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by Jessica Waytenick •

 

Contact – Jessica Waytenick, 800-747-7800, ext. 827 or jwaytenick@visitquadcities.com

Quad Cities - There’s no better way to see the mighty Mississippi River and the beautiful landscape and unique towns that wrap themselves around it than from the seat of a bicycle.  The Quad Cities is a great place to ride on the paved trails that line both sides of the river.

The Great River Trail in Illinois offers just that opportunity for bicycle enthusiasts.  Cyclists nationally and internationally are enjoying the 62-½ mile stretch of hard surface bike trails that runs from the Illinois Quad Cities to Savanna, Illinois.  The whole trail system measures 10 feet in width to allow bikers and walkers plenty of passing room. 

The Great River Trail takes cyclists through 3 counties and 11 municipalities.  The trails wind through some unique urban settings, but 75% of the trails are in rural settings that take the cyclist along the Mississippi riverfront.  The trail also features 65 public areas that include visitor centers, parks, camping areas, sightseeing attractions, antique stores, restaurants, and B&Bs.

A ride along the Great River Trail will take cyclists through many environments that are sure to create excitement, wonder and interest.  From panoramic river views and wooded trails, to prairie areas, backwaters and marsh areas, the rider will also enjoy the unique towns and cities that call the banks of the Mississippi River their home. 

Cyclists begin their tour in the Quad Cities at Sunset Marina in west Rock Island, Illinois.  The ride through the Quad Cities will provide a great view of the river, nature, parks, historical sites and industry.  The trails through the Quad Cities take riders by the historical Arsenal Island railroad bridge and then on to the John Deere Commons in downtown Moline.  The trail continues through Moline along River Drive and onward to Ben Butterworth Parkway.  You’re right on the river from here on out as you head on to Fulton, Illinois.  The Quad Cities also features numerous kiosks along the trail that provide educational and historical information on important sites and events along the mighty river. 

The Great River Trail provides a one-of-a-kind journey for bicyclists of every age.  It’s a great experience for families and for the professional or recreational cyclist.  Cyclists will enjoy the quiet runs through wooded and wetland areas, as well as the sights and sounds of the urban settings of the trail.                                   

The RiverWay Trail that runs through the Iowa Quad Cities offers a variety of special arts projects and information/interpretation kiosks along the way that will educate visitors about the area’s history.  The RiverWay Trail is 13 miles and follows the majestic Mississippi beginning at Credit Island Park in Davenport and continuing through a charming neighborhoods, historic villages, and beautiful riverfront parks through Bettendorf and into Riverdale.  The long-term goal is to extend this trail all the way to LeClaire.                                

 

 

Enjoy downtown Davenport, featuring the River Music Experience, Figge Art Museum, skybridge, Modern Woodmen Park (formerly John O’Donnell Stadium), and LeClaire Park, home to Davenport’s many festivals and concerts.  The Village of East Davenport beckons you to snack in its delightful restaurants, shop its selection of unique shops, and enjoy its many outdoor events and activities.  From this trail once you’re in Bettendorf, there is nearby access to the Duck Creek Parkway trail system.  This 20-mile recreation path will take you through Bettendorf and back into Davenport.

 

 

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition has released a report stating that bicycling generates $364.8 million annually for the state of Iowa.

 

 

The Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau has created a new online bicycle guide on their website at www.visitquadcities.com with maps and descriptions for places along the Mississippi River Trail, Great River Trail, Duck Creek bike path, and Arsenal Island.  DIRECTLINK – www.visitquadcities.com/biking.php.  The online guide is divided out by sections so people can view just what specific area they are interested in biking.  It also marks the mileage, Visitor Centers, Channel Cat Water Taxi stops, dining, shopping, attractions, and places to safely cross the Mississippi River.

 

 

Hidden by River Action throughout the trails in the Quad Cities are a number of geocaching containers.  People can spend a few hours or a whole day finding hidden caches and recording their presence in the log book.  It’s typical for geocachers to leave behind small “treasures” that are fun to find so bring something with you to leave in the cache for the next hunter.  Each cache also ties in with the cellphone-based audio tour.  www.riveraction.org/geo

 

 

River Action’se-Tour brings new technology to the riverfront.  QR Codes and web addresses on riverfront signs link trail users to information on RiverWay art, historical significance of river landmarks, wildlife and other facts about the Mississippi River and riverfront. The e-Tour is free and both phone and tablet-friendly.  www.riveraction.org

Biking is also allowed again on the historic Arsenal Island as of July 2009.  It was previously discouraged after September 11, 2001.  Bicyclists have access to any of the island's public areas, including recreational biking on the golf course biking trails.  Bicyclists must inform the guards where they are headed when entering the island and anyone 16 and older must have a driver's license or government-issued photo ID because it is a working military facility.

