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bike route questions - Joliet to Loop and Loop to Schaumburg

I just got an inquiry from some out-of-state folks who are planning to visit here in June as part of a long distance ride. I have 2 route questions for you, and I'd be grateful for whatever suggestions you can offer from experience about routing for these two days.

They are also looking for a ride escort on each of these legs. I will follow up on that at a later date.

1. Joliet to Loop - It sounds like they want to follow or partially follow Route 66 from Joliet to where it ends in the Loop (Michigan and Adams). I'm familiar with the route and conditions between Riverside and the Loop, but less familiar with it beyond that point. 

What routing would you recommend from Joliet to Riverside?

2. Loop to Schaumburg - The next day they want to go from the Loop to the Renaissance Hotel in Schaumburg, which is close to Meacham Rd & I-90. I'm rather unfamiliar with rideable (non-life threatening) routes in and near Schaumburg.

What routing would you recommend for this ride? If you're familiar with only a portion, please say so and offer what you can.

I'd be grateful for whatever help you can offer on these routes.

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My experience has been that many of the northwest suburbs have neighborhood streets that are bike friendly but main streets that are mostly nightmarish stroads. 

Here's an alternate route based on Dan K.'s suggestion from DesPlaines to Schaumburg.

This route avoids Woodfield and Meacham rd.

That looks a lot better on paper.  I have not traveled any of that route past mile 4, but most of it is low traffic residential. 

My experience is that Algonquin rd. gets very hairy the further west you go and is best avoided, but the east end under the interstate into  Pk.Ridge isn't bad. Thacker can get busy past about Mt.Prospect rd, but not too bad as you get off half-mile past Mt.Prospect rd.( You may be stopped by a train or two in DesPlaines.) Kirchoff rd can get busy, but you're essentially just doing a u-turn there.

Mt.Prospect rd is pretty wide and fast, so it's best avoided. A large part of the route i posted is one i use fairly regularly to get into Chicago from my neck of the woods

Loop to Schaumburg - I would suggest Milwaukee-Elston-Bryn Mawr-Northwest Hwy-Ozark-Belle Plaine-Talcott-Algonquin-Thoreau. Avoids Woodfield entirely.

Riverside to Joliet - Forest-Golf-Woodside-Brookfield-Maple-Burlington-Dubois-Rochester-East-Plainfield-Willow Springs-Centennial Trail-Romeo-I&M Trail.

Algonquin rd is unsafe for cycling west of Wolf rd. in DesPlaines. There are few sidewalks and fewer paths along that road.

Sometimes the direct road route is not the best. In the suburbs, most direct road routes are unsuitable for cycling.

In the suburbs, most direct road routes are unsuitable for cycling.

That's usually been my experience.

I've actually done that, back in 1997, as part of a Route 66 ride from Springfield, totally on road, on a Friday. I followed the Historic Route 66 signs as well as I could from Joliet, starting straight north along IL 53 past Stateville prison. Then I pretty much followed frontage and suburban roads paralleling I-55 till Route 66 picked up Ogden Ave. Took that all the way to Michigan Ave. If you're city dudes and dudettes, and follow signs, the heavy traffic shouldn't be a problem.

A lot has changed in 20 years. Some of the frontage roads along 55 are gone or become major truck routes to the warehouses that have sprung up along the way. Also, the southwest exurbs have grown exponentially over that time and traffic is much much worse and many of the roads have not kept up.

Mike w. Thank you VERY MUCH for the update. It's longer ago than I realized. Keep on Pedalin'.

The North Riverside to Joliet route wouldn't be bad as long as they don't mind trails. I highly recommend the Centennial/I&M Canal trail. It can at times be easy to lose your way if you don't know where the cross overs are on certain bridges, but I highly prefer this route, and needless to say it's the safest way to ride. It drops you in downtown Joliet, so a real plus there.

As for the Riverside to Centennial/I&M trail, I haven't done that but there's ways to do that which are navigable, with sidewalks in areas that are busier (if you want to avoid the drivers).

Adventure Cycling doesn't even route you from Joliet downtown via this route though, avoiding the classic Rt66 path, since it goes through too much high traffic/poor biking roadways once you get North of I294 . They guide you along the Plank Trail Eastward from Joliet, then due North through various routes into the city. Neither is great, but if coming from Riverside, the Centennial/I&M trail is by far the best way to go.

Anne;  A buddy of mine and myself followed the Adventure Cycling maps from Joliet to the Loop (Buckingham Fountain) on the last two days of our Route 66 bike tour last July. We did make a couple of wrong turns on that last day but I think you can follow this route if you have access to Ride with GPS. These routes were developed by Ride Illinois in conjunction with Adventure Cycling. They use the Plank Trail as Ron reference above. Last day:

Second to last day: 

On this route, I would definitely avoid the intersection of I-80 and IL-53. Go around on any road you can find. Too many trucks and no shoulder on 53. Extremely dangerous. We also stopped for lunch near the Rialto Theater which you would not need to do.... :)


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