Getting the proper gear is what's important to make winter rides easy.
First of all if you're not wearing dri-fit underwear no matter what situation you'd in, stop doing that. There's literally no situation that exists where is rather have cotton up my ass crack and sticking to my genitals and armpits than be wearing dri-fit
Secondly this company Airblaster makes a dri-fit union suit you can use in tandem with your St I fit underwear. AIRBLASTER Men's Classic Ninja Suit Hooded Outdoor One Piece Base Layer, Black, Small https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079MDN92N/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_0KTcEbT4MNQ1G
After that I wear good socks and boots, jeans, a thermal hoodie, leather gloves and a peacoat. I use a shemaug for my face.
Literally have never been cold riding my bike.
If its the conditions you're worried about, a hybrid frame with 32mm harsh weather tires is all you need.
This is a nice loop, the first 10 miles on Elston (you could take Milwaukee too) are kinda boring but the rest is bike path through the forest preserve and Botanic Garden then you head back on Sheridan past some of most impressive houses in Chicagoland, through Northwestern's campus in Evanston and then onto the lakefront path into the city.
This isn't my ride (https://ridewithgps.com/trips/14921830), but it'll give you the gist of it. LFP until it ends. Bike lane on all if not most of the roads all the way to the fishery.
For beer make your way back up LFP, and when you need to, head west to Marz(35th) or Maria's(31st) in Bridgeport
Here is the route we always follow. It's pretty easy, mostly paved trail and very little street riding. There's also the small 10 mile piece from Munster to Flossmoor I told you about above. There is a brewery at the metra station called Flossmoor Station. A great place to have another pitcher or 3 before heading home. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions. I've done this ride more than a handful of times.
Here's the route the West Commuters group takes to Oak Park.
I always see them hanging out at Fulton and Green in the evenings, when it's probably more important to stick together. Seems they leave every half hour or so, depending on the day. Check out their Yahoo group here.
With living in a tiny apartment with no ability to hang from the ceiling or walls I finally got tired of tripping over and constantly moving my bike. I found this and its worked really well to cut the storage space in half.
That's a glaring oversight haha. This was for the Ten Thousand that Rapha's Chicago shop has taken on this year (It used to be run by Comrade Cycles, Freeport Bicycle Shop, and North Central Cyclery in years past).
You can see the routes here. I did the 70 mile leg last weekend and felt like I could handle the 130, so I went back out this past Saturday. My feeling was wrong haha.
Instead of long explanations, here are links to the route around the Lake. I've completed the ride in two "installments," finishing the second just this Tuesday. There are also links to rather detailed itineraries, which you might find helpful.
Good luck, and if you have any questions...
I've actually ridden through the Sears Center going from Bartlett to Barrington Hills. But that was on a weekend during the day.
If I was committed to this I would take a route something like this: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/16994829
It probably needs some fine tuning and there are some sections that may need extra caution or sidewalk riding. But I think it's doable. Des Plaines River Trail from Devon to Algonquin might be muddy with all the recent rain so perhaps take an alternate there. The stretch on Higgins from mile 27 to 32 looks like it's on a side path so should be cool. The Poplar Creek trail immediately after however might be a grass horse riding trail. I remember we took Shoe Factory Road from Sutton to Beverly which was fine but again not during evening rush hour. Speaking of, use Beverly to cross the 90 as opposed to Sutton even though it'll add a mile or two. Google street view on both of those will make it clear why.
I'm really lucky because the basement of my apartment building has a hose and drain in the same spot I lock up my bike. So I rinse it off after every ride unless it has been a while since the roads were salted, or if it has rained since the roads were salted. I also have full fenders so my bike doesn't get that dirty in the first place.
I clean my drive train at least once a month, using a chain cleaning tool and brushes for the cassette. I try to wait until I know it's not going to rain again for a while. This is the tool I use:
The biggest pain in the ass is keeping the rims clean, but it's also the most important, if you have rim brakes. I probably don't do it often enough, but when I do, it seems to take about ten paper towels before I notice a reduction in the amount of dirt coming off the rim.
I hear kool stops are pretty awesome. I know Comrades sells them and Amazon has them listed for roughly the same cost as those first ones.