The island is open to bicyclists from 7 a.m. to dusk, and cyclists may enter the Arsenal from either the Rock Island gate.  Helmets and safety equipment are required for all bikers.  Bicyclists are expected to obey traffic rules and stick to bicycle trails as much as possible.  Rear reflectors and a functioning taillight in hours when headlights are needed also are required.  Those driving to the island and transporting their bikes may park and unload at the Mississippi River Visitor Center at the west end of the island.

 

In August 2005, the first link across the Mississippi River for the American Discovery Trail (ADT) opened in the Quad Cities.  The ADT is a 6,800-mile national trail that will reach east to west across the U.S. from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.  The $1.65 million crossing is a new section of path that was added to the Rock Island viaduct bridge from Rock Island, Illinois, to Arsenal Island.  It is separate from vehicle traffic.  A complete list of participating trails can be found on the ADT website at www.discoverytrail.org. 

 

 

These trails are also part of the Mississippi River Trail (MRT).  It is a newly formed 10-state network of bike trails and bikeable roads that lines the Mississippi River from its headwaters in Minnesota all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.  A complete list of participating trails can be found on the MRT website at www.mississippirivertrail.org. 

 

 

For some off-trail adventure, the Quad Cities has four designated mountain bike trails maintained by the Friends of Off-Road Cycling, www.qcforc.org.  Sylvan Island in Rock Island, Illinois, is great for quick, easy rides or after-work rides.  It is of moderate difficulty with few hills, but enough of a single track-type ride to keep it interesting.  A variety of people (fishermen, hikers, runners, etc.) also use this trail.

 

 

 

A ten-mile trail is in Scott County Park in Long Grove, Iowa, and it starts at Pride Lake.  There are a couple different loops for riders to follow.  Sunderbruch Park on Davenport’s west side has about seven miles of hiking and mountain biking trails from green to black diamond levels of difficulty. 

 

 

Illiniwek Park in Hampton, Illinois, is the newest of the FORC trail systems with the greatest elevation changes and greatest flowing corners in the area.  The park is made up of two large loops, one on the north end of the park and other on the south end.

 

Another trail is located at Loud Thunder Forest Preserve in Illinois City, Illinois, 20 minutes outside the metro Quad Cities.  All eight miles of single track at Loud Thunder is bi-directional, making for 16 miles of heart-pounding fun!  Make sure to allow plenty of time to complete the trails; it can easily take one hour for the six-mile loop alone.  The six-mile single track loop consists of very challenging, twisty trail with lots of ravines (read: HILLS), jumps, roots, log-ladders, mud, and at least 9 bridges and/or creek crossings.  The 1 1/2 mile "warm-up" single track has trailheads near the rangers' house. 

 

 

 

Even if you don’t have a bike with you, you can still experience the fun of riding the trails in the Quad Cities.  The Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau rents bicycles at their downtown Davenport and Moline visitor centers that are all located right on the bike path.  More rental information can be found by calling (309) 277-0937 or by visiting the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website at www.visitquadcities.com.

 

 

In July 2011, RAGBRAI (The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) ended in Davenport.  It was the first time in 29 years that RAGBRAI ended in Scott County – last time was Davenport in 1982.  It brought almost 20,000 cyclists to Davenport in one day for a successful celebration.  It coincided with the Bix 7 road race with almost 15,000 runners for the largest one-day, one-site gathering of sports participants in Iowa history.

 

 

For information on the trails in the Quad Cities area, contact River Action at 563-322-2969 or www.riveraction.org or visit the Quad Cities Bicycle Club website at www.qcbc.org.  Contact the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-747-7800 or visit their website at www.visitquadcities.com

 

 

The Quad Cities is also known for its abundance of special events, festivals, attractions, museums, river boats, gaming, shopping, performances, golf, restaurants, and, of course, the Mississippi River.

 

 

Joined by the Mississippi River, Moline/East Moline and Rock Island are the riverfront cities in Illinois, and Bettendorf and Davenport make up the cities on the Iowa side of the river.  Together, these cities and the surrounding communities make up the Quad Cities.

 

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