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Reading your description brought me back to my own childhood in Massachusetts. We had an aqueduct that ran through town to bring water to Boston. I spent many hours and miles riding my bike along the route of the aqueduct and the trails that ran off of it.

The trails were all single-track dirt and my bike was a 1970's five-speed road bike. I like to believe I invented mountain biking there.

I never did any bike activism until I started working on the bridge 5 years ago....except for one brief moment when I was 13.
Biking to school was horrible when I was a kid. And the county had just put this sort of sidewalk so I didn't have to ride into traffic. I had heard from my parents that due to insurance this was going to be taken away, so I wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper. They called my parents verifying the letter and published it.
So after what you wrote above, I went on google maps to look at that area and its completely different. Still no bike lanes in my community, but at least this area is better with an actual sidewalk
This is Riverwoods, IL

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