The Chainlink

I'm looking for suggestions for longer loop rides leaving from and returning to the city. I rode the various bike paths/trails north to the WI border last weekend and really enjoyed that, but now... what's next? The up and back nature of that ride was also not ideal. So:

 

If you were going to do 60-100 miles on a nice Saturday, where would you go and what route would you take? 

 

If you wanted to do up to, say, 200 miles in a weekend with an overnight somewhere (camping or hotel), where would you go and what route would you take? 

 

All suggestions welcome, but the idea is that the ride originates in and returns to Chicago w/o the need for a car. Of course, if you've got a great ride suggestion that requires a car, that could work, too, but...

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Realistically:

 

[start in Chicago] -> Lunar -> Two Bros -> Stockholms -> Roundhouse -> [Metra to Chicago] -> Rock Bottom/Haymarket/Goose Island/Revolution if you still want to drink.

 

Unless you want to start drinking at 9 AM and riding through west burbs at night semi-drunk.

I'm down to do this if anybody's interested. We can call this "The Long Loopy Ride."

 

April 15 - April 30 I will be out of town. We can plan for May or next week if everybody's thirsty.

envane x said:

Realistically:

 

[start in Chicago] -> Lunar -> Two Bros -> Stockholms -> Roundhouse -> [Metra to Chicago] -> Rock Bottom/Haymarket/Goose Island/Revolution if you still want to drink.

 

Unless you want to start drinking at 9 AM and riding through west burbs at night semi-drunk.

I would definitely be up to do this in May.
I'm in. Sundays work best for me.  In May, I'll be outta town the last two weekends.
I was planning on posting a ride like this on chainlink this year, so I'm up for it as soon as it gets into the 60s.
Great suggestions and links everyone, thanks! I love how this turned into a brewpub tour to end all brewpub tours. Count me in!
Based on Chris C's mention of the IPP, I headed west yesterday to Maywood. The IPP begins there as a paved trail running through residential neighborhoods west to Wheaton. It eventually turns to mostly crushed limestone but seemed to be in great condition. I also checked out the Great Western Trail that more or less parallels the northern "arm" of the IPP; also crushed limestone but horse traffic has made it pretty rough. Anyway, the IPP appears to make a great loop, which if you leave from the city, ride the loop, and return, would be around exactly 100 miles. I only did 60 yesterday. It was freaking cold!
What streets did you take to get to Maywood? Last time I traveled from the west burbs to Chicago, I took Madison into the city after Maywood. Looking for a different route into the city.

ambimb said:
Based on Chris C's mention of the IPP, I headed west yesterday to Maywood. The IPP begins there as a paved trail running through residential neighborhoods west to Wheaton. It eventually turns to mostly crushed limestone but seemed to be in great condition. I also checked out the Great Western Trail that more or less parallels the northern "arm" of the IPP; also crushed limestone but horse traffic has made it pretty rough. Anyway, the IPP appears to make a great loop, which if you leave from the city, ride the loop, and return, would be around exactly 100 miles. I only did 60 yesterday. It was freaking cold!

There are two southward rides of about 60-70 miles each that I think are quite enjoyable. Both involve taking the lakefront trail to the bottom at 71st street and then continuing south on Rte 41.

 

The first gives a deepened sense of the rust belt. Take Rte 41 south to the Chicago Skyway, pass under it into Indiana, swing through Whiting and the giant BP Oil refineries, hook up to 12-20 past the Gary airport and through beautiful downtown Gary, check out The US Steel Corp at the center of the city (they will not let you in, but you can look through the fence) continue on 12 several miles to Miller (Lake St) and head north to Lake Michigan and the Dunes, where you will get a distant but impressive view of the Chicago skyline. There is a decent barbeque at the corner of Lake and Rte 12. (Closed on Sundays) This is a good weekend ride. During the week, parts of the route has pretty heavy traffic.

 

The second route follows 41 to the Skyway. At the southeast end of the skyway connect to the Burnham Greenway trail and continue south to 126th. Head west, and then north around Lake Calumet and into Pullman, the famous company town. (Check out this route on the Chicago bike map. It's pretty clear.) Find MLK Drive and take that back to the city. This is a nice ride, with light traffic for the most part. MLK is a comfortable biking street.

I ended up going south on Damen to the United Center where I turned west on, you guessed it, Madison. My plan was to go west on Diversey, then south on N. Oak Park, but I missed Diversey and didn't really notice until I saw the United Center. On the way back I did find N. Oak Park which I took north to Addison, then east on Addison back to Damen. I don't recommend either Addison or Madison for the east/west travel. Google's biking directions recommend Diversey so I'll be definitely trying that next time. 

 

It's a shame that there doesn't seem to be a better way to link up with the IPP from the city. If anyone knows of a better east/west route from the city to Maywood, please let us know. 

Eduardo Acosta said:

What streets did you take to get to Maywood? Last time I traveled from the west burbs to Chicago, I took Madison into the city after Maywood. Looking for a different route into the city.
Thanks, Harry. Both of those sound like great rides. I'll add them to my "to ride" list. 

Harry Wray said:

There are two southward rides of about 60-70 miles each that I think are quite enjoyable. Both involve taking the lakefront trail to the bottom at 71st street and then continuing south on Rte 41.

I think I can get 6 growlers in my BOB trailer.....no Metra for me.

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