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Illinois Prairie Path

Old 11-29-20, 08:07 AM
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k0guz
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Illinois Prairie Path

There's a new YouTube playlist up with eight videos averaging 45 minutes each, following every mile of the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin electric railroad along the Illinois Prairie Path. They were taken last August. If you've ever ridden on this iconic rail trail, you'll find something you didn't know in this meticulously documented history of the railroad and trail. If not, it may inspire you to take a trip.





Illinois Prairie Path, York Road, Elmhurst
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Old 12-04-20, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by k0guz View Post
There's a new YouTube playlist up with eight videos averaging 45 minutes each, following every mile of the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin electric railroad along the Illinois Prairie Path. They were taken last August. If you've ever ridden on this iconic rail trail, you'll find something you didn't know in this meticulously documented history of the railroad and trail. If not, it may inspire you to take a trip.





Illinois Prairie Path, York Road, Elmhurst
Thanks for the link, k0guz. Have ridden the path several times, round-trip from Wheaton to St. Charles. Usually visit a bike shop, eat, ride by the Fox River, and return. Once or twice, we've taken the bikes on the train, from the Wheaton station, and only ridden back. Very nice, easy, quite-flat ride (as most of Chicagoland); also recommended.
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Old 12-05-20, 06:50 AM
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Thanks. Living in far eastern Cook County I don't get to the western burbs much. I'd never even heard of the Illinois Prairie Path. More places to explore.
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Old 12-11-20, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
Thanks. Living in far eastern Cook County I don't get to the western burbs much. I'd never even heard of the Illinois Prairie Path. More places to explore.
Might you be new to the area? You do know the North Branch trail, closer to your area, right? Between you and I, that is my favorite Chicagoland ride, bar none, and maybe anywhere.
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Old 12-11-20, 10:09 AM
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I haven't ridden it since the 1980s. Thanks for posting this.
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Old 12-11-20, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by BiciMan View Post
Might you be new to the area? You do know the North Branch trail, closer to your area, right? Between you and I, that is my favorite Chicagoland ride, bar none, and maybe anywhere.
Well, I'm no native, but I've lived here since 1999. I've ridden way north and way south (as far as St Joe, MI a couple times). I am familiar with the North Branch Trail, Green Bay Trail, Des Plaines River Trail, Lakefront Trail. Still, I mostly ride on the road. I tend to think that the speeds I generally ride at (15-20mph) aren't conducive to MUPs.

My normal decision process when going for a ride takes place between the basement door and the sidewalk, "North or South today? Okay, how far?" That's about it. Going east/west in the Chicago area is generally not as bike friendly. I just mostly take the paths (or roads) of least resistance.
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Old 12-13-20, 08:12 PM
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You folks don't appreciate the biking gems you have in the Chicago area! I live in western Colorado, and included the Prairie Path in a rail-trail itinerary a few years ago. My ride was truncated because it was cold and rainy and my cousin lost his enthusiasm, but I plan to return as soon as the weather and Covid allows. I'm planning to stay with my cousin near Joliet, and to take my bike on METRA to visit a number of the trails....
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Old 01-21-21, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
Going east/west in the Chicago area is generally not as bike friendly. I just mostly take the paths (or roads) of least resistance.
For those of use near the Prairie Path, though, east-west is a breeze. The Prairie Path and the much-newer Great Western Trail more or less parallel each other out to western DuPage County and they make a nice loop because they connect at each end. Both are very well maintained and smooth and the Great Western is good for fast riding because it sees only about 1/10th the traffic and has much longer distances between road crossings.

As a railroad buff, I am drawn to the rail-trails to see what is left from "the old days". Old bridges, mileposts, signal foundations, depots.... Always stuff to look out for.

The real eye-opener is how much the western legs of the Prairie Path have filled in over the years with sprawl. It isn't "prairie" any more!
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Old 01-29-21, 02:41 PM
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The Great Western Trail west of St Charles is awesome. Wide open, smooth crushed limestone and access to lots of adjacent quiet country roads. It's usually pretty empty out there and you can ride as fast as you want.

The Prairie Path is great too, but as noted there are many many more street crossings and more traffic, so definitely not a high speed route.
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Old 02-02-21, 02:57 PM
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The Kane and Dekalb County portion is definitely on my list for this year; for a long time I avoided it because I assumed there would be fierce winds whipping across the farm fields LOL! Then I rode on it one time and found it to be very pleasant, smooth and shady like the Dupage section. Not crowded either, even on a holiday weekend.
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