There may be
no better place to bicycle than in Illinois. From flat prairie land,
to rolling hills, to towering bluffs to breathtaking river and lakefront
views -- Illinois has it all. If you haven't been on a bicycle lately,
you don't know what you are missing. Hop on and take in some of
the best scenery Mother Nature has to offer.
Safety Tips and Laws
in the Great Lakes Region
One of the first rail-trails in the country, the 62-mile Illinois
Prairie Path is a pitchfork-shaped trail in the heart of the Chicago
suburbs. This hiking, bicycling, equestrian and nature trail in
DuPage and Kane counties stretches from Elmhurst to Wheaton, where
it splits into four spurs that lead to the Fox River in Elgin, Batavia,
Aurora and Geneva.
This 27-mile greenway on the former right-of-way of the Rock Island
Railroad in Peoria and Stark counties is the first state-owned trail.
The hiking, biking and cross-country ski trail set in the scenic
central Illinois rural landscape extends from Alta, near Peoria,
to Toulon, in Stark County and passes through the communities of
Dunlap, Princeville, and Wyoming.
Hills Bike Trail
Eleven miles of trails meander through beautiful Moraine Hills State
Park near McHenry. Exceptional scenic and wildlife viewing opportunities
abound. Come see the remarkable work the great glaciers left behind.
is located in southern Illinois, between the communities of Harrisburg
in Saline County and Karnak in Pulaski County. The trail provides
hiking and biking through farmland, hills/bluffs, and bottomland
areas. One may travel through the Cache River Natural Area and Shawnee
National Forest on the trail.
Tour some of the most breathtaking scenery in the nation along this
14.5-mile trail from Alton to Grafton. Nine miles of the trip is
along the Great River Road and an extension to beautiful Pere Marquette
State Park is being developed. Travel along the Mississippi River,
view the towering bluffs, and see bald eagles take wing. Don't forget
to stop in historic Elsah.
This 18-mile trail between St. Charles and Sycamore in Kane and
DeKalb counties stands on the former site of the Chicago and North
Western Railroad line. Enjoy the striking rural landscape, including
the wetlands you will pass.
& Michigan Canal State Trail Forty miles of trail
await you at the historic I & M Canal. It begins at Channahon,
southwest of Joliet to Gebhard Woods State Park and continues from
Marseilles to LaSalle. The canal once was part of an important transportation
network linking Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico.
This spectacular 20-mile shoreline bike path takes you through some
of the best views Chicago has to offer. Visit Lincoln Park Zoo,
the Shedd Aquarium, Oak Street Beach, Grant Park, the Museum of
Science and Industry or any number of other outstanding places the
city has to offer.
River Bike Trail
Thirty-five miles of trail wind through the Fox River Valley from
Aurora to Algonquin. You'll bike through forest and nature preserves
and some lovely communities to which you'll long to return.
The State of
Illinois recommends that when planning a bike tour the Department
of Transportation be contacted for county maps showing low-volume
local roads along your selected route. A map catalog can be obtained
Illinois Dept. of Transportation
2300 S. Dirksen Parkway
027 Administration Bldg.
Springfield, IL 62764
bikeway maps of the Chicago metropolitan area are available for
$7.00 plus $1.90 postage from:
Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission
400 W. Madison Street, Room 200
Chicago, IL 60606
For more information
concerning other trail activities, please contact:
of Natural Resources
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702
As a general
rule, bicyclists must obey the same traffic laws as vehicle drivers.
The following laws and safety rules are particularly important for
- Always ride
with the traffic flow, as close to the right edge of the road
- Obey all
traffic signals, pavement markings and directions given by police
- Use hand
signals to let drivers know your intentions.
after dark is very hazardous. Bicycles must be equipped with a
front light that reaches 500 feet and a rear, red reflector.
- Wearing light-colored,
reflective clothing increases your visibility to other drivers
during the day and night.
- Learn to
look over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving
- Do not pass
on the right. Motorists often will not look for passing cyclists
in that direction.
- When moving
the same speed as traffic, ride in the middle of the lane, especially
at busy intersections.
- Keep both
hands on the brakes. Allow extra stopping time in the rain.
- Be alert
for cars pulling out and make eye contact with the drivers to
ensure you have been seen.
- Do not weave
between parked cars.
to state laws, many municipalities have ordinances restricting bicycles
in certain areas. Contact local law enforcement agencies in the
areas where you plan to ride.
bicycle for the following:
- Wheels are
securely attached, properly adjusted and spin freely with all
spokes in place.
- All reflectors
are clean and intact.
- The seat
and handlebars are adjusted to a comfortable position with all
nuts and bolts tightened.
- Hand grips
- Tires should
not have cracks on the sidewalls, cuts in the tread or excessive
wear. Using proper tire pressure, printed on the sidewall of the
tire, prevents excessive wear.
brake pads are not worn and are properly adjusted.
- Gear and
brake cables move freely. Replace rusted or frayed cables.
- The chain
should be free of rust. Too much oil will attract dust and dirt,
shortening the life of the chain.
- Pedals are
securely fastened, and pedal reflectors are clean and visible.
takes only a few minutes and may prevent you from having an accident
or mechanical breakdown. If you are uncertain of the condition of
your bicycle, visit a local bike shop. Most shops offer free safety
inspections and books on do-it-yourself maintenance.
your bicycle when it is parked. Register your bicycle with your
local police department if possible. Be sure to keep your bike's
serial number in a safe place.