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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    The Island Line and Grand Isle, VT

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    I had a wonderful weekend cycling at Lake Champlain in bike-friendly Vermont. We were on Grand Isle and South Hero, and biked the Island Line across the lake on the causeway. The Island Line is a rail trail along an old railroad causeway that extends from North Burlington/Colchester 3 miles across the lake to Grand Isle. There is a 200 yard gap in the causeway for ship traffic. On August weekends, the gap is bridge by a ferry, allowing cyclists to ride from downtown Burlington to South Hero/Grand Isle for a round-trip fee of $5. Here is a picture of the causeway, where you are literally cycling in the middle of Lake Champlain with spectacular views of the Green Mountains and the Adirondaks.

    I set up this weekend cycling trip to Vermont as a birthday gift to a friend. I wanted an off-road trail so we could take her 2 kids (ages 1 and 4) without worry about traffic. The original plan was to bike from Burlington to the island, stay overnight, and bike back the next day. But more sensible planning called for driving to our overnight site. So we drove up Saturday morning, checked into our little cabin at the campground, and did a driving tour of the island. Then we went back to a quiet road, took down the bikes, and rode around for about an hour. We had the 4 year old set up with a Trail-Gator, so his small bike was towed behind an adult bike. The baby went in a trailer which I towed. The baby cried pretty much the whole time he was in the trailer.

    In our drive around the island, it was obvious that this was a bike-friendly place. In front of one home, there was a picnic table near the road and a sign inviting bikers, hikers, and joggers to stop and rest. On the south side of the island, 3 miles from the causeway, we stopped at the Allenholm Farm Stand. In additions to a "bikers welcome" sign, there were bike rentals, a petting zoo, and a children's playground. The best part was the soft-serve maple ice cream.

    On Sunday we headed for the Island Line trail. You parked at the head of a gravel road and cycled 1 mile (part inland, part causeway) to the ferry. The ferry ride was $5 per person donation to the organization which is working towards full-time ferry service and extending the rail trail. Then another 2.5 miles of cycling along the causeway before reaching the mainland. It was really quite spectacular biking across the middle of the lake. Photographs couldn't do it justice. The weather was sunny and upper 60s with no wind in the morning, but a wind had kicked up by afternoon when we returned. The causeway surface is gravel, which was uncomfortably loose on occasion but still doable with road bikes. Once off the causeway, the trail was paved. Again the baby wasn't happy in the trailer and cried for a good while before he fell asleep. The 4-year-old did great. We stopped after ~8 miles and bought lunch from a snack shop at an ice rink. At that point we debated having the parents and kids wait while I rode back and drove the car around to get them, but then decided to see if the baby would be happier with his mom pulling him. He was, so my friend and I swapped bikes and shoes, she pulled the baby on my bike while I towed the 4-year-old on her bike.

    This was a really great trip and we plan to go back and do some more touring on the Champlain islands.
    Last edited by DebW; 07-19-2009 at 10:45 AM.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    how interesting that the baby was happier towed by mom.

    Sounds like a fun ride!
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    S. Dak.
    Deb, what a wonderful bd present. The lake scenery looked so peaceful and inviting.



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