Author Topic: Chicago Biking Question  (Read 3207 times)

Donovan

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Chicago Biking Question
« on: January 24, 2013, 02:09:15 PM »
I've got an internship this summer in Chicago and I just found out my living accommodations location.  Looking at it on google maps, it doesn't seem like that bad of a bike ride.  However, I wanted to ask any current Chicago Mustachians about the suggested routes and their true biking suitability.

Here is the map:
http://goo.gl/maps/Njto7

One route goes along a big bike trail on the lake shore, which I'm sure is the least stressful, but it is also the longest.  Does anyone who lives there think that the other routes (going down Michigan) would be fine?  I also feel like going over to Dearborn and coming straight down would be an option.

I already bike everywhere and I am not afraid of biking down the streets, but I would prefer to avoid routes that are secretly suicidal (even if google doesn't think so).

Thanks for your help!

Oh, and if you have any recommendations for farmers markets, butchers, or asian/european grocers that would be helpful as well :)

mlipps

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Re: Chicago Biking Question
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2013, 02:31:56 PM »
Where are you coming from? What's your previous biking experience/what's your comfort level? You CAN bike anywhere in Chicago. It's really a personal thing what feels "suicidal" to you. :) I don't bike downtown a ton, so maybe someone else can give a better opinion, but the roads highlighted in green should be fine, at least north of the river. I wouldn't personally bike on Michigan. Too much traffic to be worthwhile. It's such a short distance though it might be worth it to go out of your way a little to the Lakeshore Path, if only for your own sanity. I hate dealing w/all the nuts on the streets personally.

nico demouse

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Re: Chicago Biking Question
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2013, 02:39:57 PM »
I'm assuming you're not from the area?

There is a big cycling community in Chicago, here's a good place to look for info: http://www.thechainlink.org/

There's even a big winter cycling community, I think it's called Chicago Bike Winter.

The lakefront path is beautiful but can be very busy, depending on weather/time of day and such.

I'm a suburbanite, so don't do much biking in the city although I run the lakefront trail with some frequency.

Donovan

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Re: Chicago Biking Question
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2013, 02:49:16 PM »
Thanks for the quick replies. You're right, I'm not from the area, I'm coming in from Indianapolis. I've mostly biked in suburban areas, but I've comfortably used large, packed 4 lane roads on a fairly regular basis.  However, I've driven in Chicago before and it's...something else :p

I may go with the Lakeshore route for my regular commute and figure out the best street routes to things like grocery stores as I get used to the area.

Thank you for the link to the Chicago Biking website! I'll be sure to check it out. And hopefully the internship will go well and I'll be biking there again by winter and get to check out the winter bike club as well!

Schwartz

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Re: Chicago Biking Question
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2013, 02:58:27 PM »
I will preface this by saying that I don't bike in the loop much. That said, I would give the Lakeshore path a try. Even though you might waste a little time going out of your way for the path, you will make it up by not waiting if you obey or even mostly obey traffic signals (which you should). For a point of reference, I take a route to work that is 8.3 miles on city streets which are less busy and have fewer signals than down town, and average about 12 mph. No matter whether I pedal so hard I arrive drenched in sweat, or lollygag the whole way, the spread is less than 5 minutes. A friend of similar physical abilities commutes the exact same distance, but 90% of it on the Lakeshore path and is routinely able to average 18 mph.

For produce you will be pretty close to Stanley's (near North and Elston) which will have fantastic deals on ready-to-eat-that-day produce.
For farmers markets, you will be close to the Green City Market, which opens up in Lincoln Park along the lakeshore. They will announce other farmer's market locations in April and they can be found here:
http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/farmers_market.html

Donovan

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Re: Chicago Biking Question
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2013, 03:09:35 PM »
Even though you might waste a little time going out of your way for the path, you will make it up by not waiting if you obey or even mostly obey traffic signals (which you should). For a point of reference, I take a route to work that is 8.3 miles on city streets which are less busy and have fewer signals than down town, and average about 12 mph. No matter whether I pedal so hard I arrive drenched in sweat, or lollygag the whole way, the spread is less than 5 minutes. A friend of similar physical abilities commutes the exact same distance, but 90% of it on the Lakeshore path and is routinely able to average 18 mph.

No worries, I even stop at stop signs when there are no cars. I drives me crazy when bikers expect drivers to treat them properly when they decide they are exempt from normal vehicular laws.

I hadn't really thought about the abundance of stop lights I'd be passing through. Most of my routes now only deal with 5 or so, and your right, they can really get in the way of a speedy commute.  I'll have to time myself on both a Dearborn run and a Lakefront run someday and see if I can make the longer route go faster ;)

Thanks for the tips on food. I was excited when I found out I get a full kitchen instead of a studio with a microwave :P

zoltani

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Re: Chicago Biking Question
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2013, 03:21:40 PM »
I don't live in chicago, but I do know that they just opened up the Dearborn cycle track, so that is an option


kythuen

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Re: Chicago Biking Question
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2013, 06:46:00 PM »
I used to bike the lakeshore from Uptown to Millennium Park on a regular basis.  It may be a bit longer, but it's blessedly flat, and it's gorgeous.  Also, at Millennium Park there is (used to be?) a bike station where you could rent a locker and shower and lock up your bike securely/safely/out of the weather.  It was two blocks from work; I loved it.

One problem you'll run into on the Lakeshore multi-use path, though, is headwinds.  I used to check the wind every day before I left for work or left from work; above a certain windspeed, in the wrong direction, and I'd just take the bus.  It saved me a lot of rolling backwards.

That said, I've seen people biking along Michigan Ave with no problems in almost every kind of weather.  I think it's doable if you're not traffic-shy.