Just landed a gig at U of C, so now if I'm riding, it's quite the hike from Portage Park down to Hyde Park. I've talked to a few cyclists there, but I'm soliciting advice about routes & parking. At this point, I'm considering Milwaukee -> Kinzie -> Dearborn -> something to trail -> 57th -> campus, but I'm willing to consider other options.
And since none of the staff I've talked to have inside parking for the bikes, I'm kinda nervous about parking a bike with disc brakes down there even a few times a week, given all the beater bikes I'm seeing on the racks. So if anyone has bike parking advice, I'd love that as well.
Where are you working on campus/which division? I have no problems keeping my bike in my office and it might be an option for you as well. I'd also keep a backup way to campus in mind as well, sometimes time constraints, weather, after work activities are going to force you to take alternate transportation.
Congrats on the new job. You have my sympathy on the commute.
Given the number of lakefront events, you may want to develop a collection of alternative route segments. I can offer a few suggestions for that. I'm forwarding this discussion thread to a friend who has commuted from Rogers Park to U of C for years. He may have some helpful advice for you.
S: I'm working in Knapp, I work for the BSD. I haven't talked to the building manager yet, but everyone I've talked so said "no" about bikes inside. Plus, we're horribly strapped for space in our offices, so I couldn't bring it up there.
I definitely don't intend on riding down there every day. 36 miles a day is quite a hike, and with city traffic & weather, it's above me to do it year 'round. So I've got other options. But I do know I'll finally lose the last of this winter weight if I can ride it semi-regularly.
Anne: Good idea on that. Getting across Grant Park was no fun today with Lolla. I'm not sure what they're doing with the light at Lake Shore Drive and Monroe. It feels like you wait there for 5 minutes before it turns.
I used to do this route daily and found it quite pleasant.
Happy riding and good luck. Portage to Hyde is a trek!!
Those are both great suggestions, thanks. I'll definitely give them a try!
I did this commute from Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village in the past. I tried just about every route possible by bike and transit. The absolute fastest I ever managed was going home via LFT, riverwalk, Lower Michigan, Kinzie, and Milwaukee, with a stiff tailwind.
However, since you're not going downtown and headed to the non-lakefront side of campus, you might as well avoid downtown (and Wicker Park) traffic and lakefront breezes -- just stay on the city grid to the west. I think the most reliable route south for me was Morgan, Harrison, Wabash, King, then diagonally across Washington Park. However, other combinations further west are possible, like Leavitt, Warren, and Loomis down to Bridgeport.
The beater bikes on campus are mostly for functional purposes, not as theft deterrence; UChicagoans frown upon flashy things. Check with the two campus parking garages (on 55th and the Medical Center) to see if they have bike racks inside. It's nowhere near campus, but there's also the bike station at 53rd & Lake Park if you're super spooked about leaving your bike out.
I kept hearing rumors about a "bike cage" in the hospital parking garage on Maryland. but as I was local, it seemed more polite not to take space in such a thing from a distance commuter such as yourself, so I never inquired. Somebody somewhere will know something, probably either Transportation Services or the Office of Sustainability.
I really want to say that as long as you cross-lock/multi-lock with decent locks/chains/cables, you'll be fine, since bike theft is usually a crime of opportunity and the beaters on flimsy cables make for easy pickings. But there are no guarantees in this world.
Drexel to 35 to state to the loop is a pretty good route if it's getting dark and you don't want to deal with a sketchy dark LFP.
I'd also check with some of the university offices. I know that you can get 20 free parking passes a year for the the garage on 55th and ellis if you can show that you mostly bike or cta down to campus. Also, there might be a cheap pass for the gyms that lets you shower there as well.
You might consider a folding bicycle (Dahon 20 inch) and combine with bus or train as needed.