We do a lot of complaining here (guilty), but as a whole, I love cycling in the city.  Cars are a little more patient than they were 6-7 years ago when I started commuting, and lots more bike lanes at least give me more of a semblance of comfort, potholes aside. But in general, I love not having to rely on the train or bus, I can park wherever I want, I love being able to scoot through small windows that cars can't, the rush from hitting a big downhill, speed in general, feeling healthier, feeling happier, making more of my trips to local vendors a few times a week (vs. a large supermarket once a week), making new friends, going on long adventure rides, waving to people, and shortening my commute by 50% vs. the train.  I've lost a good 40 pounds since I was at my heaviest, and my general health has been on the up ever since I started riding.  Cycling makes me happy, and no amount of car/pedestrian/scofflaw cyclist douchebaggery can change that.  Compared to the small town where I grew up, cycling here is beyond awesome...  In a huge suburb right next door, they refused to put in sidewalks, let alone bike lanes.  And in my experience, the cops mostly leave you alone unless you're a total psychopath (or they are), which is part of what I love most about Chicago: All the shenanigans one can get away with. Cah-Caw!  

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i love scofflaws and hipsters and rogues

All the positivity in this thread upsets me.

No shite!

notoriousDUG said:

All the positivity in this thread upsets me.

"Exalt" on all of these. This is the joy of riding a bike!

Joe and Gene, "Nos sunt fratres," in Latin, we are brothers.

Thanks for being consistent, DUG. 

Indeed!

Best thread I have seen--positive comments, good stories, Latin, and someone correcting the Latin.  In Chicago, I feel I must say "youse guys is da best".  

And dug will get over it, I think.

http://www.chicagobikes.org/bikemaps/

Chicago has lots of practical aids to getting around. You can get some of them for free and others for a small fee. There are maps for Chicago's city limits as well as the greater Chicagoland area. The map from Active Transportation Alliance takes you all the way out to Kane County.

Many cyclists from other cities would probably drool over the kinds and number of trails we have available. You can even find an excellent book for planning your great weekend escapes here:

http://wheretobikeguides.com/books/chicago/

I rode with Greg Borzo this spring when he was conducting a guided tour of the architecture of the city with an emphasis on the period detailed in the book "Devil In the White City". It was a great ride and would be wonderful for tourists visiting the city who desire to gain some deeper appreciation of both our architectural heritage as well as our sometimes sordid history.

You cannot overlook the fine lectures of Lee Diamond. I've enjoyed these as well. The price is reasonable and the tours are specific enough that you can always find a tour of the very neighborhood area that you desire:

http://www.bigshouldersrealty.com/things/tours/

The Chicago Lakefront Trail is a treasure. Having been out west in cities like San Francisco you can always come to appreciate not having to ride up and down very steep streets to reach business and commercial districts on bikes that are geared for level terrain.

You have to travel to the Old Plank Road Trail or  Fox River Trail to find a flat terrain trail as long as the Chicago Lakefront Trail. But the Fox River Trail has some challenging climbs near the Elgin area. And there are some just north of Crystal Lake which are downright reminiscent of San Francisco.

But when you couple the quality of the trail upkeep with the scenic availability of things like Navy Pier of the Museum Campus or the Notebaert Nature Museum or better yet the Museum of Science and Industry then you have a tourists dream come true.

But frankly Chicagoans who have not done the "tourist thing" have a treat awaiting them if they have not visited the Nagasaki Garden just behind the MSI or my favorite the Botanic Gardens at the northern end of the North Branch Trail.

We can ride from Indiana (to visit the Pierogi Fest) all the way to Milwaukee basically on trails and side streets. You really have to visit a lot of other cities of comparable size to get this kind of breadth of trail experience.

And if you can make your way west to the Illinois Prairie Path you have your choice of basically four branches that lead you out towards the Fox River Trail. And if you travel far enough south on the Fox River Trail you can take the Virgil Gilman west as far as Waubonsie College. Or better yet head south to intercept the I & M Canal which leads you on a several days ride all the way to LaSalle-Peru.

And I believe you can take the Hennepin Canal even further west. And all of this is within the northern sections of the state of Illinois. I could detail the links available for riding up past the Wisconsin border as well.

Milwaukee is a very ridable city and offers another Lakefront Trail experience that extends through the downtown area. And if you want to, you can take the train into Milwaukee and tour their rather extensive urban trail system. I especially like the Hank Aaron Trail and Oak Leaf Trails. And like Chicago you have access to their city streets and trails via maps:

http://city.milwaukee.gov/maps4460.htm

http://county.milwaukee.gov/OakLeafTrail8289.htm

Before I forget there is another extensive trail system that takes you through the northwestern sections of Indiana. Once you ride as far south and east as Highland, IN you are then free to take the Erie-Lackawanna Trail to its connecting trail areas which will get you at least as far east as Hobart:

http://www.greenwaysfoundation.org/trails.html

The only reason to be unexcited about riding available both on street and on trail is perhaps to have not yet come across the various resources available that lead you to discovery. You could easily spend three bicycling seasons exploring just the trails and streets of the greater Chicagoland area and its connecting municipalities to the north and south without ever getting bored.

Wait! O agrees on with the rest of the board that cycling is awesome any topic? That would explain the pigs I saw flying overhead on my way to work.

I think we are all doomed.

 I remember the days of driving 10 blocks and filling my back seat with 15 plastic bags full of groceries, now I stop by a Mercado and pick up a weeks worth of stuff or just enough for tonight's meal put it in the back pack and away I go.

Seeing someone you know,stopping for a second to talk then go on with your day.

Never a problem "parking" .

The temperature extremes can test you it is still awesome.

Doomed to use all of the great information in his post?

+1 to this thread.

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