I've been pouring over the Chicagoland Bicycle Map and checking web sites such as mapmyride.com looking for a decent way(s) to ride from Chicago to Elgin so I can then bike the Fox River Trail. I'm meeting friends at the Elgin Metra stop and then we're biking up to Elkhorn, WI. I know it'd be easier to just ride the Metra with the group but I want to bike the whole thing, door to door. I've already done similar distances this year so I'm not worried about that.
If I could take the Illinois Prairie Path over from Maywood I'd be mostly set. However, I'm on a nice road bike and have never ridden that trail before. While I've ridden road bikes with 23c tires on crushed limestone it just doesn't seem smart to ride that far on an unfamiliar trail, especially at the very start of the trip. And it'd probably be slow going.
All the good roads on the Chicagoland Map are short and very fragmented. I'd be zig zagging back and forth trying to stay on the recommended roads, adding ugly miles to an already long trip. There just doesn't seem to be a good way to travel due west on a bike! I'll be riding out from the Logan Square neighborhood in Chicago near Diversey and California (near northwest side).
Anyone ever done something like this or have any suggestions for good roads along the way? I'm still trying to figure out whether to go north or south of O'Hare at this point so I'm pretty much open to anything!
I had already planned (and mostly ridden) a great route heading north out of the city and then northwest through the Fox Lake area but the group I'm meeting up with is adamant about doing the Fox River Trail. I could just ride alone but I'd like to be social if possible.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.