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Chicago is full of biking trails and networks. It’s the perfect city for biking since it’s so flat with very few hills. Traveling the city via bike is a great way to get some exercise, experience nature, and take advantage of a great city and lake vistas.
While the current pandemic has meant some parks, trails, and nature preserves have closed down temporarily, there are still many great places to bike on Chicago’s north side. Here are a few options to check out now, and a couple that are currently closed.
The North Branch Trail system runs 33.5 miles. You can travel through the north side of Chicago and into Glenview, Morton Grove, Niles, Northbrook, Northfield, Skokie, and Winnetka. The trail follows along the beautiful North Branch of the Chicago River for about 20 miles and includes both paved and unpaved trails to bike on.
Another great biking trail on the north side of the city is the North Shore Channel Trail, running for 13 miles and offering lots of scenery and solitude since there’s usually only light traffic. You can easily connect from Chicago to Evanston, and it’s just a short distance to Wilmette, where the beautiful Bahai temple resides. The temple’s lawn is the perfect place to set up a picnic and take a break from biking.
A new addition to Chicago’s bike network is the Riverview Bike Bridge, also located alongside the North Branch of the Chicago River. The bridge borders the Avondale, Irving Park, and North Center neighborhoods and is over 1,000 feet long. The southern tip ends at Clark Park between Belmont and Addison. From the north, the bridge can be accessed just south of California Park on California Avenue.
One street that’s great for biking on Chicago’s north side is Ravenswood Avenue, which starts at Addison Street and runs to the Roger’s Park neighborhood. This street, which runs alongside the Metra tracks, doesn’t get too much traffic and offers a wide space to get around the city. Ravenswood Avenue is an excellent option since a few of Chicago’s biking trails are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another bikable street in Chicago is Milwaukee Avenue, which stretches from downtown up into the northwest suburbs. The great thing about Milwaukee is that it has protected bike lanes in a few places, so you don’t have to worry about car traffic. And even where it’s not protected, the bike lane is wide. Take Milwaukee through Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square, and Avondale to get a great workout and see a few of the city’s bustling north side neighborhoods.
The Lakefront Trail was closed by Chicago’s mayor when the pandemic was building in the city. This trail runs from Ardmore Avenue on the city’s north side down to 71st Street on the south side. It’s one of the most popular city attractions and is the perfect way for bikers to get some great lake and city views.
The 606 is an elevated walking and biking trail that first opened in 2015. The trail took over the abandoned Bloomingdale Trail, formerly the Bloomingdale Line railroad tracks. The 606 runs for almost three miles, connecting four different north side neighborhoods. It includes art installations, landscaping, and excellent city views for bikers, runners, and pedestrians.
These are a few of our favorite places to bike on the north side of Chicago. When you need to get out in the sun to exercise or interact with nature, these trails and streets provide plenty of options. Always check new restrictions and regulations to make sure that the trails are open to bike traffic. And don’t forget your water bottle.