Cycling Advocates Ride to Pro Walk Pro Bike 2006

Daily Trip Log

from Vancouver B.C. to Madison, Wisconsin

Picture of Vancouver, BCGrouse Mountain Vancouver B.C.
from to Austin, MN to Cresco, IA
Date: 2006-08-30
Distance: 98 Kilometres
Cycling Time: 5.05 Hours
Average Speed: 19.30 kph
  Trip Distance since Leaving Vancouver - 3,520 Kilometres  

Thoughts for the Day



And now it is Iowa

It was another pleasant cycling day, warm and sunny. Headwind, but not too strong, was a negative. We started early and were off the road before the hot part of the day took hold. Not quiet light now when we leave in the morning.

The route out of Austin included County Roads 3, and Highways 56, 63 into Iowa and then Highway 9 into Cresco. We had planned to take a couple of county roads into Cresco instead of Highway 63 and 9 but a bridge construction stopped us..

At least, we did manage to get to a pleasant village, Lime Springs, a delicatessen, and the local park for lunch. At the delicatessen, a delivery driver asked the store attendants if the bridge was still under construction. Thanks for that or else we would have had a few kilometres of gravel cycling  
Some of the roads were very quiet. Highway 63 was not. There were no paved shoulders. The gravel shoulders were extremely poorly maintained. In some cases the drop-off was dangerous for bicycles to cut off the road to accommodate motorized vehicles. There were plenty of large trucks driving too fast. In Iowa the trucks are required to have a headway of a bout 100 metres. In practice only the good drivers practiced that.

  Minnesota uses a set of three rumble strips that cross the traffic lanes before any intersection of county or highway roads.

  The route passed through a town or village every 10 or so kilometres. Each town seemed to have some character to it. Corn and soybean were the most prominent crops in the fields today.

  Cresco, IA    
    This town has a well defined main street and downtown. A county seat, the streets are lined with interesting brick buildings from the turn of the last century. Obviously, this has been a regional town and wealthy in the past. Bank buildings are very prominent. Churches vie for space. The streets are lined with mature trees.


Cycling Facilities


Adams, MN

In the west end of Adams a marked snowmobile trail came into town by an electrical transmission line. Why was this trail not developed for bicycles?

  Adams had a non-traffic lane beside the curbs on the main street facilitating cycling through the town.

Cresco, IA

  Bike Lane and Bike Path

    The road adjacent to the main highway through town has a one-way bike lane with Bike Route signs along it. By the grocery store, the bike lane joins into a bike path which seems to go to the western part of the town. The bike lane seems to be on an old railway line.

    There was not a map to indicate the route of the bike path.

Highway #56, Minnesota

From County Road #3 out of Austin to Adams, the highway had an excellent paved shoulder of a bike lane width. It made the cycle so much more pleasant considering the number of high speed trucks that wiped by.

Highway #9, Iowa

A bike lane width paved shoulder made cycling very pleasant on this road.

Off-Road Bike Paths or Rail-Trails – Minnesota

  Internet map of Trails


Shooting Star State Trail



In Taopi, a trailhead was encountered by chance. A paved path started there but no indications of where it was going. There was no trail map at the trailhead. There were no signs on the road indicating that a trail ran parallel to it. It was going east but where to was unknown.


  Were we aware of the trail we could have taken it from Taopi to LeRoy.

Off-Road Bike Paths or Rail-Trails – Iowa      
  Internet Listing of State Trails

    We wanted to take the Wapsi – Great Western Trail from the Minnesota state line to Riceville. The problem was to get to the Minnesota trailhead. There were no indications on the Minnesota map on how to get from Taopi to the trailhead on paved roads. Also, there was no indications here the trailhead was. No trial map was available on the internet and no local information available or signs on the regional roads to guide you there.

Cycling in Iowa

  Internet Bicycle Map


    Print copy of the map is available. The map is quite useful in trip planning and easily readable.