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Old 03-14-2008, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Citizen of the World
38 posts, read 129,525 times
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I'm wondering if anyone has advice on routes biking from Oak Park to the loop. I realize this means going through a dangerous area (the west side of Chicago). I'm just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on which route might be the easiest/safest of the somewhat potentially dangerous bunch.

Thanks!
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Old 03-14-2008, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,523 posts, read 12,985,331 times
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Don't know, but check out Oak Park Cycle Club.

BTW, I've read an article or two in the Wednesday Journal about cyclists commuting to the Loop so some people definitely do it. The west side is a little bit too sketchy for my tastes, but obviously others feel differently.
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Chicago, Little Village
4,659 posts, read 8,208,277 times
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Do they make lightweight flack jackets for cyclists yet? That stuff gets better and better all the time.
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,523 posts, read 12,985,331 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRU67 View Post
Do they make lightweight flack jackets for cyclists yet? That stuff gets better and better all the time.
Yes they do, but they don't provide much protection against the IEDs.
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Old 03-14-2008, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Chicago, Little Village
4,659 posts, read 8,208,277 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sukwoo View Post
Yes they do, but they don't provide much protection against the IEDs.
Yea, good point. We bought one of these seat kits for our SUV....

hmmwv seat kit M998 Cargo/Troop Carrier with Fragmentation protection blast blanket

$6,400 very well spent, and much lighter than the full armor kit, which just kills gas mileage. Don't know if they make these for the Priuses and Volvo wagons Oak Parkers favor but you could probably get it custom made.
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Old 03-15-2008, 11:13 AM
 
2,141 posts, read 7,471,342 times
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If during rush hour, North Avenue straight East. Take that into Wicker Park and head south on Ashland or you can take Elston or any street that will take you South. I've never done it on a bike, but I've driven it. There's a couple of miles that are sketchy, but it's heavily traveled and lots of cops around on North Avenue. The worse part of it may be the traffic for a bicyclist but if you're experienced, you should be fine.
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Old 03-15-2008, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Chicago
15,587 posts, read 25,030,473 times
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North Ave is more than a little sketchy from Narragansett Ave to Western Ave. There is no route to downtown from Oak Park that is safe unless you go miles and miles out of your way.
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:25 PM
 
11,973 posts, read 29,412,165 times
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The safest way to ride your bike downtown from Oak Park is to ride it down the ramp on the Ike onto the Blue Line Platform, onto a train car, and then out of the train car when it gets to the Loop.

Honestly, I don't think I'd do this. I get nervous in my car sometimes if I take surface streets and hit a red light in a bad patch. But, if I were going to bike through the West Side, Grand Avenue is pretty industrial and has a bit of a diagonal to it (though it cuts to the north of Oak Park, unfortunately).
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Old 03-17-2008, 09:58 AM
 
11 posts, read 47,230 times
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During the day I don't think there would be any problems. The issue is the condition of the roads. I take Washington east sometimes and it's like riding a slolam trying to avoid potholes.
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:02 AM
 
220 posts, read 692,747 times
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Bah....I ride my bike through the Westside to the Loop from Oak Park all the time. I've never felt in danger.

For biking, I recommend taking Lake St. all the way. Not only is it the fastest route when driving, but it is also the fastest and easier route for biking. But if you are a "pleasure" rider (going less then 10 mph average) then it is going to take you forever to go the 9 miles.

There are few houses along the corridor and most of the industry is buttoned up or vacant lots - much to worry about. Plus, for the west half of the trip, the "parking lane" on the outside of the L track columns gives the biker a relatively nice "safe" zone.

But after this winter - watch out - the potholes are particularly bad on the west bound lane east of Western.

For full disclosure: I don't do this for my commute, but when I am biking for pleasure. I actually prefer the ride through the Westside and have even taken Jackson all the way, which is not for the faint of heart.
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