Author Topic: New York to Chicago routes?  (Read 4881 times)

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Offline cadler

New York to Chicago routes?
« on: August 24, 2013, 08:54:21 am »

This is my first posting. I'm trying to find a safe and enjoyable route from Brooklyn, New York to Chicago. I've heard about the Northern Tier route which seems doable, Google Maps gives me a few options, but I don't see any routes that seem specific to these two locations, though I see others have done this stretch. They've just not posted their routes. I'd love to hear from those who's done this route if possible.

Additionally, since I'd be doing this solo and hoteling along the way, keeping my gear very lightweight. So I was trying to find some "pick-up" riders along the way that would do small stretches with me.

Other questions would be specific to terrain along the routes so I can more accurately determine mileage along these paths. That feels like a good place to start.

I'd love any and all advice! Thanks!
Designer, entrepreneur, tinkerer, cyclist, runner, father, husband, dog walker.

Offline litespeed

Re: New York to Chicago routes?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2013, 10:10:44 am »
The states you will be going through generally have good roads with adequate shoulders. There are also plenty of facilities - state parks, campgrounds, motels, restaurants, etc. I have done this route a couple of times. Just make sure to pick your way around  the cities - particularly in Ohio. I have also found that the parks/campgrounds tend to get raucous on weekends if they are within 100 miles of a large city. City people tend to make a lot of noise and smoky campfires.

You will get in some climbing - plenty of short, steep climbs as far as northern Ohio. You can avoid a lot of this by going the Erie Canal bike route then clinging to the shores of the Great Lakes.

Offline jamawani

Re: New York to Chicago routes?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2013, 01:06:19 pm »
Cadler - You haven't offered much info to go on - when, your experience, etc.

First, it's usually easier to connect up with other riders who are low-budget, camping than people who are doing motels.  The former tend to be more casual in plans, the latter more specific.

There are a number of designated cycling routes or other similar mapped routes.  The Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway, has many older sections with very little traffic.

There are excellent strip maps of the old Lincoln Highway in Ohio at this website:
Tricky east of Canton, great west all the way to Indiana border.

Make sure to zig off the Lincoln Highway to Monroeville, Indiana - best cycling hospitality in the Midwest.
(Plus the stretch of 4-lane Lincoln Highway makes cycling tough.)

Indiana also has strip maps for the Lincoln Highway:
The 1928 route goes thru Columbia City, Warsaw and Plymouth - towns that have nice camping.
(The link to eastern half is wrong -

From Plymouth it gets trickier.  You might want to head NW to Michigan City and the lake.
Nice rail trails in NW Indiana -
That take you to the edge of Chitown.

Pennsylvania also has a number of designated bike routes with strip maps -

Route V generally parallels I-80 from the Ohio border to New Jersey.
Route S follows much of the Lincoln Highway - would need to cut thru Pittsburgh on rail trails to connect.
Route Y is in areas of Penna with the least traffic and most parkland.
All have clickable strip maps.

Have a safe trip - J

Offline JayH

Re: New York to Chicago routes?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2013, 12:49:04 pm »
You could also use part of the ACA's Atlantic Coast route to get you through NJ into PA as opposed to the Northern Tier which crosses a bit further north of NYC... or you could also sort of pick up the northern tier by riding from NYC towards new paltz, NY and then make your way NW, or you could go straight north and utilize parts (most?) of the Erie Canal bikeroute...