The Chainlink

What Are Your Favorite Chicago-Area Bike Lanes, Paths & Routes?

Ok, now that we've been exploring the routes we avoid in the "Dreaded Bike-Unfriendly Streets", what are routes you prefer to take? Whether you are commuting, going for a weekend bike ride, or just heading to the grocery store, do you have some favorite bike routes?

The Mellow Chicago Bike Map - Collaboration of The Chainlink & Streetsblog

John gives a great recap of everything we've recommended in his article. Definitely worth a read!

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John Greenfield gathered all of our favorites into this map:

The Mellow Chicago Bike Map - Collaboration of The Chainlink & Streetsblog

John gives a great recap of everything we've recommended in his article. Definitely worth a read!

My preferred route from Lincoln Square to Lakefront: Sunnyside (through ped plaza b/w Beacon & Magnolia) to Racine to (wrong way on) Sunnyside/Clifton to Montrose to alley under CTA tracks (along Challenger Park) to Buena to LSD viaduct to Peace Garden on Lakefront Trail.

I used to live around Damen and Wilson.  I usually -- along with a fair number of other cyclists -- would take Leland.  Heading west (from the Lakefront), we'd turn south a block on Clark to go to Wilson, where we'd continue west.  Leland also involves a cut-through a park (Arai Campus Park) and a couple short blocks along Marine Drive (not busy here). 

I, too, prefer Leland.  

I tried commenting on the Disqus part of the Streetsblog article,but oddly my comment wasn't going through there. So I'll repost here, what I was intending to post there in the Disqus comments section. Sigh:

I'm very surprised Elston Avenue wasn't shaded, on this map. Also IMO, Wilson should be shaded from Pulaski east to the lakefront. I've never had a problem biking ANYWHERE along Wilson, and during the day it's a nice low traffic alternative to Montrose and Lawrence.

Just note if you bike west of Pulaski on Wilson, the width of the street isn't as wide, vs. east of Pulaski. But it's still bikeable. From Montrose/Kostner as a north and eastbound shortcut to get to Wilson/Pulaski, I use Kostner(going north, left turn), Wilson(east, right turn), Kildare(north, left turn), Elston(southeast, right turn), Kennicott(northeast, you make the left turn from Elston right after passing Ay Ay Picante restaurant), Kasson(southeast, right turn), then get onto Wilson.

Another east-west street I'm very surprised wasn't shaded for this map, was Augusta Blvd.(1000 north). For Pilsen, I'm surprised 19th Street wasn't shaded from Western east to Halsted. Note that one block of 19th St. is one way westbound(Wolcott to Damen), so at that point you'd bike to Cullerton to get around that if you're going east. There's a cool painting on the northwest corner of Cullerton and Wolcott btw, you might want to take a brief stop to admire! The rest of 19th, is a 2 way street. And within the Bridgeport neighborhood, Wallace is a good north-south street to bike on. Don't forget just north of Peterson and south of Devon, Granville is a good alternative east of Kedzie Avenue to the lakefront.

Wolcott isn't a bad street to use, just be warned that there is NO traffic light at Foster/Wolcott, or at Irving Park/Wolcott. I'll probably think of more later.

Hmm, ... It seems to me that some of the streets you mention (Wilson, Granville) are only 'comfortable' or 'low stress' only if the cyclist is willing to "take the lane" and hold up traffic [that may be impatient:)]  On these streets, motor vehicle traffic can pass you (if you are riding outside of the door zone) only when there is no traffic coming in the other direction, which may be easy at some times of day, but in my experience is often not the case for these roads.  Wilson, around Lincoln Sq. and Ravenswood, gets really busy on the weekends and at (extended) rush hours.  Same with Granville in Edgewater and West Ridge.

Remember cyclists: Never ever ride in the door zone!

I'd say Wilson east of Western or Lincoln is acceptable, but not west of there.  Wilson narrows considerably. 

East of Lincoln on Wilson you can ride comfortably almost, but not quite, out of the door zone.  West, it's too narrow to ride comfortably with cars passing. 

I myself wish that all cars would pass (when I'm cycling) not with the legal minimum of 3 feet, but with more like 6 feet. That means busy (i.e. high traffic volume) streets without the space for: 1) me to ride outside the door zone (of parked cars), and 2) for motor vehicles to pass me by going over into the opposing lane (i.e. 5-6 feet away) are not what I call "low stress" or "family friendly".

Wilson from Pulaski east is actually fine.  I ride it all the time, and it's one street that can get you across the river.  The view from the bridge is beautiful.  Never had a problem on it.

Looks like you might have been inadvertently blacklisted on Disqus -- sorry about that. You should be able to post on Streetsblog now.

I bike through Bridgeport almost every day.  Wallace would be my last option.  It's by far the most dangerous street in the neighborhood.  It was designed with stop signs every block to encourage a slow pace past the many schools along that route, but that is absolutely NOT how motorists treat it.  Most of them speed, blow the stops signs at full speed, and barrel past pedestrians etc. who have the right away, even if a school crossing guard is stopping them.  CPD don't care and, in fact, are among the worst offenders. It's also a CTA bus route.


Halsted has a bike lane.  For a more chill experience, take literally any of the side streets.  The average speed on those is something like 10 MPH.  Several have cul-de-sacs and speed bumps. 

Some E/W love: 67th/Marquette is a nice ride from Jackson Park to Pulaski at least (bike lane, not too much traffic, but also not so little that cars speed).

On Sunday mornings (I can't vouch for rush hour!), I love to ride out Roosevelt to Ogden, and take Ogden until I'm out of the city. It's a time warp, not just a slice of still-industrial Chicago but even the retail is a throwback (there's a video store!). 


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