Detroit, MI to Springfield, IL

Ok, so we didn’t exactly bike to Springfield, Illinois.

The 1st of December brought at least a 10 degree drop in temperature, gusting winds, dropping that temp even more, and it never stopped snowing.  When we originally planned to leave, it was going to be by mid-November at the latest.  I should have known by now that you can never quite gauge Michigan’s weather- but always have to remember the lake effect winds.  Planning a ride that goes due West for 10 days straight was, to say the least, a bad idea.

A few things I have learned:

  1. Don’t ride West in Michigan for hours at a time in the winter.
  2. My circulation to my feet is worse than I thought, even with 2 pairs of socks and really warm winter boots.
  3. My knee and hip joints HATE the cold weather due to previous injuries/surgeries.
  4. Biking with extra weight makes them hurt more than they did when just commuting in the winter.
  5. Sometimes I set my goals a bit too high- I need to start being more realistic.


Matt's bike during our drive to Springfield, IL.

So in the end we took the ride to Springfield, Illinois that Matt’s parents had offered us in the first place.  The weather conditions were only getting worse.  Unfortunately they also aren’t much better here.  The winds keep at a steady 10-15 mph with 20+ mph gusts.  We looked into biking across Missouri on the Katy Trail, but weather forecasts are predicting high winds and temps in the teens to lower 20s. There are too many long stretches lacking places to stay, and with even colder nights (0-15 degrees) camping is quite a risk.

We’ve decided to trek a bit further south and start biking from there. After searching for the cheapest train tickets heading South of here, followed by checking the weather, we decided on Little Rock, Arkansas.  We depart Monday night, December 13.  Have I mentioned that bikes and trains are the only mode of transportation that I don’t get motion sickness on? I hope this still stands true.

In the meantime we are soaking up all of time we can with our true friend, Christopher.  He fills us with vegan dinners and treats and we zone out to movie marathons.  Matt and I have also gone on some cold and windy bike rides on the Interurban trail they have here in Springfield and we also ride to visit Christopher at work , where we load up on treats.

I’m trying to not feel to defeated, and more so trying to be more realistic.  Winter bike tours are obviously possible, but I just don’t think it’s a good one to start with.


4 thoughts on “Detroit, MI to Springfield, IL

  1. Don’t feel defeated! I had a difficult time walking less than a mile in those temps when I was in Indiana this week. It is chilly out there so Mark and I are glad to hear that you are not out “in it” anymore. We’ve been thinking about you since Dec 1 when we were still in Ecuador. I have some points about Ecuador, by the way, so shoot me an email if you have time to chat. Look on the bright side – you’ll be there (and everywhere else) sooner than you thought! Get that silly USA part out of the way!

    • Thanks Joy! It’s much better in Arkansas and we are mailing back our winter boots and coats. Get ready to layer up in Indiana. You are moving so soon!! Let’s chat soon, but in the meantime if you get a chance, feel free to email me some points about Ecuador so I can refer to them when we are closer to arriving. It’s good to hear from you and I look forward to hearing about Ecuador and I’m sure you’ll have some amusing cat stories to tell as well.
      Good luck with the move!

  2. hey guys. lauren and i made it home last tuesday evening safely. as soon as we got back we were thrust into winter. coming from istanbul the previous saturday where the temperature was around 30 degrees celsius, this was a drastic change. when i watched the news and saw pictures of orange trees covered in ice i thought of you guys and how impossible it must feel to start your trip with such harsh weather. once you guys get out of this ice block country things will get better. its always good to set your goals high and maybe even sometimes too high. just know it makes you a stronger person each time you get up and try again after failing. talk to you guys soon.

    much love!

    • Jeremy-
      So good to hear you both made it home safely. Sorry to hear that winter wasn’t so welcoming! Matt and I really enjoyed your kind words. We are feeling much better now that we have escaped the single digit temperatures. We miss you both and want to hear about your European adventures.

      Much love and take care!

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