I have been an avid bicyclist for many years. I equally enjoy riding on the road and off the road. Luzimar and the boys also enjoy bicycling, and in fact bicycles were their primary transportation in Brasil for a number of years. Northern Illinois offers a number of great places to ride, both on the road and off. Check out our list of great places to ride below.
We don't have the trickest bikes, but here they are:
Giant ATX 890
This is my ATB and it really kicks. Has a great frame and componentry (for its day).
I put a century on it in September of 1995. Bought it at Spokes in Wheaton. They added bar ends and
a Rock Shox Quadra 21 fork (that has seen better days).
This was my first good bike. Though its components are obsolete, it has a stiff aluminum frame that supports my 6'3" frame. Bought it at Bicycle Specialities
which has since sold out to BikeSource.
Cannondale MT800 Tandem
I have always wanted a Cannondale, because of their awesome stiff aluminum frames. We'll we finally got one (actually it is on order). The tandem will finally allow
me to keep up with Luzimar! Bought it at BikeSource.
Mongoose Manuever ATB
I purchased the Mongoose at Spokes for Luzimar when we're dating. It has a good frame and decent components but Luzimar thinks it is too heavy. What do you expect for $300???
Schwinn Moab 1
This is one trick bike. Eber bought it at Galyans. One of the best bikes (ATB) I have
seen for under $1000 (okay, $999.99).
This is not a trick bike, but it was cheap! Kurt has no time for bicycles now that he
rides his Honda VLX. Actually, rumor has it that he is saving for a Schwinn.
I have lots of bike stories. One of my favorites and most embarassing...A number of years ago I ran into a recumbant manufacturer friend-of-a-friend at the
Bike Show at the St Charles, Pheasant Run Conference Center. The manufacturer encouraged me to take it for a spin in the parking lot. I
took him up on the offer and took to the bike rather quickly, even with the under-the-seat steering. As I was lapping the parking lot, a number of the
US Cycling team members were watching me and yelling encouraging remarks--basically cheering me on. Then, as I passed by them for the third time, my shoe
laces got caught in the chainring and I crashed and burned big time. The encouraging remarks, let's say, changed a bit. Very embarrasing, especially given
I had a heck of a time extricating myself as I was down and tied up in the chainring. Needless to say, I am still waiting for my 15 minutes of fame.
The great thing about bicycling, is you can ride just about anywhere. But for those of you tired of riding in the neighborhood, here are
a few places we like to ride:
Illinois Prairie Path
Definitely our favorite place to ride. I once rode a century on this path. You can pick it up throughout DuPage
county; we usually pick it up South of 56 on 59. Other times, we pick it up in Wheaton.
Contact: The Illinois Prairie Path
PO Box 1086
Wheaton, IL 60189
Great Western Trail
A great path that begins in DuPage County, traverses Kane County, ending at the DeKalb county line.
Contact: Friends of the Great Western Trail
247 E. Lincoln Ave.
Glendale Heights, IL 60139
Danada and Herrick Lake Forest Preserves
I lump these together since they are connected by a viaduct. Nice place to ride and if you like, you can connect up to the priarie path.
Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
One of my favorite places to ride. Luzimar almost got hit by a kamikaze rider so she has lost a bit of interest in riding there. The complete
circuit is about 10-12 miles. If you ride hard, there are some marginally challenging sections, including a fairly steep downhill the ends in a very quick left hander onto a bridge or ....Well, let's
not discuss what happens if you don't make the turn. The Main Entrance is located at Cass Avenue and Northgate Road
I-55 to South Cass exit, take Cass south to Northgate Road, west on Northgate Road 250 ft. to entrance on the north side.
Contact: (630) 933-7200.
Green Valley Forest Preserve
Relatively small, but it is close to home so we ride it a lot. The paths, mostly limestone are nicely maintained. It is located in
at the Naperville/Woodridge/Bolingbrook border, 1/2 mile West of Route 53, Just south of 75th.
Busse Woods provides a paved 11 mile circuit that is great for any bike and levels of bicyclists. It is located 1/4 mile
east of the 290 at Higgins Road.
Palos Hills Forest Preserve
I have not yet biked Palos Hills, but I hear it is great. I stole the following commentary from another site:
This area provides some of the best mountain biking in close proximity to Chicago. The trails are good for all levels with
a mixture of single track and fire roads. Take I-55 to LaGrange Rd south. Archer Avenue west and left on 95th St. At the top
of the hill you will enter the Preserve. There is parking at Bull Frog Lake.
