Seems to me I should take note of the trial I ride most often, the 9.5-mile wonder that meaders through Springbrook Prairie. I'm blessed to have a nearly 2,000-acre forest preserve with a world-class bike trail just a short ride from my house.
The trail itself is just a couple of years old. It's in outstanding condition and well-drained: it rained more than 1.5 inches in the last two days, but by this afternoon, the trail surface was dry and hard, without any ruts or mushy spots.
The wide trail mainly follows the perimeter of the property. Most of the preserve is low, rolling prairie. The trail also passes through a small wooded area -- I've spooked deer from the trail early in the morning.
On a humid, warm late-September afternoon, prairie plants were in a last-gasp bloom: acres of yellow (goldenrod?), with purple and orange flowers underneath. Milkweed pods bulged, ready to burst. Goldfinches played tag in the tall weeds lining the trail.
Along the eastern horizon, a line of towering cumulonimbus clouds had formed where the humid air was lifted by a cool onshore breeze from Lake Michigan, forming thundershowers. I could trace the line of small thunderheads from Gary to the Wisconsin border.
The trail itself is not much of a challenge, but I'd recommend Springbrook Prairie highly for a smooth, scenic ride.