Saturday my wife kicked me out of the house and told me to go for a bike ride. Apparently I was pestering her and getting the kids riled up. So I packed up the Panzer and headed to Colona, IL to jump on the Hennepin Canal. I was hoping for miles of well groomed snow thanks to snow machines (Alaska for Snow Mobile) and the cooler weather and heavy snow fall. The tow path was a mix of conditions.
I think I was a day or two late for great conditions, I had been thinking about riding earlier but I do have to work. There was a mix of conditions from "dry," snow groomed by snow machines, mud, and every conceivable mix of those conditions with a high of about 25 degrees. The ride was great just the same and I knocked out about 30 miles round trip.
About 5 miles down the path I hit a stretch of several miles with consistent snow. It was pleasant going out but on the way back it was a little warmer and the snow was a lot softer. From an exercise standpoint it was good.
The canal and locks are quite beautiful in the winter. At one lock I came upon a bunch of ice "Frisbees."
If I had to make an educated guess, I would say that as the ice broke up they just circulated around in the current and rounded off. I don't know that I have seen anything like it before. The path was nicely covered for several miles before the snow began to break up near Geneseo.
The Hennepin Canal is an interesting place to ride. I enjoy the historical and engineering aspect of it. When it was built it crossed a number of rivers and streams, a problem solved by building aqueducts. Pictured above is an aqueduct built across Geneseo Creek allowing the barges to pass over it.
I think if the snow conditions were right, this trail would be outstanding for fat bikes. I did see a couple of snow machines on the well covered portion of the trails and a few people as I got close to Geneseo.