Kettle Moraine in La Grange WI. It's about a 1.5/2hr drive north in to Wisconsin. With exception to Palos and the new trails that have been cut at Raceway end of this season, it's the only other place i go Mountain Biking. Well worth the drive.
I do trails and surface streets. While major streets are not particularly bike friendly, there are plenty of other roads to ride on. I never ride on the sidewalk unless there is a compelling safety reason.
Here is a route that I like to take through the western burbs. It's a mix of trails and surface streets. It starts by the Riverside Metra station if you would prefer to take the train to the start.
To add to this, you can replace the quick release skewers with locking skewers. Makes the wheels harder to remove, but thieves would need a special tool to remove the wheels also. Mine look something like this:
The Three Floyd's ride is a classic. There is a South Shore Line stop and Metra Electric stop around mile 45 and 60 on the way back.
I would be kinda hesitant to ride on Archer for any length. I lack current context, but I would pile that in with Western.
You may want to modify the first one to stick with more of the established trails south of Joliet. Again, i may lack a bit of current information, but those roads are not friendly to cyclists from memory.
I hope what ever you work out, you keep us updated with how it goes. I plan on taking the train out to Joliet, and ride to Starved rock, stay 1-2 nights around there, then ride back to joliet, hopefully this year.
This is great and all. But isn't this an already pretty wide protected stretch?
Damen Avenue – Fullerton to Diversey: A protected bike lane providing more comfortable access over the Chicago River and connecting to the Elston Protected Bike Lane and Clybourn Buffered Bike Lane
If you bring a plug splitter you can almost always find a charging spot at the town stops on RAGBRAI. If you don't bringing a splitter places will let you charge, but you might have to wait your turn for a plug. I like this style that you can get at basically any hardware store because it's small to carry and gets the job done.
That road closed area was honestly so cool, but totally nerve-wracking.
I have a goofy GoPro mouth mount that I usually use for cool descents, but I couldn't find it before the ride. I'm going back out for the 120 this weekend, and if I don't find it by tonight, I'm going to go buy another one. That way, I'll get the speedy shots even when I'm fearing for my life haha.
I think there was a hill where I hit near 50mph!
I recommend going back to or keep using the hybrid.
It sounds like a road bike with drop bars isn't for you. It lowers your back angle and this puts too much weight on your wrists.
In addition the road bike probably had skinny high pressure tires. This means every little bump and road vibration is getting transferred into your wrists.
I purchased an adjustable angle stem from Amazon. It isn't a permanent solution IMO, too much wiggle, but it did help me find a better position. After I got it I realized I really didn't need or want a long reach and I liked a greater rise.
What worked for me is switching to 3" risers bars with a 50mm BMX stem turned upside down for a little more rise. This made riding my bike far more comfortable.
In addition to adjusting seat height and switching bars and stems you can:
I got these a couple years back and they work great. High quality brand but not expensive, and great for riding at night. Won't fog up with a balaclava either.
U locks yes, also I recommend one of these alarms for that "extra protection". Cheap, loud and easy to keep spare batteries on hand. It has saved me at least once that I found evidence (cut lock). It at least will draw attention if someone tries to cut/steal etc.
Or this one if you don't have discs: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002CSJDFG/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Also bonus points, get one of the cheap SIM card tracker taillights. Just amazon search for like SIM CARD Taillight, there should be a few $30 options. Just get a pay as you go sim card.
Having a few bikes stolen, I just pulled out all the stops and try to cover everything...
I take it out back with a bucket, some towels, and got the pro tools "washing brushes" - also some sort of soap is a big plus.
The BIG advantage- get a bike stand, Amazon has a few options of really compact ones. I keep one in my hall closet and I bring it out to clean/work on. Makes life a lot easier.
Bike stand I recommend for the price: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LQY55G2/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
if you dont wanna worry about leaving your bike locked up outside at night, i have one of these stands in my teeny studio apartment that does the job really well for both my bike and my fiance's bike.
good luck my guy!
If anyone from Critical Mass sees this PLEASE:
Edit: use something like Real-Time GPS Tracker.
Being inexpensive is one of the requirements I have for a commuter. They get locked up outside so you don't want it to be a more appealing target for thieves ('though they'll steal anything these days), and be less of a financial and emotional drain if they do get stolen. I use a U-lock and some security skewers with mine to keep it efficient and less cumbersome than a second lock.
