Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Contemplating Cycling Accidents

I've been able to ride to work a few time recently. That's been good; although, I am reminded that I have not yet had time to tune up the bike. It sounds and feels a little dry. My legs and lungs also require a tune up, but there is little I can do on that front.

Yesterday, while passing parked cars on narrow city streets, I was thinking about riders in Chicago who have recently been killed or injured. See one story here. Having had my own slight accident with a car, I decided to head south on the path through the Skokie Sculpture Park. This took me past the statue of Gandhi and and otherwise odd collection of art and what someone thinks is art (which, I guess makes it art). Unfortunately, the path ends abruptly at Touhy. Standing there befuddled for a moment, I was joined by another cyclist heading to the Loop and wondering how best to hook up to the Lake Front Trail. I proposed heading south on McCormick to Devon and east to pick up the marked route to the lake front. We headed off together and found the route to be a reasonably easy ride. For some reason, the other guy decided to head south on Clark and I continued on my way.

But here's the thing. There has to be a better way. The path through Skokie seems to pick up again and make it to Lincoln and Peterson or so. That appears to be close to the Channel Trail, which makes it as far as Lawrence (or so I am told).

So, here is my question to North Shore bike commuters: What is the best way to get to the Loop maximizing trails and minimizing opportunities to tangle with traffic?

UPDATE (6/30/2008):

It turns out that the Channel Trail does not end at Touhy; it was just blocked for repairs. I took that route in today and found brand new pavement from Touhy to Lincoln, which was great. The ride through the park was also great. At the end of the trail, there is a bit of a mess at Lincoln. The trail heads behind a strip mall and apartment building and dumps on to the sidewalk. At that point, there is a sign directing riders to the left. You'll note the unofficial single track on the left that is a shortcut to the next segment of trail. If you follow the sidewalk along Lincoln, as I did, you cross the channel and a side street and turn left again. Now you are going north but headed for the top of the next segment of the Channel trail. This segment also winds through parks and little patches of prairie along the channel. It was far more pleasant than my normal route down Western and across Pratt and I had no fear of getting doored for a good long portion of the ride.

At Lawrence, the trail ends. I followed the bike signs along Lawrence past Lincoln Square to Clark. I turned south on Clark for just a couple blocks where I found a sign directing me to head east on Wilson to the lakefront. Both Lawrence and Wilson have bike lanes. All in all, a nice alternative route that did not add significantly to the distance. I'll see if I can backtrack on the way home.

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