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The Republican Thursday, August 19, 2010

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OUT & ABOUT

MOUNTAIN BIKING OFFROADING HERE IN THE FLATLANDS IS MORE RUGGED THAN YOU THINK

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Eric Hahn, editor

(630) 368-8929 ehahn@ mysuburbanlife.com

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Even in the flat western suburbs of Chicago, there’s mountain biking to be had. We’ve discussed road biking before, but this time we hit the trails with our knobby tires spinning. So what makes mountain biking different from typical trail or path riding? For one, you’ve got to make sure your bike can handle the terrain. With rocks, hills, mounds and bumps in your way, you don’t want something to break, possibly breaking you along with it. So what kind of gear are you looking at? Dan Schwanderlick of Dan’s Bike Shop in Berwyn fills us in on some basics. “Obviously a helmet is important,” Schwanderlick said. “If you’re looking to get into real aggressive mountain biking it would be good to have elbow pads and some other safety gear.” Mountain bike tires also are different. Road bikes have smooth, thin tires which increase aerodynamics. But mountain bikes have wide, heavily treaded tires to maintain traction. “Mountain bikes are going to have fatter, knobbier tires,” Schwanderlick said. “They’re going to have some fatter inner-tubing as well.” Suspension and brakes also are key to hopping rocks and stopping for rogue logs and woodchucks.

WHAT YOU NEED

Besides the standard, bike helmet and other protective gear, it’s probably a good idea to get some trail maps. Print and online resources are many. But if you send $7.00 and $1.90 postage to The Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, you can get a comprehensive bikeway map of the Chicago Metropolitan area. Just send the money with return address to : Bikeways Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission 400 W. Madison Street, Room 200

MORE INFO While most bike trails around the Chicagoland area typically are paved, numerous off-road trails line our landscapes.

COOK COUNTY Swallow Cliff Woods, La Grange; 7-mile loop Maple Lake, La Grange; 12 miles DUPAGE COUNTY Elsen’s Hill, West DuPage Woods, Winfield; 4 miles KANE COUNTY Regional Trail, Warrenville; 15 miles

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Mountain Biking