The Chainlink

First thread, here goes:

I'm Stephen, 27 and lover of road bikes and trips for only 3-4 years.  The irony is I moved to Chicago 3ish years ago..

Commuting by bike in Chicago is many things: exciting, efficient, and encouraging.  Biking wakes you up, saves you money, and propels you to tomorrow.

Then there's long-distance.  Not racing nor training, but biking as travel.  I've biked to Southwest Michigan and Southeast Wisconsin - both trips similar in distance and difficulty.

 

Anyone have a good 2 day/1 night group trip model they recommend?

 

Be easy,

 

Stephen

Northside, Chicago

Smaiseloff@gmail.com

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Jeff, according to Mapquest - shortest distance, avoiding highways, toll roads and seasonally closed roads mind you - it's around 12 miles from the Joilet Metra station to US-6 and South McKinley Woods Road. It's probably a bit shorter than that because the closest trailhead is actually east of S McKinley and US-6.

Keep in mind I haven't actually ridden this myself. I just had Mapquest give me a point A to B, but it might help.

Best of luck!

Jeff said:
Do you have directions from the Joliet train station to the trailhead? Thanks.


mindfrieze said:
Take Metra to Joliet and bike the I&M Canal trail to Starved Rock and back. I think it's around 60 miles one way.
I can do crushed limestone with my road bike.
When I commuted out to Wheaton on the Prairie Path I rode crushed limestone. My road bike did quite well and never got chips/nicks. The Starved Rock ride sounds great. My preferred bike though is a longtail and it isn't allowed on the train so I would have to use my road bike.

Tony Adams said:
H3N3 said:
Probably means crushed limestone. Can do on a road bike if you don't mind getting your frame chipped up.
Liz W. Durham said:
I & M Canal Trail is "groomed trail". Does this mean it would be road bike friendly?

mindfrieze said:
Take Metra to Joliet and bike the I&M Canal trail to Starved Rock and back. I think it's around 60 miles one way.

It is crushed limestone. Last time I rode it (only from Channahon to Starved Rock and back) I took my early 80's Trek 500. That bike does not have fenders and the paint on the frame did not suffer from it.
I once journeyed to western Illinois with a friend.... We put ourselves and our bikes on the Metra headed to Harvard. Departed train once there, got foods in our bellies and headed west. He (friend) mapped out the route which ended up being a bit of a backroad adventure for awhile, so I can't give any specifics. Leaving later than expected and having quite a heedy headwind...we stopped short of the destination campground, but Lake Le-Aqua Na campground was actually more of a paradise after the long day in the saddles (hot showers, indoor plumbing). Got up next morning and peddled to Apple River Canyon campground. Spent the night there and rode the highways back to Harvard the next day. Boarded the Metra and glided our way back to mass civilization. Beautiful landscapes, nice people (not too many fingers flipped from passing cars) and fair/med difficulty of ride (some hills and cross winds).
My wife and I like a "credit card" ride each spring: Augusta Blvd west from the City at 5am, pick up the Prairie Path in Oak Park, and stop for breakfast in Glen Ellyn after about 28 miles. Then take the Geneva spur in Wheaton and merge with the Fox River bike path in St Charles for lunch on a deck overlooking the river. After a very civilized lunch, bike north on the Fox River Trail to overnight at a motel in Crystal Lake. The nice thing about this route is that the Fox River communities offer lots of different attractions to enjoy all afternoon as you go north through Elgin, Dundee and Algonquin to Crystal Lake.

Then head east from Crystal Lake at dawn the next morning, trying to beat commuter traffic going through Wauconda and Mundelein, to the North Shore bike path in Libertyville. From there you can choose from at least three bike paths headed south (Des Plaines River Trail; Skokie Valley Bikeway to North Branch Trail; and McClory northshore Trail) but we like to take Sheridan Road all the way south to Chicago.

This is a four-sided two-day route, with each side of the box about 30-40 miles, and each side featuring a significant bike path. And if you decide you want to extend your ride after the first night in Crystal Lake, you're only 60 very pleasant miles from Lake Geneva.
Wow - that looks awesome. It says its 140 miles outside the city. Thanks :)

jen said:
I once journeyed to western Illinois with a friend.... We put ourselves and our bikes on the Metra headed to Harvard. Departed train once there, got foods in our bellies and headed west. He (friend) mapped out the route which ended up being a bit of a backroad adventure for awhile, so I can't give any specifics. Leaving later than expected and having quite a heedy headwind...we stopped short of the destination campground, but Lake Le-Aqua Na campground was actually more of a paradise after the long day in the saddles (hot showers, indoor plumbing). Got up next morning and peddled to Apple River Canyon campground. Spent the night there and rode the highways back to Harvard the next day. Boarded the Metra and glided our way back to mass civilization. Beautiful landscapes, nice people (not too many fingers flipped from passing cars) and fair/med difficulty of ride (some hills and cross winds).
Excellent! Thanks :)

