The Canal Corridor Association is relaunching the Illinois and Michigan Canal bike share program.
The easily accessible bikes will allow locals and visitors to cover more ground when exploring miles of scenic trails and canal towns within the heritage area.
Bike stations are located near the canal trails at La Salle, Morris, Channahon and Lockport and at the trails at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. This will be the first full year of operation for the program.
“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 and Michigan National Heritage Area since the trail ties much of it together.”
The system is operated from Movatic, an app downloaded on a smart phone and available for Apple, Android and Google phones.
Bike rentals are $5 an hour and are available from 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,” CCA’s Associate Director Erin Maze said. “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 La Salle 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 CCA is the only local coordinating entity for the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Area. The CCA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tasked with maintaining and enhancing the historic, cultural and natural resources of the I&M Canal National Heritage Area. Learn more at iandmcanal.org.