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Weather is going to break soon, and I am a road chicken. I am happier, and probably safer on paths. We have them, but they are hard to find. Any ideas besides the internet? I have one path near school, but I would like to find one or two near home so I don't go bonko bored on my rides. Thanks for any help!<br><br>
J9
 

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Since you're in the Chicago burbs, I'd recommend taking a look at the Chicago Bike Federation's Chicagoland Bicycle Map. It's available <a href="http://www.biketraffic.org/content.php?id=86_0_10_0" target="_blank">here</a> or at probably any local bike shop. I'll take a look at mine tonight, but I'm pretty sure it has bike paths.<br><br>
Mike
 

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Be aware that many bike paths have really low speed limits, like 8-10 mph. That's not very conducive to training. They can be useful for connecting to an area with roads that are safer for riding.
 

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Speed limits on bike paths? What? Hmm never thought about that. I wonder if there is a limit on the path I ride. I hope not, because I am sure I am breaking the law. Especially when I am in the zone. Will have to check into that one.
 

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<i>When</i> you go matters too. In my limited experience, if you're out at 5:30 in the morning, you can crank the bikepaths. There are only serious bikers out. Try the same thing at 2 PM, and you'll be dangerously dodging tricycles, scooters, dogs, etc. - that's the time of day the speed limits are set up for (and necessary).
 

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The only place in the Chicago area I've seen posted speed limits is on the Lakefront path. You will get a ticket there if you go barreling along through the downtown sections on a crowded day. Of course on a nice summer day the Lakefront path can be more crowded than Lakeshore Drive or the Kennedy. I couldn't find anything on the Chicago Bike Federation website and I suspect any such regulations are going to be specific to your municipality.<br><br>
Most of the bike paths in Chicago are multi-use trails, not bike specific paths. Whether or not its legal, its not a good idea to go flying around a blind corner at 20 mph on the first nice day of spring. Like everything else in life, use good sense and I doubt you'll have any problems. I have seen cops driving their patrol cars on the bike paths before, but I can see them far enough in advance to get the dog on the leash when I'm running, and you can slow down your bike if you need to.<br><br>
Both the Great Western Trail and the Illinois Prairie Path are great systems that provide miles of trails. I've gotten some good workouts on them, but on my Mt. bike, not my tri-bike. On that, I always stick to the road.<br><br>
Mike
 

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Then again, I do most of my runs at 4:30am or so. If I'm 8 miles into my run, iPod ablazing (iPod haters, add this to your list), in the pitch dark, a cyclist even doing 15mph is going to work me over like a monster truck. That is, if they're coming from behind. I'd give myself a 50/50 chance of being able to dodge them if they're head on. I got mad sideways speed, yo.<br><br>
Still, I can't begrudge bikers on the path too much. It is a 10 foot wide path. At least it isn't the sidewalk. Two cats on their MTBs came 'round a corner and about nailed me yesterday during a RARE afternoon run.
 

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Are the bike paths paved? We have "hike and bike" trails, and they are not paved because the runners want crushed granite instead. I can't ride my road bike on them at all. I ride my mountain bike on them with DDs, though.<br><br>
I would think you wouldn't want to ride all that fast on any trail that would have walkers/runners on it. I would instead find a good road route that you are comfortable with. I have one I ride that is mostly residential areas or on roads with a wide shoulder. It really depends on when you ride too. Riding in the evenings is a lot tougher because of the traffic. Riding on Saturday morning is great, though! You can find routes on mapmyride.com or mapmyrun.com (it's all the same) or on the USATF site. I don't always like the routes on those sites, but I can look and see what I think. You may also become more confident if you ride with someone else.
 

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I used to live in Palos Heights. Don't know how close that is to where you are but in that area(South West Chicagoland) there are a ton of bike paths, though you really don't want to bike on them, they really are not wide enough for high speeds. I always used to ride my bike out to Palos Hills/ Fermilab area, not much traffic and tons of good roads.
 

