The City Cyclist

The North Shore Spur

By - Aug 19th, 2011 04:00 am
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View a more detailed map of the North Shore Spur here 

For this week’s featured segment of the Oak Leaf Trail we head south to the North Shore Spur, which follows a section of the old North Shore Line interurban. (Read about the interesting history of the North Shore Line here.)

Access the trail segment from the main Oak Leaf trail on Drexel Ave., just east of Howell — there is a short segment that runs north form Drexel which provides access from subdivisions in the area. Heading south, you’ll soon discover that this rail-to-trail is different than most. First, because the bridges have long since been removed, the route descends to road level at cross streets and then ascends to rail level after the crossing. The other thing you will notice is that the designers of the trail created a gently curving path instead of a straight run through the right of way. Couple that with the wild flowers along the route and you have a very wonderful setting for a ride or a walk.

When the trail bumps into the Oak Creek, it leaves the interurban line to follow the creek for a while. After riding past Oak Creek East Middle School, the trail goes south along Shepard Ave. to Ryan Rd. From here, head east onto old Ryan Rd. Shortly you will cross the railroad tracks and pick up the trail heading south. You get to go under Ryan Rd. as you proceed down to the county line.

The trail continues west along County Line Rd. to Nicholson, where it goes off-road again. This is a unique trail in Milwaukee County — it goes right through a corn field. Corn on the left and corn on the right. Where am I, Iowa?

Cyclist shadow in cornfield

The City Cyclist thinks he’s back in Iowa. Photo by City Cyclist

The trail ends at Howell Avenue. From Drexel to Howell, the trail is approximately 6 miles long.  Hopefully the trail will be extended to the west and connect with the Oak Leaf trail spur at 68th and Ryan Rd.

As summer begins to tail off, there is a lot of good riding ahead, but it becomes more important to make yourself seen as you ride. With the sun lower in the sky in the evening, shadows quickly make you less visible and cars are less visible to you as well. Wear brighter colors, and be sure to put a tail light and headlight on your bicycle.

Ride safe and have fun!

Categories: The City Cyclist

0 thoughts on “The City Cyclist: The North Shore Spur”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great advice on late evening/early morning visibility. “Transitional” light is trickier, in many ways, than seeing at night, because contrast fades and night vision hasn’t kicked in. The area around the Milwaukee/Racine County line has seen an inordinate number of cyclists killed by motorists, too. Y’all be careful out there!

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