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I live on the far north side and I have friends on the far south side and in the south suburbs. I've thought about riding down there some weekend to hang out but I don't really know how bike-friendly a lot of the streets down that way are. I'd be going from Foster & Western-ish to either 115th & Western-ish (straight shot down Western? Don't know if that's a good idea or not) or 147th & Pulaski-ish. Does anybody have any preferred streets or paths for riding down that way?

Thanks!

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Jim,

I took Halsted all the way up from 31st St Beach to Claredon/Broadway last night. No problems. You might want to hop on the Halsted Highway from Cermak.

Jim Behymer said:
Blast from the past! When I posted this thread, I lived way north but now I live way south, near 147th and Pulaski and my far south side friends, and tomorrow morning I am riding downtown. I've worked out what I think is a pretty good route, cutting through Robbins, crossing the Cal Sag at Francisco, taking side streets up to 115th and Western--this much of the ride I've done previously and it's alright, not ideal but nothing down here is. Wondering about the rest of my planned route downtown. 115th over to Longwood, Longwood up to 103rd, 103rd over to Vincennes, Vincennes up to 69th, 69th to MLK, and then MLK up to Cermak after which I am again in familiar territory. It's about 22-23 miles total and I figure if I leave around 7am I should be able to easily get to my destination in the loop by 9am. Any thoughts?
i rode halsted all the way in from 167th in harvey once. It wasnt too bad, maybe a little bumpy in spots, but i got thru alright, this was back in 2002 or so, so things could be different nowadays.

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
Jim,

I took Halsted all the way up from 31st St Beach to Claredon/Broadway last night. No problems. You might want to hop on the Halsted Highway from Cermak.

I fold.

edit: Sorry, not true. You were on Vincennes Road from 149th to 152nd. Busted. :)

o0_dan_0o said:
i rode halsted all the way in from 167th in harvey once. It wasnt too bad, maybe a little bumpy in spots, but i got thru alright, this was back in 2002 or so, so things could be different nowadays.
Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
Jim,

I took Halsted all the way up from 31st St Beach to Claredon/Broadway last night. No problems. You might want to hop on the Halsted Highway from Cermak.
yeah, i didnt stray one iota from route 1..

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
I fold.

edit: Sorry, not true. You were on Vincennes Road from 149th to 152nd. Busted. :)

o0_dan_0o said:
i rode halsted all the way in from 167th in harvey once. It wasnt too bad, maybe a little bumpy in spots, but i got thru alright, this was back in 2002 or so, so things could be different nowadays.
Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
Jim,

I took Halsted all the way up from 31st St Beach to Claredon/Broadway last night. No problems. You might want to hop on the Halsted Highway from Cermak.
Western is a bit of a challenge: not impossible, but a lot of traffic, which can be avoided on Damen, which provides a good route from Foster or so, and again from about 35th to pretty far south.

For a general overview, I've had good experience with the free bike map that the City of Chicago puts out--others may disagree, but I think it's pretty much accurate.

The only challenge is that Damen doesn't go through what used to be the Stockyards. What I'd do is take Damen all the way to Taylor, go east on Taylor to Loomis, and go south on Loomis. As Loomis crosses I55 and the Sanitary and Ship Canal, it angles a bit east, and emerges as Racine, which does go through the Stockyards. South of the Stockyards, there's some route west until you get to Damen. Then you can take Damen south to nearly 115th or so.

Most of these routes are in fact signed.

Chicago really is a wonderful place to bike.

== Rick
Or inflate those skinny tires?

Rautenberg said:
loomis is supposed to be a secret. just kidding. seriously though it has that parallel grating that is hell on under inflated skinny tires - use the sidewalk over the bridge

Rick lightburn said:
Western is a bit of a challenge: not impossible, but a lot of traffic, which can be avoided on Damen, which provides a good route from Foster or so, and again from about 35th to pretty far south.

For a general overview, I've had good experience with the free bike map that the City of Chicago puts out--others may disagree, but I think it's pretty much accurate.

The only challenge is that Damen doesn't go through what used to be the Stockyards. What I'd do is take Damen all the way to Taylor, go east on Taylor to Loomis, and go south on Loomis. As Loomis crosses I55 and the Sanitary and Ship Canal, it angles a bit east, and emerges as Racine, which does go through the Stockyards. South of the Stockyards, there's some route west until you get to Damen. Then you can take Damen south to nearly 115th or so.

Most of these routes are in fact signed.

Chicago really is a wonderful place to bike.

== Rick
Ricardo Cervantes noted earlier in this thread that Damen between 47th and 71st "runs through some really rough neighborhoods". I would agree. Particularly on the northern half of the stretch. I've ridden it during daylight several times and never seemed like a problem, but earlier this summer I rode it just after sundown on a Saturday night and it was remarkably uncomfortable.

I have occasion to ride to the south suburbs also - and I live near 35th and Damen. The Damen-> Major Taylor route looks great on paper, but I would not recommend it - at least not at night. Currently I'm exploring routes on residential streets west of Western - unfortunately there are a lot of obstacles and there is no obvious direct route. As someone noted above a route like that would probably be too much rigmarole for someone riding from Foster anyway.

