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Topics - LpAngelRob

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Be A Volunteer and Build Alliances / Illinois overview
« on: September 03, 2009, 12:45:44 pm »
Most of the work being done in the state is currently being done at the (very) high level... I sent an e-mail to Tom Murtha of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. He let me know that some outreach is being done by the League of Illinois Bicyclists ( but that both organizations are still working at the state-to-state level.

When it comes time to help define local routes, individuals can become more involved.

Tom also sent me a link the fancy NE Illinois Greenways and Trails website, which you may peruse:

Starting this topic to collect information on a possible Chicago/Rockford/Galena corridor. This is designated as an alternate corridor in the corridor map, but sufficient, well-marked facilities exist that can carry bicycle traffic west from Chicago (U.S. B.R. 66) to outside the Chicago metro area, which is a good start to defining a route.

Western terminus: U.S. Bicycle Routes 40/45 near Galena, IL or Dubuque, IA
Eastern terminus: U.S. Bicycle Route 66 in Chicago, IL
Major network intersections: Rockford-Springfield route, Fox River Trail

Corridor Map,-89.154053&spn=1.436153,3.56781&z=9

Private message me to be able to edit this map as well.

Gear Talk / For lack of a better title... upgrades
« on: August 07, 2009, 12:52:22 am »
Hey everyone... sort of a newbie here, although not new to biking. I wanted to throw this out there just to compare notes and talk about what sort of problems I might encounter as I stay on two wheels for longer amounts of time. :-D

Right now I put on 19 miles a day, 4-5 times a week. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon, 9.8 miles in each directions - I commute to work via bicycle.

Naturally, there are things that I might not notice after 10 miles that I might notice after, oh, 40 or 50. Since I don't have an infinite bicycling budget, I kind of want to know which problems I should deal with first. :-) And the only way I can think of to do that is to discuss gear. So here's how I get to work...

1.) Bike - Trek Hybrid, pretty much stock tires. I have trouble pulling myself up hills as it is sometimes, and I have a nagging feeling it's just "slow" - is a road bike more appropriate for longer distances?
2.) Shoes - Heh. I bike in crocs. They've saved my toes from certain disfigurement more than a few times, but I think they're also the cause of those close calls, not the solution...
3.) Pedals - Stock, as above. I hear a lot about clipless vs. clip pedals. What is the importance and advantages of each?
4.) Headlight - there's a whole thread about this elsewhere, I'll read that... I'm going to need one starting about mid-October I think, in getting to work.
5.) Taillight - this is taken care of.
6.) Basket/luggage rack - I haven't really put much thought into this, as I don't need it to go back and forth to work. But one of these would mean I could stop wearing a backpack everywhere.
7.) Helmet - still good!
8.) Tires - Bontrager something, inflated to about 70 psi. As of June. I should actually check the pressure tomorrow morning.
9.) Habits - I think these are the most important changes, and they're free! Some bicyclists use higher cadences, but for all I know, they're racers. I bike as I did when I was 12 - top gear unless I clearly can't handle it. :-p What habits did you pick up in order to be able to go longer distances?

EDIT: I forgot a couple...

10.) Gloves - I don't own any.
11.) Clothes - Generally, t-shirt and khaki shorts. I've since learned that boxers are far better than briefs...

Thanks in advance!

Since this is my first post, I figured I should take extra time to introduce myself and avoid going straight into route Nazi mode. :-D

My name is Robert Guico, from Carol Stream, Illinois. Although I have not engaged in any long-distance bicycling, I do commute to work on a bike, and have a good understanding of differences in bicycle facilities. I also am working to build up miles on the weekends.

I am also an avowed roadgeek, and so here's where the routing comes in. =)

I understand how the corridors came about - connecting important cities and destinations with as broad a brush as possible, without regard to existing facilities, so as not to limit routing options within each corridor. Fair enough, but it still looks really odd for there to be just one north-south corridor through all of Chicagoland, which would almost certainly be routed on Chicago's Lakeshore Path (and you'll not get an argument from me about that!)

Here's where I think the existing trails could provide a useful guide. The Grand Illinois Trail ( is a 535 mile loop, utilizing both on-road and off-road trails. The north part of the loop connects Rockford with Galena (U.S. Bicycle Routes 40/45) and Chicago (U.S. BR 66) via either Lake County or DuPage County, both of which have marvelous rail trails. (I will confess that I think it would be appropriate to designate the Illinois Prairie Path, a significant boon to the area in many ways, U.S. Bicycle Route 36 :-) )

The south part of the loop is particularly significant as it follows the bluffs along the Illinois River, and mostly off-road. It links Chicago's south suburbs with numerous parks and state parks (Starved Rock, Matthiesen, Buffalo Rock, Hennepin Canal), and, well, is the part of Illinois I wish everyone could see when they're done with Chicago. But it appears to be too far north of U.S. Bicycle Route 40 to be considered.

U.S. Bicycle Route 40 is a worthy corridor, to be sure (Davenport - Peoria - Danville - Fort Wayne, IN). But the south part of the loop should be considered for U.S. Bicycle Route 38. And the northern part, U.S. Bicycle Route 36 or 34, depending on whether or not you want to get it confused with U.S. Route 34.

Pity poor Springfield. Apparently U.S. Bicycle Route 66 prefers Decatur over you.

I keep expecting a Chicago-Elgin-DeKalb (NIU)-Rockford-Janesville, WI-Madison, WI corridor of some sort... anyone else agree?

I'm pretty excited about this system. I hope it gets the recognition, traffic, and volunteers it deserves, and I'm willing to throw my hat in.


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