The Mellow Chicago Bike Map: Routes Recommended by Members of The Chainlink
The Mellow Chicago Bike Map, a collaboration between The Chainlink, Chicago’s social networking site for cyclists, and Streetsblog Chicago shows low-stress, mostly on-street bike routes suggested by Chainlink members on a recent forum thread. Thanks to Chainklink owner Yasmeen Schuller for granting permission to incorporate this material into the map.
Unless otherwise noted, these routes work in both directions. Many of these are on quiet side streets, rather than the business streets that are more prevalent on the city’s official bike map (which is itself a great resource), hence the name of this map.
Note that some of the routes include intersections with main streets that don’t have stoplights or four-way stop signs. Please use caution at these unsignalized crossings and wait for a safe gap in traffic before proceeding, and use this map at your own risk.
Below are some descriptions of the routes by Chainlinkers from the thread. I’ve added a few additional on-street routes as connectors. Click on the lines of the Mellow Chicago Bike Map below for details about the routes.
While this map is not intended as a comprehensive route guide (the city’s bike map or Google Maps’ Chicago biking layer and directions are better for that) hopefully it will give you a few ideas for new streets to try.
And keep in mind that the Mellow Chicago Bike Map is a work in progress. If you know of any great routes that aren’t included here (especially South or West Side streets – the map is currently somewhat North Side-centric), let us know in the comments section, and/or post a comment on the original Chainlink thread and I’ll update the map. And now for the routes…
Racine Avenue to Major Taylor Trail (Simplified) (green/brown/yellow)
“Heading south on Racine through Back of the Yards… past Sherman Park to Garfield and over to Damen either straight through to Dan Ryan Woods or looping around Marquette Park and exploring is a great day ride. You can catch up with the Major Taylor Trail at the Dan Ryan Woods and go all the way to the south suburbs or cut through to Blue Island and have a picnic or a beer and Metra back if you like.” — Chainlinker Caiken. Note that the yellow line for the Major Taylor Trail is a simplification and doesn’t show the signed on-street detour between 105th and 115th.
Drexel Boulevard (red)
A relaxed north-south route between Oakwood and Hyde Park Boulevard.
Loomis Avenue (burgundy)
“The mighty Loom (Loomis St.) from Archer (Bridgeport Bakery, yeah!) north to Jackson.” — Chainlinker Jim Reho
Blue Island (blue)
A decent route between the Southwest Side and downtown.
18th Street (yellow)
“For the views [on the bridge over the river]” — Chainlinker Jennifer. Connects to Calumet and bridge and tunnels by the 18th Metra station and Soldier Field to the Lakefront Trail.
Wood Street (lavender)
Thanks to the new-ish Neighborhood Greenway on Wood in Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village, including a contraflow lane on Wicker Park Avenue, it works as a continuous low-stress, north-south route from 15th all the way to Cortland.
Oakley Boulevard (orange)
A relaxed north-south route between Wicker Park and Tri Taylor.
Northbound from Loop to Ravenswood (blue)
“Dearborn-Kinzie-Kingsbury-Erie-Larrabee-Dickens–Magnolia-Webster-Southport.” — Chainlinker Shawn Evans
Southbound Route From Ravenswood to Loop (pink)
“Southport-Belden-Lincoln-Larrabee-Oak-Cambridge/Kingsbury-Illinois-Wells.” — Chainlinker Shawn Evans
Erie Street (turquoise)
Suggested by Chainlinker Alex Z.
“I’ve recently discovered that Kimball is quite nice for it’s whole length between Lincoln and North Ave despite [not being a recommended route on the city’s bike map]. The speed limit is 20 or 25 and there’s lots of stop signs at T intersections and one ways that slow motor traffic but make it pretty easy to keep rolling on a bicycle… It’s mostly a very nice and alternative to Kedzie and Central Park.” – Chainlinker Jacob Wilson
Cortland Street (brown)
A quiet east-west street between Damen and Racine, but be careful at the (signalized) intersection with Ashland.
Wolcott Street (maroon)
Wolcott is a nice north-south alternative to Damen between Diversey and the Berteau Greenway (with a jog necessary on Lincoln and Byron). Also works as a southbound route from Andersonville to Bucktown.
Wellington Avenue (purple)
“A good east-west route between Broadway and Lincoln/Southport.” — Chainlinker Carter O’Brien
Northbound on Leavitt (orange)
From Wellington to Bowmanville.
Southbound on Bell (pink)
Works from Montrose to School, at which point you can head east to Leavitt.
Ravenswood Avenue (yellow)
Works as a north-south route between Lawrence and Addison, as well as many other stretches on the North Side. “Love me some Ravenswood” — Chainlinker Fran Kondorf
The Berteau Greenway (green)
An official city-designated east-west Neighborhood Greenway with traffic calming and contraflow bike lanes.
Glenwood Avenue / Greenway (red)
Thanks to the new Neighborhood Greenway on Glenwood (which includes contraflow bike lanes and bike symbols on Carmen, connecting with buffered bike lanes on Broadway), you can now bike both north and south on all of Glenwood between Devon and Carmen.