The Chainlink

It's Halloween, it's Halloween, it's Halloween! (The Shaggs, 1969).  I can feel my favorite season creeping in, something about the cool air in the mornings and evenings.  Does anyone care to share their favorite fall bike areas, routes, and trails, in the Chicagoland area or anywhere else?  I'm always looking for things to do and places to go in southwest Michigan, for example.

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Someone will probably suggest the Apple Cider Century.  To which I will counter that those roads are horrible and made me vow not to ride it again.  I had planned to do the century last year, but cut it short due to the poor maintenance of the roads.

I disagree, my friends and I do it every year, I think the roads are fine... yea sometimes you run across a bum road, but that's par for the course for any ride I've done. I go for the cider, scenery, friendly people and great support!

Well Bill my reluctance to return to the Apple Cider Century was the mobs of people we were forced to share those narrow, bumpy roads with.  Not to mention the number of 'private sags' that drive the route along with their riders.  It's 100 miles of riding the most congested roads in Western Michigan!  And paying for it!

You're right, Berrien County is a beautiful biking area; lots to see and do.  But not on Apple Cider weekend.  I particularly like riding out to Tabor Hill Winery in Buchanan for wine tasting and lunch...just look at that menu!

Understandable about the crowds. It is a 5,000 people ride after all. My sister and I try to start as early as we can to avoid some of that. But if you don’t like to deal with large groups of people then I understand!!

Take a week off and bike from Pittsburgh to DC while the leaves are in color and the weather is cool. 5-6 days on the road and overnight Amtrak rides each way.

Oh man Tricolor!   Very tempting!

I did it a few years ago. Highly recommended. Go Pittsburgh to DC, not the other way. Starting in DC would require more uphill and it throws off the train schedule.

Des Plaines river trail is lovely in the fall as long as its not flooded.

It was flooded at 294 & downtown Des Plaines on Saturday. We forgot it rained a ton up in the north suburbs last weekend.

Didn't make further north past Des Plaines, so I can't speak for the rest of it. However, based on previous soggy rides, I would say it was impassable.

If you want to stay local, Graceland and Rosehill cemeteries have some of the best color in the city.  

Biking is allowed in Graceland now, but its relatively small, so its worth walking it to check out the interesting monuments. Great for photos.

Biking is technically disallowed in Rosehill, but no one has ever stopped me or said anything.  Its a little larger, so it makes for a nice quiet ride. 

I like to cut through on my way to the NBT, which is also nice for color viewing. I like zipping into Miami Woods when its all yellow and I'm coming down from the bridge over Oakton and Caldwell.

I'm riding from Freeport to New Glarus next weekend on the Janes Adams and Badger State trails. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Geez, good luck!   Those trails look super-boring...except for that tricky 1/4 mile tunnel that curves in the middle.  Otherwise flat, straight, unpaved.  I think I'd prefer to stick with roads, and stop for a beer or something to eat at every crossroads.

How do you plan to get to Freeport, IL?  Which is west of Rockford.  Are you riding US20 west from Chicago?



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