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  1. #1
    already soaked perspiration's Avatar
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    Chicago Suburban/area bike touring/camping

    Hi everyone, I just got a new ultralite tent for my birthday and some panniers for christmas so I'm trying to plan out some weekend bike tours around the Chicago Suburban area. I know about Starved Rock, and that's bikeable in a 4 day weekend, but I was wondering if there are any other good campgrounds/forest preserves to camp in the DuPage-ish area. I really know nothing about it since my Boy scout days, and all the campgrounds we went to had spots designated for youth groups only.

    Alternatively, has anyone tried stealth camping in the suburbs? It doesn't seem like it would work too well, but who knows!
    If it's peace you find in dying, and if dying time is near,
    Just bundle up my coffin 'cause it's cold way down there!

  2. #2
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    I think Herrick Lake might have some camping. I'm not sure how it could be enjoyable, though. Anything remotely close to "open space" in DuPage County tends to be absolutely packed.

    I did two camping-by-bike trips last year and had fun on both. Both started on the Fox River Trail in Genevea/Batavia/St. Charles. One went out the Great Western Trail to Sycamore, then on to Oregon (where there are plenty of camping opportunities). The other went down the trail until it ended, the continued on roads to the I&M canal. From there I headed west to the Hennepin, then north on the Hennepin feeder and up into Dixon. No shortage of places to camp on either of those.

    Not sure where in the Chicagoland you're located, but a metra ride to one of the farther outlying suburb could make something like Marengo Ridge or Shabbona lake a fairly relaxing day.

    The pic is the second night of the I&M/Hennepin canal pic. I was I was with another dude, and we ended up riding well into the dark. These little camping areas are all over on that trail. Pretty cool... and no tent needed if you've got a tarp!
    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink
    Last edited by MJH2; 03-01-12 at 07:40 PM. Reason: Edited for pic.

  3. #3
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    MJH2 - what route did you take from Sycamore to Oregon? I don't see any trails and my impression is those country roads out there have little or no shoulder and sees a lot of truck traffic.

  4. #4
    already soaked perspiration's Avatar
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    Herrick Lake was one of my favorite Boy Scout campouts, but I only know about the youth cabin they have there.

    The Fox River trail has to be my favorite bike path so far in Illinois...and I'm basically in love with St. Charles. Oh to live by the river... I'd love to take another bike ride out that way. I'll look into this further!

    I'm located around Westmont/Downer's Grove and a buddy and I rode up to DeKalb last summer, maybe we should have gone farther but I didn't see a ton of camping opportunities. Stealth camping, maybe...
    If it's peace you find in dying, and if dying time is near,
    Just bundle up my coffin 'cause it's cold way down there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by perspiration View Post
    Herrick Lake was one of my favorite Boy Scout campouts, but I only know about the youth cabin they have there.

    The Fox River trail has to be my favorite bike path so far in Illinois...and I'm basically in love with St. Charles. Oh to live by the river... I'd love to take another bike ride out that way. I'll look into this further!

    I'm located around Westmont/Downer's Grove and a buddy and I rode up to DeKalb last summer, maybe we should have gone farther but I didn't see a ton of camping opportunities. Stealth camping, maybe...
    It takes me about 4 mins to roll downhill to the Fox River Trail. It's some of the best riding around, although parts can get a little crowded in the summer. Looping the Fox River and Prairie Path is a blast... especially at night in the fall.

    The closest camping to DeKalb is probably going to be Shabbona Lake State Park.

    MJH2 - what route did you take from Sycamore to Oregon? I don't see any trails and my impression is those country roads out there have little or no shoulder and sees a lot of truck traffic.
    There are no trails, but there are some awesome (mostly) dirt roads that effectively parallel Route 64. There's a road by the pizza hut in Sycamore that goes west. It's a little busy. After a few miles you're on dirt. Having ridden that route a couple of times, I can say that you will see hardly anybody once you're a few miles past Sycamore. The few cars you do see will give you plenty of room, and most everybody will waive.

  6. #6
    One Man Fast Brick hubcap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJH2 View Post
    There are no trails, but there are some awesome (mostly) dirt roads that effectively parallel Route 64. There's a road by the pizza hut in Sycamore that goes west. It's a little busy. After a few miles you're on dirt. Having ridden that route a couple of times, I can say that you will see hardly anybody once you're a few miles past Sycamore. The few cars you do see will give you plenty of room, and most everybody will waive.
    I'm a little late chiming in here, but I was searching for something, saw this thread, and though I would share my similar experience. I live in St. Charles and have ridden to Sycamore on the Great Western and then on the small roads south of and paralleling Rt 64 to Oregon, and from there on to White Pines State Park. I would hazard a guess that we took a very similar route between Sycamore and Oregon. Some of the roads are paved, some are gravel, and some are indeed dirt.

    Perspiration, if you pull up Google maps, it will be pretty obvious to you how to get to Oregon without spending much time on Rt. 64. It's an enjoyable ride.

  7. #7
    already soaked perspiration's Avatar
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    I will look into it! Any tips on good jobs in St. Charles? lol! Every time I go through there I think about how much I'd like to live there.
    If it's peace you find in dying, and if dying time is near,
    Just bundle up my coffin 'cause it's cold way down there!

  8. #8
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    The gwt.. Is that ridable on 700x32c tires? Want to do it from randall rd in elgin, but not sure if i should take my touring bike or mtb..

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by boogman View Post
    The gwt.. Is that ridable on 700x32c tires? Want to do it from randall rd in elgin, but not sure if i should take my touring bike or mtb..
    As of 11:00am today, it was absolutely fine with a 700x23. It would take A LOT of rain to make it too rough for a 700x32. I'd say go with the touring bike.

    If you took the Randall Road trail south into Leroy Oaks, it will run you right to the eastern end of the GWT. The trail is now mostly paved out to Rte. 47, anyway.

  10. #10
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    Here's a discussion on this topic, including a very helpful map someone created..

    http://www.thechainlink.org/group/ch...AGroup%3A27677


    too bad there is so little choice here in chicago.. the woes of living the midwest..

  11. #11
    One Man Fast Brick hubcap's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link! A lot of good information with that Google map.

    http://g.co/maps/zfhh4

  12. #12
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    I actually grew up right on the DG/westmont border... right by twin lakes golf course. I haven't been, but I hear Blackwell forest preserve in winfield is really nice, and it's right off the IL prairie path I believe. I'm in North Aurora now, about 3 miles from the Fox, and I have friends in winfield, so I'm hoping to ride the aurora branch of the prairie path and through Blackwell whenever weather and schedule permits.

  13. #13
    Fax Transport Specialist black_box's Avatar
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    You might want to check this out:

    Schaumburg REI — Overnight Bicycle Touring Basics with Trails for Illinois
    Date: 5/2/2012
    Event Location: Schaumburg REI
    Event Fee: Free
    Time: 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (CDT)
    http://www.rei.com/event/39635/session/50023

  14. #14
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    Anyone planing doing ths short overnight tour?

    http://trailsforillinois.tumblr.com/gityup

  15. #15
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    I just finished a quick trip from the near west suburbs to Channahon State Park. About 45 miles each way, a '71 Schwinn Suburban, a tent, a sleeping bag, and a box of granola bars. A lot of fun for my first time.

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