If you want more information on winter commuting check out this thread.
Once it starts getting slushy I just plan on changing at work, no need to ruin nice work clothes!
Wearing warm tights and then something like these waterproof/wind resistant full zip pants (very easy to get in and out of without taking your shoes off) work great. I'd also recommend some type of waterproof overshoe to keep your feet dry
Wunderground's 10 day forecast view gives a tremendous amount of information at a glance, including wind speed and direction.
My ears are always a problem, so I like this:
It doesn't interfere with the helmet as much as a actual hat.
And like others have said, windproof stuff helps so much, even just a thin layer.
This combo works perfectly, I have used it for long rides in the rain many times over the years. I do not recommend using any kind of glasses or goggles instead of a visor, they will just get wet to the point of being useless. You only need goggles or safety glasses for snow, because it comes directly from the front.
I got one of these.
I like that the mount stays on your bike, and you just unscrew the light to charge. On my old taillights I had to worry about losing the elastic bands, and the usb charging ports would often get messed up. On this the usb is fully covered up when it's on the bike.
It will auto-shutoff when it senses you're stopped, and then start itself up again when you start moving. It also works as a brake light (it's supposed to turn solid when you slow down although I've never actually checked to see if that part works).
Been happy with it so far.
Working Bikes always seems to have a some really nice vintage steel among their very wide net of bikes for sale. Just flipped through their website today and saw a Celo Europa and a Schwinn Paramount on there.
Yes. I use https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GNLNYHC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I will swap them out for clipless if i'm heading to the hills (not in illinois) or if i'm in a group ride that will drop people (stupid sprints on the overpasses). For non-drop rides, it just doesn't matter, you won't need them.
But for 90% of my solo riding, they work great even in very wet conditions and allow me to use my road bike to make a lot more trips without having to worry about clopping around in my bike shoes.
This book changed my life: https://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Transit-Hikes-Lindsay-Welbers/dp/1950843114
The library has a copy I believe.
Not sure where OP lives but the North Shore Channel Trail is a great lakeshore trail alternative.
This 100km route starts a bit west of you (LT North HS in La Grange), but there's a huge parking lot to leave your car. I've done this a number of times, usually pre-dawn, and never been speed-limited by the route, only by my fitness. If you're able, you'll be able to ride this at an average 21+ mph solo.
My other routes all generally follow the BNSF tracks west, which really cuts down on cross-streets. Play with Strava's route creator, focus on Burlington Ave or any of the roads very closely paralleling the BNSF tracks, and you can easily get out to Naperville or further. As with the longer route, I'm not limited in any way by traffic lights or stop signs.
Feel free to message if you'd like. Good luck!
Looking to sell a CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Smart Trainer. Bought new at $1,050. Currently $850 on Amazon. Looking for $550. Very lightly used (10-15 times).
These costs a bit more but lobster gloves are so much better at keeping your hands warm.
Swix Men's Shield Split Ski Snowboard Mittens https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0812RVVHT/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_3JM6K4YA7RR9P3G9WH86
I actually adjusted my commute to ride on it more (I cut south on Kedzie and then take the trail back over to Milwaukee), it's still so incredible to free yourself from the stress of all the bad drivers out there and just relax for a few minutes at least.
Here's the alternate, it's 3/4 of a mile further:
Can't speak to the safety of the route but ...
Looking at the trail map, it seems to start at/near the Forest Park Blue Line station. Assuming a starting point of Logan Square Blue Line, and assuming you want to ride and not CTA it out there, Google has a 9 mi route for you
Hope that helps.
The only bit of specialized "cyclist" gear I had were my 45Nrth Wolfthorn boots, which did an amazing job at keeping my toes warm. Other than that I basically just wore normal clothes. Uniqlo HEATTECH base layer (cheap and holy fuck its warm). A t-shirt and a hoodie on top. Hat for my ears, though I did switch to a balaclava later on.
Hands were saved by these things, highly recommend.
Or just jump the wall it's not hard to do this for free. If you actually support Active Trans just give them some money and either ride down Lakeshore or don't.
