Chicagoland biking

Bike shadow

Sunday we biked the Illnois Prairie Path from Forest Park to Berkeley.

View Illinois Prairie Path in a larger map

The temperature was roughly hotter than hell, so we both got burned – in part because the IPP along this portion is a paved deerpath between people’s back yards…but to start at the beginning:

We took the Blue Line, which was really convenient, and on a Sunday afternoon, there are so few people on the train you can use the wheelchair area for the bikes so we weren’t in people’s way. At the station, a CTA employee pointed us toward the Path.

However, it wasn’t as super cute as I mistakenly expect everything suburban to be. To get to the trailhead, first we went through a cemetery, then through acres of a ComEd parking lot, and then crossed a highway. But it was all well marked.

Then the Path itself – in Forest Park, Maywood, Bellwood, Hillside, and Berkeley – is really just paved over where the train used to run. People’s yards are on each side of you, or the back of a water treatment plant on one side and big wall on the other. And as a tourist, you’re pretty noticeable – I think it’s kind of weird for the locals on their porches to have people wiz by, all, “I say, my dear, isn’t this an excellent cycling excursion?”

The big detour in our map is where the trail hit a highway, and the signs suggest you go up to the light to cross. This was great, since it helped us spot the Dunkin Donuts where we took a break on the way back.

Verdict: next time we’ll take the Metra to more affluent suburbs and see how the trail changes. Still looking for some foliage overhead.

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