Mountain Biking - Chicago - Mountain Biking?
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12-01-04, 09:28 AM
Moving to Chicago from Phoenix in January/February. Yeah, call me crazy, but I need to live in a real city :D
What's the mountain biking scene like in the Chicago area?
I've seen a lot of forest preserves out there, do those allow mountain bikers?
I've seen some things on the web, but don't know the area enough to be able to tell if they're near or far.
12-01-04, 09:37 AM
Hey I've lived around Chicago all my life and have been mountain biking for 4 years now. I'm not sure where your living, so I'll give time estimates from the Loop to the locale.
1. Palos - forest preserve - very popular, a network of trails, not sure about total mileage. Of course here in IL we don't have a lot of climbs but there are some small ones here, and there is some good singletrack. Be careful about the close trails, the FPD doesn't like us much, nor do the hikers/horsebackers. This is probably 30 mins from the loop.
2. Knock Knolls - smaller network of tight, twisty singletrack. Very flat through. Small area with some bowls and stuff that the BMX kids maintain. Used to be alot of big logpiles and stuff but this is a community park so they took them out for safety concerns. Alot of walkers and kids and stuff here since there are alot of houses, so you just have to watch for them, but they are always cool. This place stays wet for awhile after it rains, its like a sponge. This is about 40 mins from loop.
(see cambr.org, Chicago Area Mountain Bikers webpage for more info on above trails)(also see http://cobamtb.org/, they show alot of the trails in IN and WI as well as some smaller stuff around the suburbs)
4. Kettle Morain in southern WI has some great trails, alot of them, with some good climbs. Probably a little over an hour away.
5. Peoria is a couple of hours away and there are three places to ride, my favorite being Jubilee.
Even further out there is a trail called Kickapoo, which is just a one way loop, (neer Champaign/Urbana where U of I is) its a great trail but it is a cruise to get too.
There are also a ton of good trails in Indiana.
PM me if you want more detailed info. Also, check the trail listings on mtbr.com, thats where I found alot of these places.
Michigan and Indiana has a lot of good riding that is fairly close to you. Ft. Custer in MI is a really technical ride and only about 1.5hrs from Chicago (I think). Yankee Springs is a bit north from there, and there are some trails in Indiana I haven't been too but have heard good things about. As far as trails actually in Chicago the only one I have been to thats worth riding is the Palos trail, but really Ft. Custer is almost the same distance (time-wise) and probably safe to say a better ride.
12-01-04, 09:49 AM
Thanks guys! I'll make note of all these places and look them up when I move up there :D
There are a few trails out in the south suburbs too. I like the Thorn Creek Forest Preserves. It's really pretty out there, and you've got good eye candy.
12-03-04, 02:43 PM
20 minutes from my house I have found that the Des Plaines River Trail is good for a training ride. Nothing technical or challenging, but the side trails make it much more fun than hopping sidewalks downtown.
(2HRS) Ft. Custer Park in Michigan is the best around. Two challenging and fast trails (Red and Green) and one good for a warmup (Yellow). Besides, on the way back to the highway if you go through Climax there is a dive bar with good food called The Barking Frog. If food isn't as much a priority, but beer is, stop in Kalamazoo and visit Bell's Brewery. FANTASTIC beer and a kickass outdoor seating area. On a nice day it does not get much better.
(2HRS) Dr. T.K. Lawless Park in Michigan, which is 10 miles of unrelenting singletrack that is a real nice ride.
(2HRS) I thought Kettlemorainne(?) was a bit diappointing. Lots of rocks and nothing intersting near there unless you stop at the VFW on the way home for a beer. I'm not sure where it is exactly, but if you saw the tank AND helicopter in the parking lot you'd know what I mean. Scarry place, but cheap beer.
(2.25HRS) Yankee Springs is too sandy for my heavy butt.
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