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looking for route from chicago to starved rock

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It is not clear exactly what are the Amtrak rules and how they are enforced. What is clear is that roll-on bikes are not allowed on long-distance trains, but only for "local" service. See Amtrak.com for specifics. One additional plus for local service is that it is much more likely to be on time.

I rode Amtrak twice last year, from Princeton to Naperville, and from Chicago to Champaign. In each case I pre-purchased my ticket including the $10 fee, thus reserving a space. On each trip we were able to place our bikes in a designated spot on a certain train car, which was I think a handicapped seating area. There was no need to remove any wheels, or place the bike in an overhead rack. There were three of us with bikes on the train from Princeton, and two of us on the train to Champaign (which was BTW a crowded train as it was a football weekend). In both cases the crew was friendly and accommodating.

YMMV.


Larry Mysz said:

Glenn,

It depends on the Amtrak train.  Illinois Service  ( http://www.amtrak.com/illinois-services-train ) i.e. trains to Quincy, St. Louis, and Carbondale have roll on service.  Other trains that stop in Princeton but continue on out of state do not.

Amtrak rules require that you remove a front wheel and hoist your bike into the overhead storage bin.  If the train isn't too crowded some conductors might allow you to roll the bike into a handicapped area near the toilets.


Glenn Bradford said:

Nice! I like combining trains and bikes. So no problem storing the bike on Amtrak at Princeton? No box needed or other such absurdities?

MagMileMarauder said:

I had a moderately positive experience taking my bike on the Amtrak on the St. Louis-to-Chicago route. I was able to carry on, but I felt like I was getting attitude from the conductor about it. As he said to me, "There isn't really any place for them." So I kind of lodged it awkwardly near the end of one of the cars.

I guess it's better than having to box up (as I did once in Milwaukee coming back to Chicago), but it'd be so nice to have a dedicated space.

That's too bad you had that experience. I was actually thinking about cycling down to St. Louis then taking the train back someday. I will have to look into it some more. I'm really hoping to find a safe cycling route down there.

Alex Z said:

I had a moderately positive experience taking my bike on the Amtrak on the St. Louis-to-Chicago route. I was able to carry on, but I felt like I was getting attitude from the conductor about it. As he said to me, "There isn't really any place for them." So I kind of lodged it awkwardly near the end of one of the cars.

I guess it's better than having to box up (as I did once in Milwaukee coming back to Chicago), but it'd be so nice to have a dedicated space.

I sympathized with the conductor. Amtrak policy allows carry-on bikes on the STL/CHI route, but Amtrak has not provided any space for the bikes to be. So when a passenger with a bike asks a conductor, "Where should I put my bike?", what is the conductor supposed to say?

A few friends and I are planning this ride from Chicago to Starved Rock next week.  Since two of us have rode bikes, I was wondering the current condition of the trail.  Has anyone rode the path recently that can offer any advice? 

From what it seems, the rough and rocky patches begin after Seneca, so we will probably plan to find alternative street paths from there.  I read that others recommend Rt 71, however I noticed this south river side seems to have much more significant elevation changes.  Seeing as this will be the last 20 miles of our first-ever century, we may be looking for the flattest route possible. If we use Dee Bennett Road from Ottawa to Utica, would anyone have any suggestions on Seneca to Ottawa? 

Thanks!


mark stetson said:

That twisty section going up the hill (actually inside the park) is my favorite piece of Rt 71.

 

Is Dee Bennett the road that goes through Buffalo Rock SP?  It's labeled N 27th road in my atlas.

When in Utica: Duffy's for burgers.



Bob Kastigar said:



mark stetson said:

Il 23 into Ottawa, then about 10 miles of Il 71 to Starved Rock.
Illinois 71, south of the river has some very uphill areas with blind corners to go around. A better alternative is Dee Bennet Road from Ottawa to Utica, then a short distance left to the entrance to Starved Rock.

I rode the trails from Joliet to Ottawa...I was glad to by on my hybrid rather than my road bike for pretty much the whole way. But if you are used to bumpy/gravely trails on a road bike then it could be okay.

Maggie Holly said:

A few friends and I are planning this ride from Chicago to Starved Rock next week.  Since two of us have rode bikes, I was wondering the current condition of the trail.  Has anyone rode the path recently that can offer any advice? 

From what it seems, the rough and rocky patches begin after Seneca, so we will probably plan to find alternative street paths from there.  I read that others recommend Rt 71, however I noticed this south river side seems to have much more significant elevation changes.  Seeing as this will be the last 20 miles of our first-ever century, we may be looking for the flattest route possible. If we use Dee Bennett Road from Ottawa to Utica, would anyone have any suggestions on Seneca to Ottawa? 

Thanks!

Hey Maggie:

This the route I'd try:

http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/fullscreen/427555702/

I haven't ridden it, but it's the way I'd go if I was doing it tomorrow myself.  That's assuming you want to avoid the hills approaching (actually inside) the park from the east on the south side of the river.  Perhaps ride that way on the way home when you are fresher? 

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