The Chainlink

So, I have trailers for my daughters and we ride frequently in the burbs by us.  My older daughter loves it (she makes up little games back there, some of them involving her ordering me to go faster...), and I am pretty familiar with the routes near me.  Unfortunately, there isn't really anything close enough for us to ride to and do, since the younger one is under a year and doesn't really last for long rides.  We generally only go a couple of miles out and then back at a time.

As I am from the city (and looking to move back or at least closer) we are thinking about driving or riding Metra down and then hitting the path.  Maybe ride up to the zoo or the harbors or down by the museum campus.  If we drive, I would be parking at Marina City since I have passes for there. I also have some connections in Evanston, so that would also be a parking option for us. 

In the burbs, I can generally jump on to a sidewalk (I know...) if I don't feel that my kids are safe.  I know that isn't an option downtown.  Any advice for routes to take from HoB or Union station to the lake with the trailer?  Also, does Metra even allow trailers on?  They do fold, but they aren't exactly flat when they do (although, I can bring tools and pop the wheels off, maybe stuff them in a bag or something)?

Any advice is appreciated.

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If a trailer was folded and bagged, you might be able to sneak it on Metra (treating it like a suitcase).  Note the following text on the Bikes on Metra page:

      "3. Standard bicycles not exceeding 70 inches in length will be permitted. Tricycles, tandems, trailers, bulky attachments, training wheels or powered bicycles are prohibited."

Well hell, I missed that line when I checked.  I guess we'll be driving down and parking then



Anne Alt said:

If a trailer was folded and bagged, you might be able to sneak it on Metra (treating it like a suitcase).  Note the following text on the Bikes on Metra page:

      "3. Standard bicycles not exceeding 70 inches in length will be permitted. Tricycles, tandems, trailers, bulky attachments, training wheels or powered bicycles are prohibited."

My best advice when riding with kids downtown is to make yourself as visible as possible. If you don't have a flag (and lights if riding in the evening) on the trailer, get one. Hopping on sidewalks does not work - other areas of the city possibly but definitely not downtown. Take a lane if necessary and don't assume that just because you have a trailer behind you that you will be given more space.

Hi!

We took our Burley all over this summer.  +1 to visibility, and take a look at the bike maps. Divvy stations are a good pitstop when you are unsure, better than Google Maps, which have sent me on a few nerve wracking routes. The protected bike lanes are best, and no one was rude to us even though I imagine we are a bear to pass...  We like Jackson, VanBuren, Canal, and Harrison near Union Station, they're okay because there is regular bike traffic even though you may have to take a lane. Dearborn is a great route N/S, we live near it and take it often.  If you haven't ridden on a protected bike lane, try it! I was pleasantly surprised at how many more people are biking, which definitely makes me feel safer. I rode before my kids were born and the infrastructure has come a loooong way!  Down South of the Museum Campus tends to be less crowded and there is an awesome playground if you can get to 31st Street Beach.  Have fun!

Unsolicited advice time, courtesy of stolenbike.org:

Do not walk away from your bikes/trailer unless they're locked to something relatively immovable/unbreakable with U-locks.  Bikes are stolen on the lakefront and museum campuses every "nice" day by snipping cable locks. Not infrequently with kid seats and trail-a-bikes attached. And victim accounts often suggest the thieves watch the victims lock their bikes up and strike almost immediately when left unattended.

Agreed, the one time I managed to get my trailer to the city to ride this year, we parked at the zoo and left it folded in the trunk with my bike seat and front wheel.  The bike itself got locked to a rack while we went to the zoo.  When it was time to get out and ride, I unloaded everything and went around Lincoln Park and to the LFP.  At no time did we leave the trailer unattended, since I am paranoid about it and can see how parts or the whole thing can be stolen pretty easily.

h' 1.0 said:

Unsolicited advice time, courtesy of stolenbike.org:

Do not walk away from your bikes/trailer unless they're locked to something relatively immovable/unbreakable with U-locks.  Bikes are stolen on the lakefront and museum campuses every "nice" day by snipping cable locks. Not infrequently with kid seats and trail-a-bikes attached. And victim accounts often suggest the thieves watch the victims lock their bikes up and strike almost immediately when left unattended.

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