Author Topic: Getting from Ann Arbor MI to Chicago.  (Read 1349 times)

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Offline lars3

Getting from Ann Arbor MI to Chicago.
« on: July 02, 2012, 10:55:51 am »
I left on my westward bike tour about 3 weeks ago, I've been mainly following a combo of the Northern Tier and the NY Erie Canal trails since then. I'm in Cleveland now and I'm about to leave the Northern Tier to head up to Ann Arbor and then over to Chicago. Getting to AA isn't an issue, but any recommendations of getting from AA to Chicago. I'm trying to avoid gravel/ dirt roads (something I remember seeing the area around AA) and I'm trying to avoid Gary Indiana (I've had a few friends strongly encourages avoiding Gary). If you could recommend the best (safest) route between those areas I'd really appreciate it.

Offline OldZephyr

Re: Getting from Ann Arbor MI to Chicago.
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 11:31:24 am »
Have you taken a look at the Michigan Bicycle Maps?  There's a whole set you can download that provide useful info:  http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,1607,7-151-9615_11223-146053--,00.html

To avoid Gary and that whole area, consider riding across Michigan to Muskegon, crossing Lake Michigan from Muskegon to Milwaukee (http://www.lake-express.com/), then heading south from Milwaukee to the Chicago metro area on a variety of paths and roads -- you actually can ride paths most of the way, and I  have been on some of them, and in my view, they beat the dangers of riding in the suburban fringe.  This is probably a more pleasant route into the Chicago metro area than via Gary, and there are a fair amount of trails to avoid troublesome traffic, see the Wisconsin bike maps and the Illinois bike maps (also online).  Or, when you get to Kenosha, WI, take a Metra train in to downtown.  Metra lets bikes on train, but not on peak hour trains.  We've used Metra and here's a recent trip where we took our bikes on it with panniers, etc.: 

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=10337&v=83 (contents page)

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=276524&v=4O (trip on Metra into Chicago)

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=276551&v=3j (trip on Metra from Chicago)


Hope this helps.

Aaron
 

Offline lars3

Re: Getting from Ann Arbor MI to Chicago.
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 11:45:51 am »
Thanks for the suggestions on the MI trail maps.

That's a great idea taking a ferry. I never thought about that.

I'm on a computer for the first time in three weeks, so I'm going to do some research on this, but I'm really pumped about the idea of skipping the southern part of Lake Michigan entirely.

Offline OldZephyr

Re: Getting from Ann Arbor MI to Chicago.
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2012, 03:34:07 pm »
You'll want the Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Racine County bike maps for Wisconsin, and the Lake and Cook County bike maps for Illinois.

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/bike-foot/countymaps.htm

Aaron

Offline OldZephyr

Re: Getting from Ann Arbor MI to Chicago.
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 03:36:55 pm »
One other idea -- you could simply take Amtrak from Milwaukee to Chicago.  There is checked baggage between the two cities, and Amtrak's bike boxes are easy to use.  You don't even have to take off any wheels.  You just take off the pedals, turn the handlebars, and roll the bike into the boke, and tape it up.  Cost is $5 to ship.  Boxes sometimes cost $15, but often they don't charge.

Hope you have a great trip.

Aaron

Offline lars3

Re: Getting from Ann Arbor MI to Chicago.
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2012, 12:15:32 am »
Thanks for the map link, but I'll probably skip taking the train into Chicago.