I am planning on riding from Iowa City to Chicago using existing trails where possible. After leaving Iowa will ride the Henneppin Canal Trail and then hooking up with the I and M Canal Trail. After figuring out how to get thru Joliet continue on I and M to the end ,which looks like Archer Avenue.. Ideally I would head east to the Trail along Lake Michigan some where north of Jackson Park. Looking for directions for a safe route from I and M to downtown or to the trail along the lake...
There will be two of us self contained..... Any info on the trail or route will be helpful curt (i did try the search)
The Chicago bike map is online and shows bike lanes-- will that help?
Or are you asking about safety in terms of neighborhoods?
You could also follow the Illinois Route 66 Trail. It won't be as personal as Anne's helpful instructions above, but it is a nice set of maps and directions. I've never biked it, but you can get a copy of the League of Illinois Bicyclists' Route 66 Bike Map here. You can also get the printed guidebook sent to you by calling Illinois DNR at (217) 782-3715.
It contains a map and a detailed route guide through Joliet and on to Buckingham Fountain in Chicago. I think this map was just published a year or two ago, so should be pretty current.
I wouldn't really recommend 55th/Garfield east of Western for loaded touring. While it does have bike lanes in some sections, it also has heavy, fast traffic and frequent buses for most hours of the day, and frequent stoplights. It's tiring enough to do the stop and go without a touring load. I'd hate to do it with loaded panniers.
It looks like 151st St. eastbound to Parker Rd. northbound to 131st St. eastbound to 88th Ave. northbound to 135th St. eastbound should be a rideable route from Lockport to Palos. From there, Ridgeland (heavy fast traffic) would take you northbound to 107th St. eastbound.
* Note: Someone else would have to vouch for road/traffic conditions on this section, as I have not ridden it and was just working off the map. Can someone with riding knowledge of the SW 'burbs confirm whether or not the above route is the best for this section?
107th takes a slight jog SE due to railroad tracks before you reach Central. Go north on Central to 99th St. eastbound. (107th, Central and 99th are all rated as medium speed and traffic.) 99th is mostly residential and is a NICE bike route. I ride it often and recommend it.
You've got a couple of options from there. Option 1: You could continue east to Vincennes, which is a speedy route northeast. Except at rush hour, traffic is fast but usually light, and pavement conditions are good to excellent in most places. Because it parallels a rail line, there are few cross streets and few stops. I recommend turning on your tail lights here, as there are a few viaducts where extra visibility is helpful. When you get to 83rd (just after a long double viaduct), turn right (east). The first section is industrial and commercial, but it's mostly residential with bike lanes. It has no buses and traffic is light to moderate at most hours of the day. Depending on how fast you're riding, taking Vincennes could be 20+ minutes faster than option 2, as it's more direct with fewer stops.
Option 2: From 99th, continue past Longwood and cross the Metra tracks (use 99th St. station as a landmark). At the next 4-way stop, turn left (north) on Prospect. Go 2 blocks and turn right (east) on 97th, then go left (north) on Charles St. You'll reach a T intersection at 95th St. with many fast food places. Cross in the crosswalk and turn right on the sidewalk on the north side of 95th St. You'll see a sign directing you to turn left onto the Major Taylor Trail. Ride 1/2 mile north on the trail, which is briefly interrupted by a crossing at 91st St. station. Turn left and go over the crossing, then bear slightly to the right and look for signage at the continuation of the trail. Continue north to 87th St. Cross the intersection and continue due north on Damen (bike lane) to 83rd St. Turn right (east) on 83rd. This section of 83rd is narrow in places, but traffic is light to moderate, and there are no buses. Just before Vincennes, 83rd is interrupted, and you have to take a slight jog SE on Birkhoff. Turn left on Vincennes, go through the double viaducts (tail lights!), then turn right to continue eastbound on 83rd. From here, the directions for Options 1 and 2 would be the same.
Continue eastbound on 83rd. At the Chicago Skyway (I-90), 83rd is interrupted again. Go SE on Anthony. Turn left (north) on Jeffery.
If you want to stop at a grocery store or other businesses, you may want to continue on Jeffery from here. There is a large supermarket at 71st St. 1/2 mile north of there, you'll intersect with Marquette and Coast Guard Dr., where you can access the northbound lakefront path.
If you want a more scenic route (slightly longer), turn right (east) from Jeffery to continue on 83rd (bike lane). Turn left (northwest) on South Shore Dr. (bike lane + buses). Continue on South Shore to 71st, where the lakefront path begins with a westbound sidewalk section. At next stoplight (Yates), turn right and continue north on the sidewalk. After a few more blocks, you'll meet a westbound asphalt path. Continue on the lakefront path from here to downtown.
From 107th St. on, I am familiar with all the routes listed and have ridden them many times. I hope that this helps, and that someone else can speak from local knowledge about the Lockport to Palos section.
I should add that last June my wife and I rode the GIT from Chicago Heights to Moline, then on into Des Moines. It was a great ride except for some rain softened trail on the I&M between Ottawa and Seneca. Let me know if you want our route.
Larry Mysz said:I should add that last June my wife and I rode the GIT from Chicago Heights to Moline, then on into Des Moines. It was a great ride except for some rain softened trail on the I&M between Ottawa and Seneca. Let me know if you want our route.