The North Shore Century is a great ride usually held in September. They take it from Evanston to Kenosha-ish through Ft. Sheridan to connect the North Branch trail to the Green Bay trail, up 137(basically Sheridan) and then back down. You can certainly find routes online, like last year's https://ridewithgps.com/events/64699-north-shore-century-2018
You could also take the Metra up and ride from Waukegan to Milwaukee (55ish miles) and loop back to make it a century. I've taken a ride to Milwaukee and back, riding 32 and 137 the majority of the way and it's wonderful. More direct than the bike paths, and if you're comfortable riding in traffic it's as safe as any other road.
Here's a link to a typical route I'd ride out there. This is if I park in Deer Grove Forest Preserve but can easily be tweaked if starting from the Barrington Metra Station. The stop in the northeast-ish corner of the route around mile 31 is the Wild Onion Brewpub.
You can pretty much ride any of the roads in that area if you want to add or decrease distance but I would avoid County Line as much as possible. Google marks it as bike-friendly but it isn't. Speed limit is 50mph and there is barely any shoulder. I recommend minimizing time on that road if you're planning to ride out that way.
I've take the McClory trail most of the way to Milwaukee before, I'll only take the Sheridan route from now on.
Here was what I was thinking: https://www.komoot.com/invite-tour/60740258?code=qtb15l-bv-UuALWs7HgzcP_W328wLdFZtEHZb7-EuymNuqaWs4
Hey, fun! A few weeks ago I was up late one night and decided I wanted to do something like this, but I only got as far as figuring out how to pull all the posts into a spreadsheet via the reddit API. Never ended up geotagging them or putting them on a map. If anyone wants to go back further and maybe add to /u/BrewerCam's map, here's the data I've got: https://gofile.io/?c=QYkp6o
Here are my favorite lights. They're $15 and simple as could be. They run on 2032 watch batteries, so I keep a pack next to my bike.
Lived in the city for 6 years with just a bike. I can do pretty much anything with it these days. Winter can be rough, not from the cold but more ice and wind. Plus cars pay even less attention to bikes in these conditions. It's doable but it's also good to have judgement as to when to not take the bike out.
Groceries were a challenge for awhile but I just got these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B4ZKZK0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and let me say they are a god send. Best saddle bags I've ever gotten for city biking.
Not sure how many bikes you are transporting, but this is what I got - Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack , Black, 2-Inch Receiver https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0001VO1YY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_TZ47231PF0HW2TGT3R6T?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
If you never plan to do much else with it, you can find a curt class one hitch on Amazon for your car as well. Hopefully easy to install. My car has some years on it and the price was so cheap I just went class 1, 1”1/4” hitch. After 7 years of not installing anything pulling the trigger and maybe getting it wrong was worth the risk of never adding a hitch.
I think these look good. Somebody could get it off with a prybar I think but it would take a bit of work. They have a smaller one that's like $25 Bud I don't know anything about it, I've only seen the bigger ones. Probably the same with a smaller mechanism to lock into.
With how little snow/ice we've been getting and how aggressive the city is in salting main roadways, you really don't have to worry that much about "proper" winter tires as long as you use common sense. I ride on WTB Thickslicks on my single-speed and as long as there's not ice, they grip fine. Yes, even in snow.
I ski with ski goggles, but rarely wear them on a bike. My complaint is that you generally lose some of your peripheral vision. An alternative you should check out are "shooting glasses." Decent coverage. No loss of peripheral vision. Some include multiple tinted lenses. YMMV
This is basically what I have. The headlight is more powerful than it needs to be, but it's really nice when you end up on a street where the streetlights are randomly off (which will happen).
What's really great though are the side lights, and I haven't seen any other brand that has those. In my experience the most dangerous part about riding at night is people blowing through stop signs, so side visibility is in my opinion just as important as front visibility.
As cool as it is to have the powerful headlight, my favorite part of my headlight was actually the Vis Micro II tail light that came with it. It also has very bright side lights, and I notice that it's far more bright and noticeable (thanks to an irregular strobe pattern) than almost any other rear lights that I come across.
So you probably don't need a 900 lumen headlight, but you should definitely get a tail light with side lights.
I use these, I want to live, so I'm the annoyingly bright guy.
This was my first run with it but I have one of those flexible jaws clamps and clamp it to the handlebars. I like that it extends upward about 6-8inches (rather than being mounted directly on the bars) but going over bumps did jostle it a bit and mess up the angle.
