Monon Trail

Tunnel on Monon

Tunnel on Monon

Well, I think both of us decided that the Monon is our favorite urban trail. It runs 16 miles from the northern suburbs of Westfield and Carmel to downtown Indianapolis and then connects with the Cultural Heritage Trail which takes you on a loop around downtown, where we could see the canal area, parks, water fountains, government buildings, museums, and an old fancy theater front. The ride was all very scenic and pleasant, and it passes by an area called Broad Ripple where there are plenty of little shops and eateries, which we partook of our lunch on the way back. Lots of people were using the trail, probably just normal Saturday traffic but also the bike and foot traffic to the Carmel Farmer’s Market and to the Indiana State Fair, which was in full swing as we rode on by.

Joyce Talking to Councilman

Joyce Talking to Councilman

At one of our rest stops, at the Farmer’s Market, we talked to one of the people influential in getting the trail and the market established in Indianapolis, and he told us that their counters show close to 600,000 users of the trail per year. Parts of it reminded us of the Silver Comet in Atlanta, and it also hints at what the Atlanta Beltline Trail can become with dedicated planning. It is definitely an asset to this city.

View of Indianapolis

View of Indianapolis

We had rental bikes since we shipped ours back to Atlanta last night, but that turned out okay, and it was during that exchange that we found out that the Cultural Heritage Trail connects to the Monon, as we had thought about just walking around downtown on that trail after we turned in the rental bikes. What we at first thought was going to be a long day in Indianapolis waiting for the plane to leave turned out to be a relaxing and most pleasant day on the Monon, feeling somewhat like a local out enjoying a Saturday excursion.

Wooded Area on Trail

Wooded Area on Monon

I guess it probably sounds a bit extravagant to travel across country to “act like a local” and have an experience that is so similar to one just across town, but there’s a sense of adventure in it also: planning the logistics of where to stay and eat and when we need to be where, and then implementing the plans, finding our way around a new city both by bike and by other means (in this case by auto but often by metro or train), talking to strangers who are enjoying a similar activity, and just expending energy in a fun way. Speaking of expending energy, one young fellow passing me on his skinny tire bike said to me as he passed, “I wish I had that much energy.” Since he doesn’t know how many miles we had ridden today (41) nor how many miles we have done total on this trip (about 170), he could only be referring to the energy it takes to pedal a hybrid or fat tire bike as opposed to his skinny tire road bike. (Maybe I need to try one of my son Tommy’s bikes sometime to feel the difference.) But at least it made me feel good that at my age (68) I can still move along on the wider tires at an average speed of 10 or 11 miles per hour and enjoy the experience.

We turned in the rental bikes just before we had to leave for the airport, so now we are on the airplane on the way back to Atlanta, sad that it’s over, with good memories of our adventure, ready to plan our next one to the southwest next May.

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