Author Topic: Boulder to Chicago  (Read 3274 times)

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Offline Patrick

Boulder to Chicago
« on: April 07, 2009, 09:26:17 pm »
I'm planning to ride from Boulder, CO to Chicago, IL this summer, mostly along HWY 34 through southern Nebraska, Iowa, and into IL. I'm wondering if anyone has ridden this route and has any recommendations (where to stop/camp, what to avoid, etc.).

Also, I'm hoping to ride the I&M Canal trail towards the end. Can I take it all the way into Joliet? I'm thinking of taking the train from there into downtown Chicago, as I can't find any bike-friendly routes across the city.

Thanks.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Boulder to Chicago
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009, 11:58:33 am »
I've ridden Hwy 36 from Louisville CO to about the middle of Kansas and back.  Got onto Hwy 36 60 miles east of Denver.  Good riding road.  I know someone who has ridden Hwy 36 from St. Joseph MO clear out to Denver all the way through Kansas.  When you get over to Iowa, I'd sure recommend staying off of Hwy 34.  It has traffic and is not where you want to be bicycling.  Hwy 2 in the south part of Iowa is OK for bicycling.  Some traffic but not too much.  There are also lots of county roads in Iowa and likely Illinois that will get you from west to east and off the main roads.  Just get a state map from the DOT.  On the east side of Iowa Hwy 6 is OK.  Some traffic but not too bad.  Hwy 36 in CO and KS has a town of sorts every 30-40-50 or so miles.  Nothing in the towns.  Accomodations and food and water are scarce.

Offline LarryM

Re: Boulder to Chicago
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2009, 10:42:42 pm »
...
Also, I'm hoping to ride the I&M Canal trail towards the end. Can I take it all the way into Joliet? I'm thinking of taking the train from there into downtown Chicago, as I can't find any bike-friendly routes across the city.
...
Thanks.

The southern part of the Grand Illinois Trail will take you from Moline to downtown Chicago on very bike friendly roads, crushed limestone canal tow paths, or paved rail trails.  

Moline to Joliet will be on the Hennepin and I&M Canal tow paths (crushed limestone) with only about 20 miles of on-road riding between Bureau Junction and LaSalle.  In Joliet, it's only 6 miles across town from the I&M Canal to the Old Plank Road Trail (paved), then about 20 miles to Park Forest.  From there it's mostly rail trails and bike paths to Navy Pier. 

For maps and cue sheets, see segments 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 of the Grand Illinois Trail at the League of Illinois Bicyclists site:
http://www.bikelib.org/git/index.htm