Bicyclist are first to finish the Rock River Trail Bike Route

Carl and Dan at Rock Island

The two cyclists who were the first to pedaling the complete Rock River Trail Bike Route made it to the Mississippi River on June 14, 2018 and were welcomed by well wishers and local media.  Dean Mathias of the Quad Cities Bicycle Club and the Rock River Trail Initiative Rock Island County representative presented the two gentlemen with the 320-mile Rock River Trail award as the first to complete the bike route.

The Rock Island folks made the sign showing the Horicon Marsh is 320 miles upstream.  Very cool!

The cyclists are standing at Lock 32 of the Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park (the last lock of the canal).  Just behind them is the canal, beyond that is the Rock River and in the background is the Mississippi River.

Below is the media release from WNIJ about the trip.

WNIJ Aims To Be First To Bike Full Rock River Trail

Theresa, Wis., June 10, 2018 – NIU faculty member Dan Libman and WNIJ producer Carl Nelson would compare themselves to Lewis and Clark, but “we’re less worried about dysentery,” say the pair.

Libman and Nelson plan to be the first to complete the 320-mile Rock River Trail by bicycle as part of a 5-day trek exploring historical, cultural, and environmental features of the Rock River Valley.

WNIJ will air daily updates of the trip during Morning Edition, including information on local history and interviews with residents along the trail. Videos and transcripts of Libman’s “travel diary” will be posted on and shared on Facebook. Libman has contributed numerous reports as a citizen correspondent for WNIJ’s “Politics on Tap” series and last summer’s RAGBRAI feature.

The Rock River Trail stretches from Fond du Lac County in Wisconsin to the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Illinois. While several individuals have paddled or motorbiked the entire length of the trail, Libman and Nelson hope to be the first to pedal it.

The self-styled modern adventurers will stop in Watertown, Beloit, Rockford, Oregon, Prophetstown and Rock Island. Highlighted stories will include the changing ecology of the river, the Blackhawk legacy, the Eagle’s Nest Art Colony, the Prophetstown fires, and current events. The expedition also will be joined by local experts to share their knowledge of the area.

Listen for the Libman-Nelson dispatches each morning from June 11-15 on 89.5 FM DeKalb-Rockford and 91.5 FM Sterling. You also can listen at or using the free WNIJ app. Additional content from this expedition can be found on WNIJ’s website and Facebook page.

Libman and Nelson encourage people to join them along the ride and share their stories about this defining natural landmark.