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Luv2tri:<br>
Here's a link to just about every bike path in illinois.<br><a href="http://www.mikebentley.com/bike/illpaths.htm" target="_blank">http://www.mikebentley.com/bike/illpaths.htm</a>
 

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There's speed limit signs of 10mph on one of the local paths. I just try to be courteous to other users of the trail. The bicycle cops that come down have never said anything to me.<br>
And I'm slow, but I certainly go well over 10mph <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif">
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everyone.<br><br>
To answer some questions~<br><br>
Many paths are paved. Many are crushed limestone. I need time on my road/tri bike, so I will be searching out the paved ones. I got her new at the end of the 06 season, and 07 was a bust with knee surgery, so I gotta learn how to ride aero, learn how to fall, etc. all over again.<br><br>
The mike bentley site I found too. Seems like people just posting their routes on line. Some seem OK. Others not so much.<br><br>
We live spitting distance from 'rural'. If I go 2 miles west - nothing but corn and soybeans. I just probably need to learn how to do real roads. Bad thing is they don't call us here in Illinois flatlanders for nothing. No hills for training around here. Also, no one to go with me. Hmmmmm.<br><br>
I also gotta get over the 'fear' of being seen out on my bike. I know this is stupid, but I am the one on the tri bike you guys all pass. 2 years ago in Chicago (a race which I did not train well for) I got passed by some doofus riding the race course in a banana seat bike with a basket, and a rubber ducky on the handle bars(I don't think he was actually racing either). Not pretty & NEVER gonna happen again.<br><br>
I am also, ummm, not so attractive in tri gear. With helmet, glasses, etc. I am pretty unrecognizable but jeers & calls from stupid people out car windows still stings. I know - so jr. hi, but they it still stings.<br><br>
Time for J9 to just suck it up and get out there.....
 

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yeah, some punk pre teen yelled "you may be running but you're still fat" at me while I was out running in my neighborhood last fall. hurts, but I try to remind myself that a) I am Doing Something about my weight, while they are probably stuck with that pesky personality disorder forever, and 2) I don't know them, so why should I give a crap what they think of me.<br><br>
I have a mirror, I know what I look like. If they want to waste their time pointing it out to me, that's their problem. I come home, rant to my husband (who loves me no matter what I look like) and then I just let it go. I decided a long time ago that I'm going to make choices in my life based on what I want and need, not on what some jerk thinks of me.
 

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I share a lot of your fears. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
Do you have a local bike shop? They might start offering group rides. That's a good way to try something. Another thing to do is post on cragislist. I always see other bikers posting there, but I'm close to Boulder CO, which probably helps.<br><br>
I got hollered at this last summer, with some derogatory remarks, and it just made me try to chase the guy down on my bike. <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"> Probably not the best answer, but what can ya do? Seriously, who cares what we look like when we are out there? If we are working hard, that's all that matters. It's taken a long time for me to get to this point, btw. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
I have finally gotten more used to the road. It is scary at first, and there are still lots of places you won't catch me riding. But I just had to keep on making myself get out there. You can do it!
 

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I find that the web sites of local bikes shops are a good resource. Often they higlight local bike paths and offer group rides.
 

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The rural roads are great for riding on. Minimal traffic, few stoplights and straight roads that go for miles. With less traffic, drivers give you more space. I head west of Rt 47 for 60% of my rides.<br><br>
There are hills here, ya just got to look for them. Once you're out on the roads, you'll find that there a lot of good hills you never notice when you're in your car. And there are always the train overpasses. <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"> And there are a lot of triathlon clubs that have rides suitable for beginners. Check with your LBS or local triathlon club.<br><br>
The comments have nothing to do with you or how fit or attractive you look. Every rider I know, myself included, deals with the moronic comments. No reason for letting that stop you from doing what you enjoy.<br><br>
Yep!<br><br>
Hope to see you out there!<br><br>
Mike
 

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That's where those flashy lights come in handy, in Canada at <a href="http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_listing.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302692875&bmUID=1205966389526" target="_blank">MEC.CA</a> you can get them for 3-4 bucks each and hook'em up on your zipper or something. Bouncy I know but small price to pay... Put them on your bike too in front and back. There are 2 settings.... continuous light and flashing.
 

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That reminds me that I need to change the battery in mine. It started fading a couple of weeks ago, and I just haven't remembered to fix it.
 
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