The Chainlink

Hi all! I'm new on here!! 

I am planning a 200 mile (nearly 200, I'm rounding up!) ride to Grand Rapids, MI in early October and raising money for Girls on the run (If you want to donate https://www.crowdrise.com/gotrchicagomarathon2016/fundraiser/sloandorr)

My question for the forum is:

The ride from the end of the Lake Shore Trail through Indiana is my only real concern. I've heard and read scary tales of not so great neighborhoods and sketchy roads--any advice? I'm planning on DRIVING part of it this weekend to get a feel for what I'm up against. 

Any and all advice welcome! I know it can be done and wanted to reach out to the veterans!

Sloan

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You should be able to do that stretch on trails, though it will add a few miles.  Eventually you'll have to head north and then ride through the dunes.  The trail through the dunes is nearly always under water in parts, so try to find road alternatives, but that shouldnt be too hard.  

Oh and a lot of past chainlink rides with routes are archived here,  here's one from June between Dune Park and Sawyer:  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/12968165

I loved those trails when I did Tour de Shore. 

Great! What are the trails? Are they paved? We are on road bikes. 

Hmm.  Lots of different names.  Erie Lackawanna Trail, Oak Savannah, Prairie Duneland...  I believe they are paved, well except for the ones through the Dunes which I'd highly recommend avoiding.  

Take a look at this link to the route for the first day of Tour de Shore: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?hl=en&authuser=0&m...

The trails are all paved. I have ridden the route several times and have never been concerned for my safety.

Thanks for posting the route Lisa! I was just about to start looking for it (after cooking dinner) :-)

My wife and I ride out that way almost every year.  Last time was in the end of Sept 2015. These are fairly short segments because we hang out on the beaches or in the beach towns for a while each leg.

To Chesterton: This is from near our home in the south suburbs.  Coming south on Lisa's route from Chicago, you would pick this one up at mi 16 

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/10585530

Chesterton to Sawyer
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/15713712

Sawyer to South Haven
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/10586035

South Haven to Holland
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/2840633

We always continue north from Holland, so you're on your own from Holland to Grand Rapids.

Another route we've used to get up to Holland is US Bike Route 35. Here is the Michigan part of USBR 35

http://bicycletouringroutes.com/pdf/US_Bike_Route_35_5_15_2012_All.pdf

Good tour

Larry

I've done the ride from the Loop to Michigan City out of curiosity and the ride up the coastline many times.  Here's the trip I took from the loop.  You are on city streets from the Lakeshore trail at the south end of the golf course until you get to Calumet City.  Overall the neighborhoods aren't that bad and the bike route is well marked.  Past that point there is a network of trails that will get you around Gary to the Dunes.  The trails are all paved and very well maintained.  There is a link on my blog post showing the route provided by Google.  USBR 35 up the coast is a very nice ride, Red Arrow highway to Blue Star Highway is most of the trip.  You'll have to find your way from Holland to GR, I haven't done that.

Marc

Awesome! Thank you so much! 

It's not early October yet, so I thought I'd offer my 2 cents.  If you start early, and ride at a brisk pace, I'd recommend this route.  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/15466930  It's more direct.  I like this route because it's smooth, and not very many intersections, so you can just keep moving steadily.  It is all on road.  If that is a concern, then, like others, I'd recommend taking the lakefront path, to the lakefront extension, to the Burnham Greenway, to the Eerie Lackawanna, to the Oak Savannah, to the Prairie Duneland.  Taking the trails would add about 10-15 miles or so.  Here is a route that we did out to Michigan City heading out on the road, but please pay attention to the return which we did on the trails that I'm suggesting.  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/15870869

Thanks so much Shawn! I looked at riding on HWY 20, it's safe on a bike? At this point I'll be solo riding, not in a pack, unless people want to join! :-)--I like the idea of not having many turns, intersections or places to get lost! So far this route is winning, only because I'm afraid of having too many turns and getting turned around. I noticed on my commute last night and this morning that day light is already dwindling. 

Hi Sloan, I have ridden this route many times this year, and I have a few more suggestions for you.  

If you plan to take this route, please start early.  Traffic picks up later, so the earlier the better.  My bike club meets at 87th and the lake front extension typically at 6 am or 7 am so that we can beat the traffic.  

When highways 12 & 20 split, take highway 12, for the most part.  Indiana has resurfaced a lot of the pavement on 12 and 20 still needs some more TLC.  

We rode this route last month.  Take a look.  https://ridewithgps.com/trips/10106072  

If you look at the map, on the way out we took 20.  If you turn at mile 8 (from the map), that's 12, which takes you by the raggedy road by the Gary/Chicago Airport.  You will hate me if you take that road.  Please continue south and take 20.  You will make a left turn on Michigan Street (Highway 20).  If you're a landmark person, there is a Luke's gas station on your left with yellow barriers separating the road.  After you make that left, it's pretty much a straight shot from there.  You just have to remember at mile 20 (according to my ride on the map) to continue on highway 12, which is to your left.  

Stops for supplies.  If you do take this route, the place where I turned around (mile 29 on my ride on the map) is the last place to stop for water, food, or rest prior to Michigan City.  

I have ridden on these roads by myself.  I think it's fine for confident cyclists.

Please let us know when you're going.  If I can work out the schedule, I may come and ride a portion with you.

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