National Groves is a great little forest preserve nestled in
the millde of North Riverside. It is a very popular place for
dogs and their owners to get together morning, noon and night,
and it offers some nice trail riding, just right for those beginning
to learn the nuances of off-road riding.
The trails are mostly wide and pretty smooth, but there is some
mild climbing invloved in sopts, so you will need to shift gears
consistently here (and on any singletrack!). Leave the front chainring
in the smallest position, and let your rear gears keep you in
your torque peak as conditions change.
Watch for dogs and other trail users, and check out the Three
Tunnels at the end of the trail that extends 28th Street to the
river. These tunnels connect the DesPlaines River to the Salt
Creek in Brookfield, and are a good place to cast a line if you
are into fishing.
A spring-fed pond also exists behind the Scottish Home, where
all kinds of wildlife congregate. This park is a little out of
the way for a through-ride, but it is great for dog owners (provided
the dog is well-trained and properly socialized) and those looking
for a break from the urban hustle.
You are just a short ride down 26th Street west to either 7th
or 9th Avenues, where you can hop on to the Bemis Woods trail,
a beautiful, curved, rolling paved trail that extends from Brookfield
Zoo to the Bemis Woods in Western Springs, following the Salt
Creek with singletrack connections on to Oak Brook, Fullersburg Woods and points
Summer weekends attract large picnics, usually consisting of
Eastern European fraternal groups, so if you smell potato pancakes,
be sure to stop and have a few - you won't regret it!