Cycling the Ironhorse Curve

Posted by Rene Schweitzer
on Thursday, October 06, 2016

I love bicycling during the summer. The wind rushing by, the freedom of the open trails, it's exhilarating! Fall is the time of year when opportunities for rides dwindle, and alas, I must use the gym instead. It is a real downer for me.

For a number of years, I've used the gym facilities at my alma mater, Carroll University. Due to renovations, I have access to the campus' YMCA building. I was pretty excited about this--the building is only a few years old and has lots of new machines.

I was pleased to see a bicycle with computer screen (the brand is Expresso), one where you can choose a route and the bike adjusts resistance to match the course. You even move the handlebars to control your movement on the course. I tried a course and was impressed at how closely it replicated a ride, even to which muscles were sore the next day. Not bad!

The intro screen where you select your course. This bike has around 40 different courses!
The next time I went in, I tried a new route called "Ironehorse Curve." The screenshot had a train in it, so I thought, "why not?"

The ride started. . .wait a minute. That train looks a bit Lionel like. Was I in an episode of the Twilight Zone? (Remember the one called Stopover in a Quiet Town?)

I soon realized that the bike trail was in a model railroad! Cool!

Just starting the route.

I took a number of screenshots during the ride. I was impressed at the details--there's an engineer controlling the layout, and all sorts of details in the background. You see a workbench, a tool box, a train-related calendar on the wall, and more. The lighting is even typical of most basements.

What is this in the distance? A model train (see arrow)!

As a bonus, the bike faces a train crossing (Canadian National) and as I was cycling along, a train went by! Doubly cool!

Even better, across the street is what was the Waukesha Depot (now a restaurant) with passenger cars. Our sister publication Trains did a nice blog post on this depot here.

My fall and winter just got a little more exciting for exercising.

Click on any photo to enlarge and enjoy!

P.S. It was difficult to get a look at the track, but toward the end of the ride I finally got a view. It is two-rail. The locomotive and train certainly looked Lionel like and O gauge to me, though.

Biking into the model town.

Train passes by on the left while I'm biking through town.

Caboose at the end of the train.

Just past the town, you see an engineer controlling the train.

While I was cycling the course, a train on the CN line went by. This was my view from the bike seat. Cool!

More train!

A great view.

There are some great details during the course, like this stack of hobby books.

Another fun detail--this pencil and note of parts to buy.

Yeah, I made it! Note the basement lighting on the ceiling.

The view outside the YMCA window, the former Waukesha Depot (now a restaurant).

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