Clark said:
My wife and I like a "credit card" ride each spring: Augusta Blvd west from the City at 5am, pick up the Prairie Path in Oak Park, and stop for breakfast in Glen Ellyn after about 28 miles. Then take the Geneva spur in Wheaton and merge with the Fox River bike path in St Charles for lunch on a deck overlooking the river. After a very civilized lunch, bike north on the Fox River Trail to overnight at a motel in Crystal Lake. The nice thing about this route is that the Fox River communities offer lots of different attractions to enjoy all afternoon as you go north through Elgin, Dundee and Algonquin to Crystal Lake.

Then head east from Crystal Lake at dawn the next morning, trying to beat commuter traffic going through Wauconda and Mundelein, to the North Shore bike path in Libertyville. From there you can choose from at least three bike paths headed south (Des Plaines River Trail; Skokie Valley Bikeway to North Branch Trail; and McClory northshore Trail) but we like to take Sheridan Road all the way south to Chicago.

This is a four-sided two-day route, with each side of the box about 30-40 miles, and each side featuring a significant bike path. And if you decide you want to extend your ride after the first night in Crystal Lake, you're only 60 very pleasant miles from Lake Geneva.
this is great - I used to live in DuPage county btw.

another great destination is the Oscar Swan Inn (B&B) in Geneva (or is it St. Charles ?)
It's old world German...just like being in Europe.
Mrs brown and I biked there once...30 miles straight into a 25 mph headwind (she swore at me a lot
as she drafted the entire way)
A Jacuzzi and wine was never better.


DB
Stephen Maiseloff said:
Excellent! Thanks :)

Clark said:
My wife and I like a "credit card" ride each spring: Augusta Blvd west from the City at 5am, pick up the Prairie Path in Oak Park, and stop for breakfast in Glen Ellyn after about 28 miles. Then take the Geneva spur in Wheaton and merge with the Fox River bike path in St Charles for lunch on a deck overlooking the river. After a very civilized lunch, bike north on the Fox River Trail to overnight at a motel in Crystal Lake. The nice thing about this route is that the Fox River communities offer lots of different attractions to enjoy all afternoon as you go north through Elgin, Dundee and Algonquin to Crystal Lake.

Then head east from Crystal Lake at dawn the next morning, trying to beat commuter traffic going through Wauconda and Mundelein, to the North Shore bike path in Libertyville. From there you can choose from at least three bike paths headed south (Des Plaines River Trail; Skokie Valley Bikeway to North Branch Trail; and McClory northshore Trail) but we like to take Sheridan Road all the way south to Chicago.

This is a four-sided two-day route, with each side of the box about 30-40 miles, and each side featuring a significant bike path. And if you decide you want to extend your ride after the first night in Crystal Lake, you're only 60 very pleasant miles from Lake Geneva.
These sound so lovely! For those who have done these before, how did you handle food? Are you a favorite of the PB&J sandwich or stopping for a bite?
A "credit card" bike trip, by definition, means that you only bring two pieces of plastic: your credit card and your toothbrush. No food, no camping equipment, no change of clothes...a minimalist trip, with no bike luggage. You wear your bike clothes to dinner, and to breakfast the next morning...and rinse them out in the motel sink before you turn in for the night. Everything else you might need you use your credit card to buy. But it is surprising how little you really need...and fun to improvise. And also fun to bike unemcumbered....

Katie Paffhouse said:
These sound so lovely! For those who have done these before, how did you handle food? Are you a favorite of the PB&J sandwich or stopping for a bite?
I took a "credit card" trip from SF - Seattle last fall. Nothing but a hydration sized backpack, iPhone, some Clif Bars...the basics. Super fun. I wouldn't do it any other way.
I've done it from the start to Starved Rock. It gets progressively primitive as you head West. In fact at the Western end it was hard to find "trail", more like worn out grass area. A very short part is paved toward the East end, most of it is crushed limestone. I've done on a road and a hybrid, it's do-able on a road bike.

Liz W. Durham said:
I & M Canal Trail is "groomed trail". Does this mean it would be road bike friendly?

mindfrieze said:
Take Metra to Joliet and bike the I&M Canal trail to Starved Rock and back. I think it's around 60 miles one way.
TOMRV (Tour Of the Mississippi River Valley) June 12-13, big hills, great scenery, fun people, well organized, easy logistics.

http://www.qcbc.org/tomrv/

Cheers,
Sol

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