As for the Can One Ride Western debate - there are long stretches of it with a mostly empty parking lane. I've ridden it on those stretches - and found it pretty annoying to have to decide whether or not to trust four lane traffic (don't!) as I a wind around the occasional parked car or to hop up on the sidewalk for a few blocks - like the residential route option it seems like it would make for a pretty frustrating segment of a long ride.

But there are pay-offs. Western is a pretty fascinating slice of Chicago - I mean probably the whole avenue - but most of us are probably fairly immune to the wonders of North Western Ave - north of 55th you get some beautiful remnants of the historic boulevards south of 55th you get some beautifully bleak post industrial urban wasteland, then forest preserves! two golf courses, a Fat Burger (not that anyone should eat that) and a big stretch of not very disney Irish bars and restaurants and even a Bike Shop in Beverly.

And in the not too distant future - the Cal Sag Trail will connect us to the I&M...

Rick lightburn said:
Western is a bit of a challenge: not impossible, but a lot of traffic, which can be avoided on Damen, which provides a good route from Foster or so, and again from about 35th to pretty far south.
For a general overview, I've had good experience with the free bike map that the City of Chicago puts out--others may disagree, but I think it's pretty much accurate. The only challenge is that Damen doesn't go through what used to be the Stockyards. What I'd do is take Damen all the way to Taylor, go east on Taylor to Loomis, and go south on Loomis. As Loomis crosses I55 and the Sanitary and Ship Canal, it angles a bit east, and emerges as Racine, which does go through the Stockyards. South of the Stockyards, there's some route west until you get to Damen. Then you can take Damen south to nearly 115th or so.

Most of these routes are in fact signed.

Chicago really is a wonderful place to bike.

== Rick
Loomis is great, and I'm not sorry that secret is out.
But last time I tried, Racine didn't go through the stockyards either. It was blocked by a massive construction project, even though most bike maps indicate it does go through.

I took Halsted a long ways this weekend, it was great until greektown fest.
I regularly ride Western south. There is traffic but as mentioned earlier Damen does not go thru @ 39th street. Damen also is pretty rough south of 47th. You can cut across from Ashland or Halsted @ 55th Street to Western. Right around 71st and Western you can catch Columbus (Southwest Highway that will take you on a diagonal to 87th and Pulaski with very few lights.
The past few weeks I've been biking the full 22-23 mile commute once a week rather than bike->train->bike. (I know, you can't take a bike on the Metra during peak periods, I keep a beater bike downtown for downtown riding). I've been doing a lot on Halsted, which is fine in the morning but in the evening there are some pretty shitty stretches of Halsted so I keep trying alternate routes.

This morning I tried one that was nice in parts but isn't going to work out as a regular run, taking Kedzie up to Columbus (bad idea, the only bike-friendly stretch of Kedzie in there is through Mt. Greenwood, though cars were surprisingly conscientious around me even in the 4-lane crazy fast parts), Columbus over to Western (Columbus was fast and mostly pretty OK but the lanes got narrow in parts), Western north (as I was turning onto Western, a guy walking across the street said to me "Be careful 'round here"--Western wasn't the best choice either obviously but when it splits into Western Blvd and Western Ave, Western Ave seems to have a little more space for bikes than Western Blvd does) up to Archer (which was fine), then Archer over to Halsted & then Halsted north.

So I don't think I'm gonna try that exact route again, but I wanted to bump the thread to see if anybody had any fresh thoughts about a decent far south/southwest<->downtown route?
I'll second that.

vxla said:
You have to be nuts to ride on Western, Pulaski, Cicero or Harlem below even 35th.
California is better than Western north of Columbus. However, California is interrupted by intermodal yards and industrial areas south of Marquette Park. The route I sometimes use between Beverly and points north/west of Marquette is as follows:

From 87th/Damen, north on Damen to 67th/Marquette, west on 67th/Marquette to California, north on California to Jackson or Warren Blvd., east on Jackson or Warren, north on Damen.... Much safer riding conditions than Western.

Jim Behymer said:
The past few weeks I've been biking the full 22-23 mile commute once a week rather than bike->train->bike. (I know, you can't take a bike on the Metra during peak periods, I keep a beater bike downtown for downtown riding). I've been doing a lot on Halsted, which is fine in the morning but in the evening there are some pretty shitty stretches of Halsted so I keep trying alternate routes.

This morning I tried one that was nice in parts but isn't going to work out as a regular run, taking Kedzie up to Columbus (bad idea, the only bike-friendly stretch of Kedzie in there is through Mt. Greenwood, though cars were surprisingly conscientious around me even in the 4-lane crazy fast parts), Columbus over to Western (Columbus was fast and mostly pretty OK but the lanes got narrow in parts), Western north (as I was turning onto Western, a guy walking across the street said to me "Be careful 'round here"--Western wasn't the best choice either obviously but when it splits into Western Blvd and Western Ave, Western Ave seems to have a little more space for bikes than Western Blvd does) up to Archer (which was fine), then Archer over to Halsted & then Halsted north.

So I don't think I'm gonna try that exact route again, but I wanted to bump the thread to see if anybody had any fresh thoughts about a decent far south/southwest<->downtown route?

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