of Will County. Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie manages its own trails not connected to the canal towpath.
Designated by Congress, the Canal Corridor Association (CCA) is the only local coordinating entity for the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area. The CCA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization tasked with maintaining and enhancing the historic, cultural, and natural resources of the I&M Canal National Heritage Area. Learn more at iandmcanal.org.