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  1. #1
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    Cycling to Chicago, but where to start?

    Hi, I am planning on flying to the States from London in June/July to complete a solo charity ride for my niece, who is suffering from a brain tumour. She lives in Chicago so that's where my trip will end.

    What I'm not sure about is where to start from. I'm looking at 3 possibilities.
    • New York
    • Washington DC
    • Montreal


    What I am struggling with is to decide which one. My main criteria are that:

    1. I will be travelling on my own with full camping gear so don't want to be travelling more than 80 miles a day without a camp site or motel
    2. I'm used to the hills of Europe but I don't want to be doing silly elevations, that's not the point of the trip
    3. I really want to avoid big roads with heavy traffic and major cities wherever possible between start and finish


    I have looked up various websites but frankly the information is pretty confusing and doesn't tell you all that much without you parting with cash first.

    Any advice would be massively appreciated, especially if you have done something similar.

    Chris

  2. #2
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Nothing specific, but I certainly would start from the west, not the east.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Consularrider's Avatar
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    What kind of bike will you be riding? Heading west out of Washington, DC, you can ride to Pittsburg on a combination of the C&O Canal Towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage. Not a paved trail though.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies. I appreciate that it may be better west to east but I want to finish in Chicago as that's where my family are.
    I am riding a Boardman CX Pro, so should be OK on non paved tracks as long as they are not designed for monster trucks...

  5. #5
    Senior Member garysol1's Avatar
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    You may want to post this question in the touring section of this forum. You will find many people there with lots of route knowledge.

  6. #6
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blighty_Biker View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I appreciate that it may be better west to east but I want to finish in Chicago as that's where my family are.
    I am riding a Boardman CX Pro, so should be OK on non paved tracks as long as they are not designed for monster trucks...
    I meant to start west of Chicago. East of Chicago is nothing but peaple and cars.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Posted this in touring but will repost here:

    My suggestion: start in Montreal, cut into New York State at Kingston Ontario (which is a wonderful small city) on the ferry to Wolfe Island then Cape Vincent -- the ferry rides are really enjoyable and incredibly scenic as you cross the St Lawrence -- then follow the Seaway trail down around Oswego along the southern shore of Lake Ontario -- this is a beautiful route, no cities (except Oswego, which is pretty small and easy to get through), in fact very rural, then you can either hook up to the Erie Canal towpath or follow the Adventure Cycling Northern Tier Route (which you can actually pick up north of Oswego), which takes you to Niagara Falls.

    Cross over into Ontario, follow the Lake Erie Connector route of Adventure Cycling along the northern shore of Lake Erie, cross over into Michigan. The State of Michigan has available a wonderful set of cycling maps for $5 each which cover regions of the state, and show trails, roads and how bikeable they are, etc., available online (link above). Go to Muskegon as mentioned above, take the ferry across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee, then bike south to Chicago.

    This way you get to see some of the most scenic parts of the Great Lakes region east of Chicago, avoid for the most part urban areas, and this particular route also is not very hilly compared to say the route from DC or NYC to Chicago.
    My bike touring blog: http://chipbiking.wordpress.com

  8. #8
    Still learning oddjob2's Avatar
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    You could also do a tour of the great lakes, starting in cleveland, Ohio, Michigan, Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Chicago. You don't have to follow the route below!


    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=687
    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein
    2014 Additions: 1985 Trek 560, 1992 Trek Multitrack 700 (my 2nd), 1994 Trek Carbon 2200, Peugeot PX-10, 1981 Schwinn Voyager, 1989 Bridgestone RB-1

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