The Chainlink

Biking as Transportation from Metra to South Barrington

Does anyone have advice for a safe route from a Metra station (Barrington or Palatine) to South Barrington? It's only a few miles from the train but, having grown up out there, I know most roads are unsafe for biking between the train and any of the Barringtons. I'm comfortable as most Chainlinkers with Chicago street riding but suburban drivers are a different beast to contend with.

I used to ride the bike path that runs from Harper College West on Algonquin to Penny Road and thought perhaps there's a way to get there from Palatine. Looking at the roads though, I think that most would be unsafe. Ideally there would be route through the North end of Crabtree Nature Preserve South to Penny/Algonquin—all the South routes are too dangerous (Barrington Road, 59, etc.). Do any of you have experience biking around there?

All I can come up with is:
a) somehow getting through Palatine down to the bike path on Algonquin Road
b) A big detour through Barrington Hills (I'm not looking for any hill training if I can help it!)
c) waiting in vain for a connector from Dundee Road through the Northern part of the nature preserve to Penny

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Looks rough. Getting off in Barrington is rough--it seems there basically is no way to get to Penny/Algonquin except Barrington road. :/ Seems you have some more options getting off in Palatine, but I'm not familiar with the area.

 

The suburbs are so poorly designed!

Are you set on that line?  If you can take the MDW line to the Schaumburg station, you might have some better options depending on where exactly you're trying to go.  It looks like there's a dedicated trail starting at that station that heads north and can get you to Higgins and Barrington, if that helps.

Just a thought.

I'm open to ideas and had not considered Schaumburg, thanks. Honestly, the NW line is better because I'm in Logan Square so I can get on at Clybourn or Jefferson Park. The MDW line would require riding South to Western or all the way down to the Loop. 

Looking at this Schaumburg bike map I don't see a connection to get me north of 90 though—unfortunately the train station is at the far Southern end of town. I suppose riding a few miles East to Roselle and then back West again... I'll have to take a closer look.

You did give me the idea to look for an official Palatine bike map and it  seems to show a winding way to link up to the trail on Algonquin I was hoping for. I'm not sure if the road is a good route in reality, or just something a non-biker drafter on paper. It's worth taking a look at though.

Yeah, those pesky interstates...  No good way to cross them even in the city sometimes, ha.  If you want to explore the MDW line, don't forget about the Grand/Cicero station as that would be easily accessible off Armitage.  Depending where you are in Logan Square, might not be that much further than riding to the UPNW line.

I usually just use Google Maps with the bike route overlay.  It's always a good starting point to show actual trails and bike lanes, along with "friendly" roads.  I don't really trust "official" maps, for the reason you suggest.

Is this a one time thing?  Or would this be a commute?

Definitely not a commute, just a once in a while thing to visit family.

I'm from Palatine and ride that area weekly. As you suggest, your best bet is to exit the Palatine METRA station and take the safest route to Harper College (north on Smith from the station to Colfax; west on Colfax to Quentin; south on Quentin to Euclid and west on Euclid to Harper. You can take the campus perimeter ring road to link up to your Algonquin path at the SW corner of campus. Take Algonquin to Penny (mostly newly-paved); head west on Penny to Old Sutton (intersection is at Penny Road Pub), which is your best option through South Barrington. It's pretty decent pavement and is a major thoroughfare for local roadies, so you will likely see many kindred spirits, especially on weekends. From the Penny intersection Old Sutton runs south to I-90 and north to Lake Cook Road with nearly all of South Barrington and Barrington Hills in-between. Good luck.

I was hoping a local would chime in! I'm not looking for a daily commute or a fitness ride, just a way to get between two point without getting killed on my bike. I would think Quentin and Euclid would be a bit scary with the hills and traffic zooming by, no?

I was thinking about taking Wilson/Wood West to the reservoir, then skirt down to the winding road on the West side of Quentin called Mallard—maybe a bit longer but looks lower traffic and not too much of a detour. Once I get to Harper I know where to go.

You can certainly go the way you suggest around Margeth Reimer Reservoir. I only mentioned Colfax/Quentin/Euclid because they are all decent, 4-lane roads that offer plenty of room for cyclists. Traffic may be a bit slower on less-trafficked roads, but these aren't nearly as bad as you fear. I wouldn't worry - you'll get where you're going just fine either way.

The "bike path" that runs from the Schaumburg station goes directly up Springinsguth Rd. Straight shot north. Always empty. The intersections have pedestrian lights so totally doable.

From Logan Square, the metra stop on Cicero is pretty easy to access. Just know that it is a flag stop only. I've never had issues getting on or off but you need to be visible on the platform and let the conductor know on your way in

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