Contact: Forest Preserve District of Cook County (708) 366-9420
Salt Creek - Bemis Woods
A fun path that begins at the North Side of Odgen (34) 1/2 mile west of Wolf Rd -- 1/2 mile east of 294. You can follow the path
all the way to Brookfield zoo, if you're willing to cross a few busy intersections.
Chicago Lakefront Path
We have not peddled this path. I stole the following commentary:
This is a great path for leisure bicycle riding. It is approximately 20 miles long starting at Sheridan Rd and Bryn Mawr. It travles south until 71st Street and Lake Michigan. There are some street crossings but the path travels through parks along the Lake. There are many places to stop and swim, have lunch, go to museums, and other attractions.
North Branch Trail
We have not peddled this trail, but it is supposed to a great place to ride. I stole the following commentary from another site:
This is a beautiful paved trail that winds along the North Branch of the Chicago River and the Skokie Lagoons.
It is surprisingly empty during the week. There are street crossings so watch for cars.
It is about 20 miles from the parking lot to the Botanic Gardens and then you can ride streets north to the
Wisconsin border or turn back around. Directions: Take Milwaukee Ave northwest until Devon. The parking lot is a half a block east on Devon.
Contact. (708) 366-9420
I & M Canal State Trail
I have walked the I & M Canal State Trail, but have not biked it. I stole the following commentary:
This is a limestone trail that extends about 56 miles. There are many manmade and natural attractions along the side the
trail and canal. The Illinois River winds along the trail connecting Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. Directions: Take I-55
southwest to Hwy 6 and exit at Canal St. Go 1/2 mile southeast to Story St and then one block west. There are many places
along the Canal to park this is just one of the closest to Chicago. Contact: (815) 740-2047
Riding with a group is safer and more fun than riding alone....The following is a list of bicycle shops and clubs that sponser group rides, on and off the road.
The Wheaton Spokes bicycle shop sponsers group rides on Wednesday (on road) and Sundays (off road). I used to ride with this
group and it was a ton of fun. At least in the past, they had the fast group and the intermediate group. However, if
you cannot average 15-18 mph and ride 20-25 miles, forget it.
The Naperville Spokes bicycle shop sponsers group rides on Sunday (on road).
The American Bicycle shop in Downers Grove sponsers a group road ride on Wednesday each week.
The Branford Bike "Saddles" web pages are probably the best pages on the web if you want to shop for top-of-the-line
saddles--Branford carries them all. Good stats, pics, and their prices are comparable to everyone else. I have not dealt with
them so I do not have a customer service opinion. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee except on saddles. Their saddle
policy is as follows: "Saddles that have been mounted on a seatpost or ridden may NOT be returned." Check out
Wallingford below if you're interested in dealing with someone with a more liberal saddle return policy.
Simply the best when it comes to bike tools. Even carries some cool clothing. Cool site and an online store to boot!
The Wal-Mart of bicycling merchandise--that's a compliment. If you can find it cheaper somewhere else....
Saris bike transport products are some of the best out there, especially the bones rear rack. Check them out!
Wallingford Bicycle Parts - Brooks Saddles
Great service and a great stop for hard-to-get parts. The Wallingford and Sheldon Brown (Harris Cyclery) sites are considered
the best place to shop for, read about, and purchase Brooks saddles. Prices are comparable, but Wallinford offers a
6-month return policy just in case the Brooks saddle does not "break-in" for you.
Some beeee-utifull bikes for relatively little money.
Manufacturer of quality, suspended-leather saddles. I have used a Vetta saddle on both bikes for years with acceptable comfort. I recently purchased a Specialized Body Geometry--an absolute waste of money, period. The beauty of the Brooks saddle is that after x miles, it molds to your backside. Plus, they're one of the most beautiful saddles on the market. Padded and gel seats are highly overrated and regularly discarded. Check out my review of the Brooks B.17 Standard Saddle.
Campagnolo's Web Site
Lots of stuff to see and do (take the quiz). Of course, the company also has a small line of bicycle parts...(hehehehe).
If you like stiff, aluminum, USA-Made bikes...take a look here!
Their claim to fame are fantastic tandems. Prices start at about $3500.00.
Da Vinci Designs Hand-Built Tandems
Great looking and performing tandems (as per reputation). Da Vinci employs a unique Independent Drive system so that
the Captain and Stoker and pedal/coast independent of each other. Prices start at about $3500.00.
Gary Fisher Bicycles
Legend has it that he was one of the first mountain bikers. I have seen the bike. We called them tanks in
SoCal and rode them long before the Gary Fisher stories. Nah, I am not bitter. I am not!! Really!!!!
A few years ago I asked Spokes for the best ATB under a $1000; the Giant ATX 890 was it. Great frame, good components.
