Author Topic: Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago  (Read 1759 times)

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Offline Absurdity

Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago
« on: May 14, 2012, 03:52:56 pm »
I was wondering if anybody had some insight on the best way to get to chicago from the northern tier route. I'm going from east to west and I would like to end at chicago, but I'm not sure when and where I should route off of the ACA trail. I don't have a great sense of direction, so I'm looking for something simple. I see that illinois has mapped out the state for bikes, but I'm not sure where to start, or if I'd be better off rerouting from Indiana or Ohio.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2012, 04:12:52 pm »
Maybe use Google Maps biking directions from Huntington, IN as a start.  Looks to incorporate a trail or two, including one through Hammond, IN, which is a populated place. And you could have a Dan Quayle burger in Huntington.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 05:33:17 pm »
Okay, I don't know Chicago, but I do know it's a big place. Wouldn't the answer to your question depend on exactly where in Chicago you're going?

Offline Absurdity

Re: Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2012, 04:51:49 pm »
Well I'm actually trying to get to Palatine, which is a little northwest of Chicago, but I thought it might be easier to take the metra from downtown since it's pretty cheap. Either way, I can figure something out once I'm in the general area of chicago. It's just getting to that general area that I'm not entirely sure about.

And I'm not sure how well google maps works with bikes as it's given me some scary routes when I try to use it around Westchester where I live, though I guess that was my backup plan. Thanks for the reply though. The prospect of a good burger is always a motivator.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2012, 09:05:04 pm »
I do not like Google maps bicycle directions for long distances. It tends to come up with some pretty goofy routes. I do like Google maps with driving directions and the "Avoid Highways" option.

For directions within cities, Google bicycle directions might be okay.

Try it both ways.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 02:46:03 pm »
Illinois used to put out an eight map set of bike routes in the state. I can't find anything on their website about this, but they do have some interactive maps on their website:
http://www.dot.il.gov/bikemap/bikehome.HTMl


Offline OldZephyr

Re: Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 01:14:06 pm »
I wrote the Illinois DOT and received a packet of the 8 bike maps.  They're good.  The roads we took on a recent trip based on those maps were nice and quiet (link is to an 8 page journal with pictures of some of the quiet roads, as well as using Metra and Amtrak with our bikes):  http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=10337&v=7l

All roads colored green on the bike maps are good in my experience, the yellows are fine too for the most part as well.  Even some of the so-called less desirable roads can be just fine as well.

The bike maps from Illinois are a much better resource than Google for this purpose.  Print out the counties you want and use them to map a route.

So, consider riding north from the Northern Tier on quiet county and town roads (using the bike maps) to University Park (which is the southern terminal of the Metra Electric line), catching a Metra Electric commuter train to downtown Chicago, then transferring to a Metra train to Palatine.  If you do it on the weekend, the fare for both trips is only $7.00.  Keep in mind that there are some blackout dates and times for bikes, typically rush hours peak directions and certain events (check the Metra website for details)
« Last Edit: May 19, 2012, 10:03:42 am by OldZephyr »

Offline Absurdity

Re: Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2012, 06:56:27 pm »
Wow thank you so much for that reply Old Zephr. That will be a big help, since I know suburban areas can be hard to navigate due to heavy traffic. I'm winging so much of this trip already so it's nice to have some idea of what to expect.

Offline OldZephyr

Re: Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2012, 10:07:59 am »
Glad to be of help.  Another option is to make your way to the southern end of the Wauponsee Glacial Trail, then take the Wauponsee Glacial Trail to Joliet, then take a Metra (Rock Island District) train from Joliet to Chicago.  The advantage of course of a rail trail in this context is that it gets you through those sometimes problematic suburban/rural fringe areas (which I think are less safe to ride in than strictly urban area or rural areas).  The trail also provides a good way to cross the Kankakee River.  http://www.reconnectwithnature.org/preserves-trails/Wauponsee-Glacial-Trail