This route was scouted by: Bob Morgan, Biking Iowa and Dana Bresler, Iowa Valley Bicycle Club
Length: 17 miles (west loop); 19 miles (east loop)
Surface: Paved Roads and Trails
Parking and Restrooms: on Marshalltown Square
It took an Iowa Supreme Court ruling in 1859 to stop the egg-, vegetable- and water-throwing battles over where to locate the county seat. Marshalltown, named in honor of John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, has been quieter ever since. Try these two loops.
Start at the Marshall County Courthouse and check out the impressive 19th-century homes on Main Street as you roll west. The view of the Iowa River Valley on your right is gorgeous. At 6.5 miles, hang a left onto S70 to pedal through the hamlet of LaMoille. Warning: the railroad tracks below the church in LaMoille are rough.
Catch E41 east at 8.9 miles. On your left, Linn Creek winds its way back to Marshalltown. You reach old Hwy 30 (the original Lincoln Highway) at 11.2 miles and follow it back into town.
Begin with full water bottles and an energy bar, because there are no convenience stores on this route. Hop on the Linn Creek Greenbelt Trail near the Marshalltown Cultural Center. The trail curves onto the Linn Creek levee as you head east. Ride under Third Avenue and continue on the trail to 18th Avenue, Turn south, then east on Main Street until you reach T29 (also called Wallace Avenue). Cross the Iowa River and climb a steep hill up before heading north toward Green Mountain. Enjoy a couple of nice rollers along this road before hooking to the west on E27, also known as Garwin Road, where you work four more hills. Turn south on Hwy 14, then east on Woodland to rejoin the trail to downtown.
Where to stay: The Woodland B&B (641-753-5351)
Actually two route scouts! Bob Morgan, author of Biking Iowa, scouted the west portion of this figure-8 loop. Dana Bresler, a member of the Iowa Valley Bicycle Club (based in Marshalltown), created the east loop. Both loops are popular with local cyclists.