Around the Ville: Trains, Bikes and Atom Smashers

I’ve been tooling around the ‘Ville on my bepetalled cruiser, congratulating myself that I had the brains to insist on a bike with no gears to shift, a coaster break, and a saddle and handlebars that allow me to keep my seat on the seat . At last I can check out the landscape instead of the white line on the road, and, anyway,  I’ve never cared for skin-tight spandex on a hot day.

One of my favorite short rides — about five miles round trip — meanders along Batavia Road in the ‘Ville, then onto the Fermilab bike path for a short stretch of its considerable length. Today I remembered my camera, so come with me on my virtual bicycle built for two. I’ll let you squeeze the air horn if you remember to bring a bottle of water.

I want to show you a couple of charming gardens;both of them come right up to the sidewalk.








Old rattan and petunias.

The next three pictures show you the “public garden” created by garden writer (and my colleague at The Village Chronicles) Shawna Coronado. It extends the length of three houses, along the easement between their back fences and the sidewalk. For tired bicyclists and walkers she provides two full-size park benches. This is about half way down the garden path.

A sweet little detail:
























Another view — I love the lone ten foot tall sunflower at the end.









And another:










Pedaling right along we come to the level crossing for the old EJ&E tracks, now the CN tracks. For thirty years I’ve been hearing trains in the night, and when I’m staying somewhere else I miss that low slow rumble.











Cross those tracks and you’re breathing the same air and biking the same path as a few hundred of smartest people on earth:









Here are the gates. While the property is still open to runners and bicyclists, it’s been closed to non-authorized cars since 9/11. It’s enormous acreage, most of it pure prairie. It houses its own herd of bison (you can smell it downwind) and provides a sort of federal wilderness preserve and wetlands.

When the superconducting supercollider came to town, the locals redubbed it The Atom Smasher, not as alliterative, but more descriptive. And shorter.

Welcome to the home of the Top Quark.





Bring your bait and tackle — this is literally the first time I haven’t seen kids and grandpas fishing here.









A path-side sculpture. Or something. Any atomic scientists in the house?









Breaking the pristine spell of the place, but beautiful and powerful in their own way are the miles and miles of enormous power towers. You need mucho megawatts to smash atoms.










Here’s where I turned around tonight , a big white clapboard building, “Aspen East.” It’s a community center for employees, backed by tennis courts, volleyball courts, and picnic tables. I wonder if they hold keggers in there?










It was hot and muggy, and I’d forgotten my water bottle so I headed home. What I’ve shown you is a fraction of the Fermilab bike path — I was hoping to bring on the bison, the wild apple trees and Fermilab itself. Now that the collider in CERN is #1 Atom Smasher, Fermilab has lost some funding. It will be around for basic research, they say. Oh God, I hope so.

I biked back after about half an hour, only to wait as one of the longest freight trains in memory chugged by.

My street is unremarkable: lots of flags, driveway basketball hoops and nice people. I’ve shown you a tiny snapshot of Warrenville, close up, from behind my handlebars. When I get a lock and chain for my bike, I’ll take you to the library! Be still your hearts.



Filed under Body, Free, Growing things, History, Home, The 'Ville, The Great Outdoors

8 responses to “Around the Ville: Trains, Bikes and Atom Smashers

  1. ♥ ♥ ♥ this… you are truly SO lucky! Can’t wait to see the liberry.

  2. Priscilla: I’ll take you to the liberry and then for a mysterious jaunt down the Prairie Path — I’ve met foxes there.

  3. Alex

    That’s a wonderful picture of the blue trike. If it’s still there, go back on a sunny day (today) at the same time and take another few, but pulled back a bit to catch the sidewalk, which I’m imagining isn’t far from the front wheel. Either that one or the one you posted could be a prize-winner. Seriously. (You might want to get a professional’s opinion as to which one would go over the best with the typical judges.) At the very least, you could get it blown up to a 16 x 20 or so matte print and get it mounted and framed for your (or someone else’s) wall.

  4. Oh, what a beautiful morning!! And all the signts just within your dooryard! I, too, have a new bike. A pink one, with Princesses prominently displayed all about, and a rash of ladybug clips clinging to the spokes.

    SOMEBODY found a little one like it, and, of course, bought TWO while he was at it. No jaunts til I get that new enconomy-size seat, you understand.

    I envy all your lovely explorations—we’re mostly just little small-town streets, leafy but plain, but there are several nice parks in good distance. Doncha just ride through the Fermi-land, soaking up the breeze of that stratospheric intelligence?—sometimes I can FEEL it in the air. But I DO have something YOU’LL be interested in today on LT—a lent-a-while from our just-departed guests. It was through your mention and recommendation that she knew I’d be interested.

  5. HEY! That’s my garden. Thank you so much for featuring it. Many summer hugs from me!!! ::HUGS::


  6. Alex: I’m so, so flattered. (Shawna, I’ll share the profits from the prints with you — you inspired the shot.) And Rachel, I JUST wish those brain waves from Fermilab had squiggled into my brain.

  7. Fun! Brought back memories of our evening bike rides. Such a weird, wacky place and a bit of an underused public resource (concerts, films, art, etc.)

  8. kim shook

    That sidewalk-side garden is JUST EXACTLY what I would love to have – if I weren’t lazy and in possession of black thumbs. Lovely ride, my dear – makes me want to jump on my bike and see if I can’t find something worthy (besides KFC and asphalt) in my neighborhood!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s