Gita Distributor Site
Eye Candy, beware! Diadora shoes, great bikes, great site! Distributor for Merckx, Pinarello, etc.
Basic site but has owners and service manuals for their products from 1996 to present. Too bad I have a 1995 fork!
One of the better, if not finicky tandems on the market. Too much money for my blood, but hey, I have thin blood... I figure when a bicycle costs more than a medium priced motorcycle, there is something wrong.
The following are dealers we do business with, listed in alphabetical order.
Downers Grove, IL 60515-2732
Notes: Good shop, carries Trek and Schwinn at rock bottom prices ($50 less on a Trek 1000 than Blazing Saddles). Have
to watch their advice though--one of the sales guys picked out a "female" ATB for my son and had no idea what they had
6460 College Road
Lisle, Illinois, 60532
567 South Route 59
Aurora, Illinois 60504
Notes: A great, family-owned and run shop. Good selection of entry-level through intermediate bikes. Good knowledge and
they are willing to order.
1277 S Naper Blvd
Naperville, IL 60540
Notes: Okay prices and service. We frequent the place because they're the closest full-line cycle shop to the house.
1626 Ogden Ave
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Notes: Used to be family-owned shop named Bicycle Specialities. However, they still have that family-owned feel (which is good). Bought a Peugeot, Trek, and our new Cannondale MT800 Tandem there. Always helpful, close by, encourages test rides. Great prices. Bicycle purchase includes three years of adjustments. Read our Tandem review for additional superlatives. Always the first place we stop when shopping for bikes.
2930 Campton Hills Drive
Saint Charles, IL 60175
Notes: Great shop, great service, great people, one of the best! They fixed my Trek aluminum frame and fitted me to the
bike, after the dealer who sold me the bike could do neither. My second favorite dealer and perhaps would be my favorite,
but they are a long distance from home. Bummer.
Blazing Saddles Bicycles
6300 Robert Kingery HWY ST 202
Willowbrook, IL 60514-0000
Notes: Very knowledgeable and better than average help--highly regarded in the area but a bit pricey.
Hartley's Cycle Shoppe
24 W. Hinsdale Ave.
Hinsdale, IL 60521
Telephone: (630) 323-7156
Fax: (630) 323-7195
Notes: You won't find a nicer shop owner. Have bent over backwards trying to get us on a bike, it just never works out. Caters to
beginners through intermediates.
Mill Race Cyclery
11 E. State Street
Geneva, IL 60134
Notes: Very knowledgeable, great prices, caters to intermediate to higher levels of riders. Classy shop right along the
Fox river. Carry a great line of bikes--drool city.
428 S. Route 59 Suite 120
Naperville, IL 60540
Notes: Hard to beat their prices. Had a run in with one of the clerks, too bad, because I buy lots of Performance Gear. Their
gear (clothing, shoes, parts) is of good quality at hard-to-beat prices.
Update 1: I received a Performance sale flyer in the mail. I call the store and ask if they have the items and whether the
sale prices were current. The clerk replied yes on both accounts. During checkout I realize the register price is at least $30 more
than my mental calculator. Sure enough, the clerk charged me the normal prices. Okay, fair mistake. The clerk reenters the
items and adjusts for the sale prices. Find out 1/2 hour later, the clerk only gave me the sales price on the two items I complained
about; two other items remained at the regular price. Returned to the store and got my $6.00.
Update 2: A week later I call the store about a bike rack. Will you honor the Internet sale price? Clerk replies, Yes.
Do you have the item in stock? Clerk replies, "Yes, we have one left, will hold it for you." Great! I show up at the store
and it turns out they only have a returned, used rack. No box. No instructions. No warranty card. No discount. No apology,
saying, "Sorry, we misled you or did not inform you our last one was A STINKING, WELL USED, RETURN!" I doubt I will ever
step foot in Performance Bicycle, Store 23 again. Their clerks are pathetic. Suggestion: Buy from the Performance Mail-Order,
or use the store Red Phone. But don't count on anything the Store 23 clerks tell you!
223 Rice Lake Square
Wheaton, IL 60187-2136
Notes: Great shop. Caters to everyone from kids to pros, and seems to give the same great help to everyone who walks in.
Sponsers group rides on Wednesday and Sunday. Bought my Giant ATB and Luzimar's ATB there and have been extremely happy with the service
and care. Perhaps my favorite shop.
1807 South Washington Street
Naperville, IL 60565-2446
Notes: Great shop, owned by the same family as the Wheaton store. Not quite as helpful, yet again is one of the few stores
around that caters to everyone. Sponsers Sunday rides.