The name "Taco Ride" has become synonymous on Thursday nights with the Wabash Trace Nature Trail and the 10-mile stretch between the trail head in Council Bluff, Iowa and Mineola, Iowa. For many, the Thursday night ride is a scenic trek through the Loess Hills ending with dinner at the Mineola Steakhouse. For others, the Taco Ride is a social event filled with cycling, scenery and a festive, party atmosphere. Everyone agrees that Thursday on the Wabash is something special.
As the trail became popular, cyclists discovered the Thursday night taco special offered at the bar in Silver City. However, the ride destination shifted to the closer town of Mineola when the bar in Silver City closed. The Mineola Steakhouse soon began offering their own tacos and beer special. Before long, the nickname "Taco Ride" was coined and the name stuck to describe what has become a weekly event for many. From the time the trail is dry enough in the spring until late in the fall, this Thursday night bike riding ritual takes place.
Most riders start at the trail head on the south side of Council Bluffs south of the Highway 92 and Highway 275 intersection near Lewis Central School. Parking is available at the trail head. As you begin your journey down the Wabash, you are quickly out of the city and your scenic ride through the Iowa countryside and the Loess Hills begins. The first two miles are relatively flat. Next you begin a gradual climb for the next four miles until you reach Dumfries. Alongside the trail you will find a picnic area that is affectionately nicknamed "Margaritaville" by riders. Slightly more than halfway, many riders will stop for a quick break and to join in conversation with fellow bikers or to partake in refreshments they brought with them. From Margaritaville, it is a slight downhill ride into Mineola. The Mineola Steakhouse is located several blocks off the trail. Some riders get headed down the trail by mid-afternoon while others ride late into the night.
Besides the Taco specials, the Mineola Steakhouse offers a full menu of food and liquid refreshment. Abundant seating is available both inside and outside on the patio. Adding to the festive atmosphere, most nights Karaoke is available in the main dining room. Several times throughout the summer, live music will also be featured.
For cyclists who prefer a longer ride or a quieter dining atmosphere, they may enjoy riding four additional miles south to Silver City. It is a relatively easy ride and the trail is both scenic and not crowded with bikers. If you ride quietly, you have a chance to spot wildlife in the fields along the trail. Once in Silver City, the newly opened (Jan. 2011) Austin's On The Trail Restaurant and Lounge offers a wide variety of food on their menu.