The Chainlink

Hey!

I'm going to ride to Lake Geneva Wisconsin this weekend.  Does anyone have a good route they've used? Every time I ride up to around Crystal Lake I always end up somehow taking the worst county highways with no shoulders and spend hours getting honked at and almost run over by trucks.  Any suggestions for a non-death route would be great...

Thanks!

The Nefarious Dinosaur Patrol

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I can't speak from experience but have you tried the new Google maps option for bicycles? Here's a sample map from 60657:
http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UT...
I rode there from Harvard this summer. Here's a link to my friend's blog entry with route: http://reallyboring.net/?p=28

Mostly quiet country roads (some unpaved) most of the way though we were forced onto some busier roads closer to Lake Geneva. Of course if your riding there from the city you would probably want a completely different route.
Thanks!

Jared said:
I rode there from Harvard this summer. Here's a link to my friend's blog entry with route: http://reallyboring.net/?p=28

Mostly quiet country roads (some unpaved) most of the way though we were forced onto some busier roads closer to Lake Geneva. Of course if your riding there from the city you would probably want a completely different route.
Once you get out to Crystal Lake there's tons of quiet country roads you can bike. And rather than suggest any specific route, I'd suggest you DESIGN your own route, using good paper maps of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. All cyclists should have a supply of PAPER maps...as great as Google and other online maps might be, their use while riding a bicycle is limited. If you find yourself on busy highways, it is only because you don't have a decently detailed map in your jersey pocket.

The Great Pacific Chicagoland Map & Guide ($6) shows all the paved roads in our entire Chicagoland area, all the way to the Wisconsin border. From Crystal Lake, I like to take Valley View Rd north to McHenry, and then country roads from there. There is no reason to ride busy roads with trucks.

The Milwaukee Map Service map of Southeastern Wisconsin ($8) also shows all paved country roads beginning at the Illinois border.

As Jared's friend's pictures show, it is a beautiful ride.
You could try and use the Prairie Trail to the state line, which is the old Chicago & Northwestern railroad right-of-way that extended from Crystal Lake north. It actually went all the way to Lake Geneva, but I believe the path ends at the state line.

Here is the Google map.
Since I live in Kenosha, I have a few routes that you can take. The quickest but not the most safest route is on HWY 50. This has a decent shoulder for the most part except when you get to with in 2 miles of Lake Geneva. Also this has a lot of shops, bars, food stops. Traffic on weekends can get hairy though. Are you riding in from the city? A more serene tour is county P to old rustic rd in Kenosha county. This is before you get to Burlinton. Old Rustic Road has roller coaster hills and is off the beaten path. This road goes west a while and ends up going almost to Lyons. Stay off of Hwy 83 and Hwy 45. Both of these are really fast and the shoulders are littered with glass, nails, along with broken bottles right now until the county gets to sweep them and clear all of the junk from winter. Pick up a Rand Mcnally guide or some of their road maps to look at for Walworth county along with Lake and McHenry, Also a GPS unit would be a good investment since you are on your own if you get lost out in the sticks. I have goten lost out here a few times, thank God for maps and my Garmin. I have used both of the guides Clark stated in his post. Both of these are top notched for the price. Another good source of route maps to take a look at are by local bike clubs' que sheets. Velo Club Rouboix along with Evanston Bike Club, BCLC have decent sized libraies on various routes they have ridden out here along with Mchenry bike club also. I hope this was helpful. Good luck and be safe Dino patrol.
I used (from Elgin) this route:
http://maps.google.com/maps?hq=http://maps.google.com/help/maps/dir...
If you don't like the crushed lime stone section between Ringwood and Richmond, use alternative roads (Ringwood Rd - Pioneer Rd - Solon Rd - Rt. 31) instead.
Have a good trip,
Bernd
I noticed, the map-link did not print properly. I meant to suggest: take Fox River and Prairie Trails north (ending in a backyard on the WI state line. Then take Hwy 'H' to Lake Geneva.
Bernd

Bernd von Sosen said:
I used (from Elgin) this route:
http://maps.google.com/maps?hq=http://maps.google.com/help/maps/dir...
If you don't like the crushed lime stone section between Ringwood and Richmond, use alternative roads (Ringwood Rd - Pioneer Rd - Solon Rd - Rt. 31) instead.
Have a good trip,
Bernd

I did this ride yesterday- started on the North Shore Trail, then Green Bay/McClory to Millennium Trail to Prairie Trail to regular roads to get into Geneva. It was a nice ride (though super hot) but there is massive road construction just after the bridge you hit as you exit the Moraine Hills park- on Charles J Miller Road (west of S. River Road). It was a big mess that forced us to walk/carry our loaded bikes through maybe a quarter mile of sand/construction gunk and doesn't look like it'll be cleared up anytime soon. Road on the other side of the street was very tight with no shoulder.  But other than that the ride was great! We skipped out on a few parts of the Millennium Trail that aren't direct and found the county roads around there to be okay. Not great, but okay. Drivers gave us a ton of room whenever they could but there was construction that created choke points that were tricky.

Rode to Harvard to take the Metra home today- some really nice hilly back roads on that 20 mile ride. Many intersections out that way have no street signs though so GPS or some navigation aid is critical. 

On the way to Waterford, WI, I've gone as far as Genoa City at State line on the Prarie Path.  From La Grange Park I took the Salt Creek Trail to the Illinois Prarie Path (IPP) to the Great Western Trail (Starting in Villa PK) back to the IPP Elgin Branch to the Fox River Trail to the Prarie Path.  It's not as direct or fast as roads, but you are in shade most of the time and it's fairly flat (Except just north of Crystal Lake). From LGP it's 67 miles to the state line.  The Fox River portion of the trail is beautiful.

Its been a few years so you may want to check on some of this but its a delightful ride. Here is a cue sheet to Lake Geneva from the Panera in downtown Wilmette.

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