Get out with Ord

By Gus Bode

Editor’s note: This is the fourth story in a weekly series featuring outdoor adventure opportunities through SIUC and in the southern Illinois region.

Whether it’s done for recreational purposes, health reasons or as an alternative mode of transportation, bicycling is an activity anyone can enjoy.

Cycling has become increasingly popular in Carbondale and around the nation with the increase in gas prices, said Christopher Norrington, manager of the Bike Surgeon in Carbondale.


Norrington said his business has registered an increase in both bicycle sales and repairs since the gas prices have risen. He said there’s also been a marked increase in biking accessories, including lights, racks and bags.

“[Biking] is the best way to commute around campus, and now that’s transferred more into town as well. A lot of the cars are more biker-friendly and know what to look out for,” Norrington said.

He said southern Illinois is a great region for cycling, offering miles of country roads and nearby trails for mountain biking.

“I think we’re pretty fortunate around here. We have a lot of nice country roads and a lot of nice mountain bike trails. … We’re lucky to be in such a diverse area for cycling,” Norrington said.

He said cycling is a sport for everyone, regardless of age or activity level, because it is a low-impact exercise and is easy to do. He said it’s a good exercise option for people who want cardiovascular exercise but who don’t want to run or walk.

Bicycling also offers riders an opportunity to explore the outdoors in a fast and easy way. Norrington said it’s easier to notice surroundings and appreciate them more while cycling than it is while driving.

Mountain biking offers an opportunity for riders to get out in nature and take advantage of the trails in the area. The Cedar Lake Trail, an eight-mile-long trail ten minutes out of Carbondale, is a great trail, Norrington said. He said the Cove Hollow Trail, which connects to the Cedar Lake Trail, and the trail at Kinkaid Lake, are also worthwhile rides.


Norrington said cycling is an eco-friendly alternative to driving. It’s beneficial to both the rider and the environment, because the rider is getting exercise and saving money they would otherwise be spending on gas, and the environment is spared the carbon output from gas-powered automobiles, Norrington said.

Jeff Daily, president of the SIU cycling club, said Carbondale is home to a very active cycling community. He said many students on campus commute via bicycle, and several members of the university faculty and staff are involved in recreational riding and racing.

Daily, a senior from Roscoe studying architecture, said the cycling club is open to all riders, including mountain bikers, road riders and recreational riders.

“A lot of us go on group rides; we’re just trying to be involved with riding in the community,” he said.

Daily said the club has four scheduled group rides each week, all of which are road rides, and they range in distance from 20 miles to 40 miles.

The club meets at DiMaggio’s, which is located at 604 E. Park St. in Carbondale, at 8 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month. Daily said anyone interested in joining the cycling club is welcome to attend a meeting or group ride.

Norrington attributes the popularity of cycling in the Carbondale area to SIUC.

“A lot of it is because the campus provides such a great community in itself, with the ability to have new members all the time – both faculty and students,” Norrington said.

For more information about organized group rides or the cycling club, contact club president Jeff Daily at [email protected].

Audra Ord can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275 or at [email protected].