Great Lakes - What are some great rides near Chicago?
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05-09-07, 10:05 AM
I'm just starting to get into cycling and am looking for a few good places to ride near Chicago. I've been riding the North Branch Trail (that goes from Devon to The Botanic Garden) and I've been enjoying that a great deal, but I'd like to get some variety in my (cycling) diet. Ideally, something not to far from the city where I can get a 40ish mile ride without having to stop and wait to cross a street (and if the pavement has a few less bumps, that wouldn't be so bad).
Any suggestions would be great, and thanks for the help.
05-09-07, 11:22 AM
Riding the entire lakefront path from Hollywood to 71st street and back is about 36 miles and doesn't involve a huge number of street crossings (far fewer and much less annoying than those on the North Branch Trail IMO). Just make sure you do it at an off-peak time and watch out for clueless tourists near Navy Pier and the museum campus.
Ditto on Lakefront path, I usually get out there around 7:00am and it is still not too crowded. As the weather warms up and the tri groups get out there it will become more and more crowded but if you want to be able to go at a sustained speed without lights, then this is your choice. Also if you go north of Botanical Garden then you get into some long nice rodes and the traffic is greatly reduced.
+1 on the lakefront path. I find the northern half...museum campus to Hollywood a bit congested with commuters and tourists at times. Two southern loops from the museum campus to 71st and back is roughly 40 miles, and is MUCH less crowded than the northern half plus the pavement is nicer although eye candy is scarce. I ride the lakefront every Tuesday after work if anyone's interested in a riding partner. You can continue the North Branch Trail after you get to the Garden. There's a paved trail just northwest of the Botanic Gardens that starts behind the Shell station. I think it's about 8 miles or so and takes you to Green Bay road in North Chicago. You're on your own from there...I just ride the streets from there on. Other than that, I don't know of any routes in/near Chicago that don't require a bajillion stops.
06-01-07, 01:54 PM
If you really want to avoid city riding, you can take the Metra to a few different places. At Wheaton, you can take either of two different branches of the Illinois Prairie Path. One goes all the way to Aurora (with a branch that splits off to Batavia), or the Elgin branch (which has another branch that splits off to Geneva). All these cities are located on the Fox River, which has a path along it. There are also different Metra lines that you can begin and end your trip at. So there are tons of different combinations of routes, its up to you to figure out which to do.
Also, there is the Robert McClory Bike Trail that goes from the north suburbs all the way up to Wisconsin. Once again, you could take the Metra out of the city to get there, or just bike the whole way.
06-29-07, 08:47 AM
Ditto on the Metra option. Take it up to Winnetka / Kennleworth / Highland Park and ride north from there. Sheridan Road is a good ride with very little traffic, and there is a bike trail that follows the Metra tracks starting somewhere north of Winnetka and runs north of Lake Forest/ Lake Bluff.
I love riding up in that area.
Get a copy of the Northshore Century que sheet and you can ride from Evanston up to Kenosha and back.
Sheridan road is good just as you hit Wilmette. Anything south is a tad rough.
06-29-07, 11:28 PM
I know this Kenosha --> Chicago trail well. If I had to recommend, I like the Great Lakes --> Evanston section best. I'm from Kenosha and have done the other half lots (McClory) its mostly limestone and there isn't a whole lot of diversity. Although the people in NC/Waukegan/Zion are extremely different from the monotony of the richer areas south of the Naval Base. My $.02
If you can take the train you might be interested in getting up to Winthorp Harbor and bicycling up a very quiet Sheridan Rd. and linking up with the trail (turn right on 116th to go through the Carol Beach area) that will meander somewhat, but take you through a rather scenic lakeshore and into Racine with a few dfferent options for trail type (through heart of town + along root river, or lakeshore) http://www.wgtd.org/trailhome.htm
You can without much trouble (besides the efort) link from Milwaukee to Chicago with this series of trail.
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