Author Topic: Riding through Chicago  (Read 955 times)

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Offline hikerjer

Riding through Chicago
« on: October 18, 2018, 11:05:29 pm »
Next summer, if the stars and planets all align properly, I hope to do a cross-country tour. I'll be passing through the Chicago area and would like to know about routes through the city. Is there a continuous bike route/path through the entire city and environs, west to east, that one could take? I suppose I could by-pass the city entirely, but I'd kind of like to see it from a bicycle. How about catching a ferry from the downtown waterfront to southern Michigan? Possible?

Oh, and yes, I know about Gary, IN

« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 11:07:57 pm by hikerjer »

Offline ggwbikemt

Re: Riding through Chicago
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2018, 03:26:15 am »
There are no ferries between Chicago and Southern Michigan. The only ferries across Lake Michigan are between Milwaukee WI and Muskegon MI (see

Offline John Nettles

Re: Riding through Chicago
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2018, 07:14:42 am »
I know of no CONTINUOUS bike paths or routes going E>W in Chicago but there are routes available from Chicago & Sycamore if you are willing to forge your own route in places.  The closest you will get to a continuous route/path is south then west to Joilet then further west to Peru or you can go north into Milwaukee, Wisconsin then west to Dodgeville. 

I suggest you use Google Maps' "Bicycling" overlay  to see what routes are available. 

Best, John

Offline litespeed

Re: Riding through Chicago
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2018, 10:33:21 pm »
The Lake Express ferry runs between Milwaukee WI and Muskegon MI. The SS Badger runs between Ludington MI and Manitowoc WI. I believe neither operates during the winter.

I have taken the SS Badger westward and recommend it highly. It was surprisingly windy and cool topsides when I took it in the dead of summer. They wouldn't let me back down to the vehicle deck to get a jacket from my bike so I was unable to enjoy the view much. If you ride it make sure to bring a jacket when you go topsides.

The Badger is the last large coal-burning steamship in the United States and is the last vessel in service on the Great Lakes to be powered by Skinner Unaflow engines (manufactured by the Skinner Company of Erie, Pennsylvania). I mailed one of their brochures to my brother-in-law, a mechanical engineer.

Offline canalligators

Re: Riding through Chicago
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2018, 05:30:15 pm »
Send for the Chicagoland Bike Map,  You will be able to put together trails and good on-street routes.

Are you coming in from the southwest?  We came into town on 83rd street and it was a pretty good ride - moderate traffic and clean residential neighborhoods.

I recommend finding your way to the lakefront trail.  It's a nice ride and you get great views of the city downtown.  There are several trails and bike routes north, where you can get to Milwaukee and take the fast ferry to Muskegon.  BTW, there is another ferry, another two days ride north of there, the SS Badger.  It's a classic steam ship, but it sounds like it's out of the way for you.

What exactly did you mean about Gary?  We have a good route around the south end of Lake Michigan:  You have to be a RideWithGPS member, but last I knew signup was free.

Offline shirlee

Re: Riding through Chicago
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2018, 10:21:28 pm »
Pick up out the Illinois Prairie Path eastbound from Aurora, stop in Warrenville at Two Brothers Brewery, and keep rolling till you get to Oak Park. Check out the Frank Lloyd Wright homes if you like, pick up Jackson and once you hit the west side of Chicago, snake a bit up to Washington/Warren, roll past the United Center (Bulls, Hawks) and into the downtown Loop - you can't miss the skyscrapers. Get a sandwich and take a rest on the Great Lawn at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, take a photo at the Bean, visit the beautiful Lurie Garden, take the Lakeshore Path north or south, and have a swim and a nap in Lake Michigan. You're Golden! I'm excited for you - Chicago in the summer is the best!