I need suggestions for hilly areas within a 1-2 hr drive or (preferably) train ride of Chicago. I'm training for Dairyland Dare and short of driving 3 hrs up to Dodgeville before the August 10 race, I'd like to practice my shifting on hills closer to Chicago.
Major bonus if I can get there by train with my bike. I've ridden in Three Oaks/Indiana Dunes area but it doesn't loo like the South Shore line allows bikes, which is really disheartening. I need to be able to do it as a day trip.
I know that anything this close to Chicago isn't going to be nearly as hilly as the areas west of Madison, but something is better than nothing.
Your advice is much appreciated!
Thanks again, all. Good advice on not swapping out the Freewheel right before the race and also on checking out my brake pads. We will be doing Lake Geneva from the Harvard Metra stop. Reverse commute times allow us to definitely bring bikes on board and there's definitely some hills around the Lake. Chainlink is awesome.
Another suggestion is a trip along the Fox River trail, there are some short but reasonably steep hills on the east side of the river around Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles. I sometimes just zig-zag up and down them when I'm feeling homesick for Pittsburgh.