The Chainlink

Updated (Video): Recommended bike route to get to Big Marsh

UPDATE

I made it out there. Thanks for the suggestions. Link shows the route:

https://www.relive.cc/view/1012113682

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ORIGINAL

It's been a while since I've been wanting to head out to the Big Marsh. This weekend every other trail is expected to be closed except the Marsh so it might make sense for me to try to get out there. 

I don't own a car and have typically used trains and buses to commute out to the trails (for those interested). However, it seems that there is no easy way to commute out there via bus or train on a Saturday morning.

So, I was thinking of heading south on the Lake Front Path (I'm coming from the west loop). And then figuring out a route from Mile 0 of LFT to get me to the Big Marsh.

However, I do recall some guys at a BMX shop in Wicker Park telling me this was definitely asking for trouble. They assured I would most likely get my bike stolen. I have a 7 year old mountain bike and I was born and raised my whole life in Mexico so this had not even crossed my mind before. That being said, I have just been in this city for a year and a half and I'm not very familiar with the south neighborhoods in Chicago.

So, I would appreciate any insights from those who are familiar with these areas. If you know a route, have any tips or recommendations, let me know. 

Picture of my bike below:

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I am guessing the BMX person probably hasn't ridden to Big Marsh. Mostly, I think the concerns I have going to Big Marsh is how to avoid the busy, wide streets with high-speed traffic. When I get stuck, I am not above getting on the sidewalk when I need to.

Here's what has been said on this subject:

http://activetrans.org/blog/safe-bike-access-big-marsh

http://www.thechainlink.org/forum/topics/best-northside-route-to-bi...

This is great info Yasmeen, that second link is pretty close to what I had in mind. Might make more sense to jump on Jefferey Ave on 67th. I think I might have even had that thread pinned or bookmarked somewhere but I lost track of it. 

http://http://www.thechainlink.org/forum/topics/best-northside-rout...

Had to go back a ways but found it. Please post any updates/better suggestions when you return.

Yes, this is gold, and will do, thanks! 

I've ridden through these areas and beyond. Never had an issue myself.

https://ridewithgps.com/trips/11793684

Same here.  I've ridden through these areas many times over the last 20 years and never had an incident.

That goes through 90% of the route I was originally thinking about, thanks for the input. 

Clearly, what the BMX boys said was based on their fear of the "other" and the unknown.

^yep.

Too common a situation, unfortunately.

My hope is that by addressing the core issue ("fear of the unknown"), we can change this mindset or at least answer it in a healthy environment. As I mentioned in my post, I doubt the BMX person has any first-hand experience and I'm glad that didn't deter Marcelo from coming to CL and asking for route recommendations.

In addition to coming to CL and asking other cyclists that are familiar with an area, I also love the option of going on a group ride to an area you are less familiar with. Your fellow cyclists will likely include people that know the area well and can point you to the best routes. 

I also caution people - don't assume an area is "safe". I've had near misses, distracted drivers, and dangerous situations all over what is considered "safe" areas to ride - just going to the grocery store or meeting up with friends at a restaurant. I frequently pass ghost bikes within a mile radius of the "safe" neighborhood I live in. 

I was unaware this was a recurring theme around here but it sure came as a surprise. Specially since their comment was not prompted in any way. I just pondered on how I could get there when they told me about this new park. 

In all fairness, I was very new to the city back then and they might have just wanted to err on the side of caution. They probably just wanted me to be careful. Coming from a big city in Mexico myself, I would also caution people not to venture with too much confidence into certain areas, even if I frequented them myself. Hence why I decided to reach out in this forum where I know many people would be more familiar with commuting around the city than in that particular shop. 

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