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How to ride your bike from Chicago to Joliet [Fitness Friday]

Fitness

Last Sunday I wanted to get in a long bike ride but I also wanted to see Jason race his car at the Route 66 Raceway in Joliet. “How many miles is it from here to the track?” I asked.

“About 45,” Jason replied.

Hmm, I thought. I was hoping to ride 45 miles with Live Grit anyway.  Their route would take me almost exactly half way to Joliet. Was there a way I could keep going after the halfway spot?

bike

After some Googling and asking around, I came up with the following route which I’m going to detail for future reference:

This first part is the typical Live Grit route leaving from the store on Monroe in the West Loop.

  • Southwest on Ogden
  • South (left) on Ridgeland
  • West (right) on 41st
  • Stay on 41st and cross Harlem Ave. 41st will turn into Historic Route 66/Joliet Road and then into 55th Street
  • South (left) on East Ave which will turn into Santa Fe Dr
  • Turn right at 75th when Santa Fe Dr ends
  • South (left) on Willow Spring Road
  • Right (west) on 79th
  • Stay on 79th and end up at the Shell Station in Burr Ridge. Fuel up with Gatorade, water, and salty snacks.

At this point I broke off from the Live Grit group and continued onto Joliet.

  • Head back north and turn right (east) on 83rd Street
  • Right (south) on Madison St
  • Right (west) on Jeans Rd. Take a left when it forks.
  • Cross Kingery Road/83 and get on the sidewalk on the west side.
  • Take the first right onto the ramp down to the Centennial Trail.

centennial_trail

The Centennial Trail is lovely

When you get to Romeo Road, stay on the trail and take a left. Cross the bridge and then take a left at the bottom. Go under Romeo Road and get on the Gaylord Donnelly Trail. Note: this trail is crushed limestone and not paved!

You will end up in a small park on 2nd Street. At this point you can continue on the Illinois and Michigan Canal Trail or you can switch to surface streets. I would HIGHLY recommend switching to surface streets. I would recommend Hamilton Street to Woods Drive to 171. I didn’t, and, other than a stretch of paved path in downtown Lockport, the trail was HORRIBLE. More mountain bike than road bike territory. I almost took a picture but I was trying too hard to navigate where the heck I was!

Once I finally got out of this weird section where the path went underneath 171 and basically turned into a hiking trail, I got out onto 171. It’s a busy road but you’re only on it for about a 2 miles before you turn left onto Woodruff Road and then take the right right onto Harrison.

Unfortunately, either the super rough trail or something on 171 did in my back tire and I ended up with a flat shortly after turning onto Harrison. This means I was unable to finish my ride since I’m still a beginner at tire changing. Thankfully Jason was able to come get me and my bike during his rest period.

And, I did technically  make it to Joliet city limits! I even got to ride past the old Joliet prison.

However, since I didn’t make it the additional six miles to the actual raceway, I want to try this ride again! After I practice changing a flat tire first, though

 

2 replies on “How to ride your bike from Chicago to Joliet [Fitness Friday]

  1. Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

    What a cool trip! I’d never consider Joliet to be accessible by anything but car – how awesome that you can actually bike there! I’d feel so proud of myself for getting myself to such a far away suburb by the power of my own two legs. Nice work!

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