Paddle, Bike, and Tour the Quad Cities

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Quad Cities - Whether your preferred activity is joining a paddleboarding class or biking down the paths of Credit Island in Davenport, Iowa, it is a guarantee you can find an activity in the Quad Cities to enjoy!

One of the newer activities the Quad Cities has to offer is stand up paddle boarding on the Mississippi River. The H2O Generation Quad Cities Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) Store has just recently opened its doors to the public where beginners to experts can paddleboard in the calm Mississippi River backwaters. Stand Up Paddle Boarding includes a board similar to a surfboard, and the paddler stands or kneels on the board while using a long, single-bladed paddle. Stand up paddle boarding is a fast growing sport that has become popular around the country—so popular, in fact, that it was listed as the number one activity among first-time participants in The Outdoor Foundation’s 2013 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report.

H2O Generation is located at the Sylvan Boat House, 1701 1st Avenue in Moline, Illinois, right on the Sylvan Slough, which is channel off of the main Mississippi River. H2O Generation is open Thursday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and classes or private lessons are offered at the venue during business hours or by appointment. Stand Up Paddle Boarding training classes are also offered on Mondays at 10:30 a.m. Rentals are only during business hours and begin at one hour rentals for $15.

Although paddle boarding is new to the area, it is not the only nautical activity the Quad Cities has to offer. Grace Marine, located at 905 Eagle Ridge Road in LeClaire, Iowa, is the only place in the area that offers pontoon boat and jet ski rentals. Boats can be rented with or without a captain, and can last all day if renters so choose. Boating and jet skiing are two additional ways to explore the Mississippi River. Grace Marine is open Tuesday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The Mississippi River has a lot of activities to offer, but the exploring options do not stop there. Residents and visitors alike can pedal their way down the paved paths near the Mississippi River with a bike of their own, or a rental from the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau. There are a handful of trails to choose from, such as the 60-mile long Great River Trail in Illinois or the 10.5 mile long Duck Creek Trail in Iowa. Biking around the Quad Cities is a great way to become associated with venues in the area or just to see the beautiful scenery.

Bicycles can be rented from the Union Station Visitor Center, 102 S. Harrison in downtown Davenport, Iowa; Bass Street Landing Visitor Center, 1601 River Drive in downtown Moline, Illinois; and The District Visitor Center, 226 17th Street in Rock Island, Illinois. These centers are all located right on the riverfront bike paths.

You can cross the river using the designated bike path routes, or use the Channel Cat Water Taxi. The Water Taxi is open every day until around 8:00 p.m. The Channel Cat travels to various locations along the river, including the Celebration Belle in Moline, Isle Casino Hotel in Bettendorf, Village of East Davenport, and the John Deere Commons in Moline. You can get on and off at each stop throughout the day with one ticket.

The Mississippi River is the third largest river in the world, and the Quad Cities offers a variety of tours along the river. The Mississippi River Visitor Center, located on Arsenal Island at 328 Rodman Avenue in Rock Island, Illinois, educates its guests about the largest Roller Dam in the world and about barge traffic on the river. The Visitor Center has large observation windows that overlook Lock & Dam 15.

As Iowa’s only Segway tours, Quad City Segway is another fun and interesting way to tour the marvels on the Mississippi. Located at the Union Station Visitor Center, 102 South Harrison Street in Davenport, Iowa, Quad City Segway holds a short training session before each guided tour along the Davenport riverfront learning about area history and landmarks. Tours start at just $30.

Aside from paddling and biking, touring the Quad Cities is a marvelous way to see behind the scenes. The John Deere facilities and buildings in the Quad Cities have many attractions. The free John Deere Pavilion, located at 1400 River Drive in Moline, Illinois, gives guests an interactive experience. The Pavilion is open Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays noon to 4:00 p.m. The John Deere Harvester Works is located at 1100 13th Avenue in East Moline, Illinois, and is another great facility that offers free tours to ages thirteen and up of the company’s largest combine factory. 90 minute tours are offered Monday-Friday at 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. when the factory is in operation. Call 800-765-9588 to make reservations.

For more than 50 years the sculptures of Isabel Bloom have found its place in homes and gardens throughout the United States. Isabel studied under Grant Wood and her artistic subjects range from playful children to friendly creatures of the air, land, and sea. Cast in concrete and hand-finished to resemble weathered bronze garden sculptures of the Victorian era, the work of Isabel Bloom has made her a Quad Cities’ icon. The Isabel Bloom Studio Production Tour is a free, one-hour-and-fifteen minute guided tour with behind-the-scenes access to every step in the making of each Isabel Bloom sculpture at 736 Federal St. in Davenport, Iowa. Visitors can even offer opinions on future sculptures, and purchase exclusive sculptures available only to tour guests. Call to schedule tour 563-336-3766 or 800-273-5436.

For another type of tour, Creekside Vineyards Winery and Tasting Room at 7505 120th Avenue in Coal Valley, Illinois, offers tours throughout its vineyards and a wine terrace is open on weekends May through October. Both Wide River Winery at 106 North Cody Road in LeClaire, Iowa, and Lavender Crest Winery at 5401 Highway 6 in Colona, Illinois, show guests around their wineries by appointments, as well. Lavender Crest can tour groups anywhere between 25 and 200 people. Another enjoyable tour is offered at the Mississippi River Distilling Company, where guests can see vodka, gin, and whiskey handcrafted from local grain. The Distilling Company is located at 303 North Cody Road in LeClaire, Iowa, and free tours are offered daily on the hour at 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 p.m. or by appointment.

Discover these and many more marvels on the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities. Contact the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-747-7800 or visit their website at www.visitquadcities.com.

The Quad Cities is located on the Mississippi River and is made up of the riverfront cities of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. The area is just a 2-½ hour drive from Des Moines, Iowa, and Chicago, Illinois. It is easily accessible via I-80, I-74, I-88 and several major state highways.