Chicago has so much cycling history. A local cyclist, Chris McAuliffe, who is on xXx Racing published a great book for anyone interested in more.
Have a 15 month old and use a Yepp Maxi and they love it. Fits on my existing rear rack with an adapter plate (fits without adapter on a few rear racks).
I commute to work via bike during the week and attach the seat to the bike on weekends. Only takes a minute to clip on so it's no inconvenience to put it on and off each weekend.
The seat doesn't take up much space do it sits in the hall closet when not in use. Space and cost were the main reasons I didn't go with another option. Was able to find the seat used from another dad for $80 and bought the rear rack adapter plate on Amazon for $45.
Recommend joining the Chicago Family Biking Group on Facebook. Lots of people with similar questions, also where I found the Yepp used for way less than the new price if +$200.
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Op, if want a cheap but very bright headlight try this one https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X90ZYJ0/
I bought that when I lived in Chicago and was commuting from the south side to Streeterville and some sections of the south side lakeshore path are not even lit at all.
It has a battery that detaches, which straps to the top tube of the bike. Its a little bit bulky but it’s easy to take on off and charge it. The charge lasts about 20-30 miles for me. It’s bright, EXTREMELY BRIGHT, I cannot stress that enough, like most of the time riding in the city you’ll have to put it on its lowest settings and point it down towards the ground. Otherwise you’ll have a lot of angry drivers and other bicyclists yelling at you.
Again, it’s not the sleekest thing in the world, but it works really well for a cheap Chinese knockoff brand. Also it’s fun to scare the shit out of taxis turning into your lane by putting it into the super bright strobe mode. I’ve actually had people pull over and apologize because they thought it was a bike cop when I hit them with that strobe.
Don’t put a light on the front that’s going to blind oncoming traffic. If your in the city it doesn’t get that dark with all the artificial light.
This is what I use
I use these. Waterproof, wind proof, warm. Only downside is that after you're done riding you have to turn them inside out (or prop them open) to dry, because being waterproof means that any sweating you do stays in the glove.
I run this on my rear and like the results. Only used last winter, worked well in the slush, can run at lower PSI as well (at least on my rim)
And this one on my front:
Weird circumstance on how I have two different ones, but seems to work out well since the "beefier" one is on my rear where my weight is mostly.
I'm cheap, but I just ordered these for myself. I had them a while back but lost them in a move over the summer and haven't needed them yet this year.
I've used bicycling-specific lobster gloves in the past. They're expensive, and I tend to lose them. Argh.
This year, I'm going to try using neoprene ice-fishing gloves (with a liner underneath).
One thing I've found that helps immensely is hand warmers like these. I got a big box a couple years ago and still have a bunch left. They're activated by oxygen, so to make them last longer, I put them in a ziplock bag when I get to my destination.
I asked this question last year. Someone mentioned sailing gloves. I've never used them but it makes sense.
Crane Bell Suzue Brass Lever. Loud. Pure Tone. There should be a picture of this bell next to the dictionary definition of "bicycle bell."
I finally bought a bike rack for my steel frame Scwhinn. Does anyone have any panniers / baskets / boxes they recommend? Or for sale? I'll be doing daily commutes and occasional 'touring' rides.
I just bought a new carbon fiber bike and planed on riding it to work in the loop. My office is in the middle of a busy intersection, and there are people there constantly. We also have security and cameras nearby. Would it still be a mistake to lock up my bike outside? Also, I was thinking about hiding a GPS tracking device underneath the seat that would notify me immediately if it moves. Has anyone tried that before? Here is a link to it: http://www.amazon.com/Portable-Vehicle-Tracking-Real-time-Motorcycles/dp/B01BEZ7TQM?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=ox_sc_act_title_1&smid=A3BZPVUQ39BSYZ
I'm assuming the DIY solutions don't daunt you, but if you need a simpler solution, you can also find two bike hangers that just lean against the wall. These are especially handy if you really need to use a wall with inconveniently located studs.
Here is an example of what I'm talking about: http://www.amazon.com/Delta-Michelangelo-Two-Bike-Gravity-Stand/dp/B000ACAM38/ref=sr_1_3?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1441070814&sr=1-3&keywords=bike+rack