Touring - Riding out of Chicago O'Hare airport
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06-22-06, 05:34 PM
I'm flying into O'Hare to finish the Northern tier eastbound. Does anyone know a route out of the airport by bike that is relatively safe?
06-22-06, 05:59 PM
I found this awhile back when I was planning a tour.
I live and commute very close to O'Hare. The above link looks pretty good but I think the best way out would be to take the CTA Blue line two stops to Cumberland Ave (about 3 miles). This gives you a lot more options and safer options and they allow bikes on the trains most times now except rush times I believe. I am not terribly familiar with the Northern tier route but I believe you need to go north to Wisconsin and then take a ferry across Lake Michigan right? What you could do and I have done this is followed Foster Ave. across the north side of Chicago to the lake front- safe neighborhoods. Then take the Lake Front trail to Evanston then take the Green Bay trail, which is named after the Green Bay Road rail road, far into the northern suburbs. The Green Bay trail may go all the way to Wisconsin now. When I say follow Foster Ave. I mean ride about 1 block off of it on the residential streets.
Other options would be to take the Blue line all the way down town, switch to the Red line and take it north a few stops and get off, which will put you very close to the lake front trail. Or you could take the Blue line out of O'Hare switch to Metra which will take you further out of the city in any direction. Or once you are at Cumberland Ave. you can zigzag your way through the suburbs.
I just got this map of Chicago Bike Trails put out by the City of Chicago at the LBS the otherday. The website on it is www.ChicagoBikes.org. I would give that a try too.
Taking Devon to the North Branch trail and hence to the Green Bay trail will serve you better. Foster is unduly south, and the lake further east than you need to be, plus by entering the lake at Foster you miss most of the good parts.
If you want to do the Great Chicago Bike Trail tour, take the Blue line, transfer to the Green line, and go down to the Garfield stop, ride your bike east, get on the lake, ride north until you run out of lake, follow the north bike signs to Loyola university, then go west on Devon, stopping for Indian food at one of the dozens of excellent options (I'm partial to Tiffin, me), and thence to the North Branch trail, which runs through the Forest Preserve and is very beautiful. Better start your day early for that one. Most of the beauty of the lake can be seen by going Blue to Red, Red to Roosevelt, and then east a few blocks to the Museum campus, route following the lake as before but skipping ten or so miles down south.
Get the map, it'll help make this stuff clear. Enjoy your stay!
When are you coming in? If the timing works, (work conflicts, etc.) I would be happy to drive you to a safe start point. I wouldn't encourage you to ride out of O'Hare. The el train is a good alternative. PM me if you are interested in a lift.
I've done that ride. It's one of my favorites.
From the American Airlines terminal, I just follow that main road out to Mannheim Road (via Bessie Coleman Road, Zemke Road, and . You can either hang a left onto Mannheim Road (which is like a highway) and ride it to Higgins Road. Take a right on Higgins Road, and take it to River Road. Then take a right (I believe) onto River Road and ride it to Irving Park Road. From there, take a left onto Irving Park Road, and that will take you all the way into the city. I usually like to jump off Irving Park Road at Milwaukee and turn left onto Milwaukee, since it runs west and south into the city and can make it a faster ride than following Irving Park to Chicago. Anyway, take Milwaukee to Division, then you can turn left on Division and ride Division all the way downtown to State Street, then turn right on State Street and ride State Street downtown.
Your other alternative is to take that windy road out of the airport to Mannheim Road. Then turn RIGHT onto Mannheim Road and ride that to Lawrence- this is a bit hair raising, but if you have the balls, it's totally do-able. Turn left on Lawrence Ave, and ride it a few blocks to 25th St. Turn right onto 25th Street and ride it around to Irving Park Road. 25th Street kind of bends after half a mile or so and turns into Irving Park Road. You can follow the above direction on how to ride Irving Park into the city.
The one caveat is that sometimes, the road kind of bends in parts where you're riding around curves that are located next to the forests, and the street lights are spotty at best. So if you ride during the evenings or early morning hours, make sure you are lit like a Christmas tree.
06-23-06, 06:42 AM
A lot depends on the time you arrive. I would not ride in/out of the airport between 7a-10a or 5p-7p and especially not on a Friday evening. I spent 10 years commuting in and out of ORD for sales and it can get really wicked. Middle of the day would be OK but I would take the L otherwise.
If you follow the Irving Park route, a left on Milwaukee (away from the city) is a pretty straight-up route to get to the North Branch trail. Faster and less crowded would be a left on Narraganset, which you follow onto Nagle. Have fun!
06-27-06, 10:57 AM
Hey everyone, thanks for all the tips. I actually found someone i know in downers grove and I'm having the bike/bob sent there and getting pick-up at the airport.
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