Thanks for the encouragement Alex! That IS a beautiful ride. The Illinois Prairie Path is a great resource for us cyclists.
But I like to turn north in Elgin, and ride the paved Fox River bike path all the way up to Crystal Lake and spend the night in a cheap hotel. And then leave early the next morning and bike back...through Algonquin, Barrington Hills and the northwest suburbs. Or across through Libertyville, and down the McClory bike path. There's many beautiful country roads out there to enjoy. And a few hills, which you do not get on those flat, flat bike paths. In planning my route, I use the Chicagoland Bike Map for reference.
It's been awhile since I was on the northern branch of the IPP...but I remember the nice long stretches. Coming from the east, now that I live in the city, the stops at the street crossings are a drag.
I really miss the crunch of leaves on the crushed limestone...or even dodging chipmunks racing between my front and back tires.
i was about a mile or two away from the fox river bike path but i turned back because i still had to come all the way back to the city. I will try to give it another shot either this weekend or the next :)
Yup, all those crossings are a drag but i wonder why dont they pave the bike paths down that way...
I was thinking the same thing.
You'll have to remember to bring some Bungee cords, they almost wouldn't let me on but I used a belt to secure the bikes.
You could always Metra it out to wherever, and ride the length back into the city.
The Aurora Metra station is just a few blocks from the southern tip of the Fox River trail. The Aurora Branch of the IPP stops right around there as well.
What's especially nice about that is that there's a UP-NW metra station just a few blocks from the Fox River trail up in Crystal Lake, about 40 miles north of Aurora. One of my favorite rides in the city is to take the Metra to Aurora, ride the trail up to Crystal Lake, then take the Metra back. Or vice versa.
And I agree with you, taking a bike on the Metra is much, much simpler than it sounds. I think a lot of cyclists in the city are missing out on some great paths in the suburbs because they think it's too difficult to get out there.
Bernard Joseph Hannigan said:
I took the Metra BNSF from Berwyn heading west on Saturday...There were already 6 bikes stacked up that close in to union station when I boarded. I brought a bungee, but only one of the bikes were secured...Many of the riders were heading to Aurora to pick up the Fox trail in that vicinity, it must be close to the train station. That was my first trip on Metra with a bicycle, and it was not as complex as I thought it could be.
Take Metra out to Geneva. Head north on the Fox River Trail and make your way to the Great Western Trail where it resumes westward from Leroy Oakes FP.
The GWT west of St. Charles is flat and straight like you wouldn't believe. You begin to understand the phrase "Great Corn Desert". There are maybe 5 cross streets in that entire segment of the GWT. Take water. There are drinking fountains all along the FRT but none on GWT west of St. Charles.