Springtime in Chicago comes with temperatures in the 60s and 70s and minimal crowds. If the weather cooperates, it’s a great time of year to explore the city and head out on a long bike ride. Winter chills are gone and the summer heat hasn’t turned up, making spring an ideal season for outdoor exploring. Here are some of the best bike paths to check out on a city bike in Chicago this spring.
Chicago Lakefront Trail
The city’s most popular trail, the Chicago Lakefront Trail covers 18.5 miles of relatively flat surfaces along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The trail passes some notable attractions, including the Shedd Aquarium and Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. Pack a picnic in bike baskets to enjoy in one of the city’s parks, or stop at one of the many restaurants or concession stands near the trail. The Lakefront Trail gets busy on nice afternoons, so head out in the morning if you want to avoid large crowds.
North Shore Channel Trail
The North Shore Channel Trail picks up near where the northern end of the Chicago Lakefront Trail ends. It follows the Lake Michigan shoreline and then the North Shore Channel, taking riders to the northern Chicago suburb of Evanston. Riders on neighborhood bikes should be able to easily handle the paved sections of the trail, as well as a smaller portion of the trail that’s a dirt path. The 10-mile trail starts at Lincoln Square in River Park, then heads up the North Branch of the Chicago River. Riders can enjoy more than 60 outdoor works of art at the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park along the way. Add an extra 1.7 miles at the end of the trail to see the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette.
For a city adventure, take your bike out for a ride on the 606, or Bloomingdale Trail. This converted railway line passes through some of the city’s hippest neighborhoods, including Wicker Park, Humboldt Park, Logan Square and Bucktown. Fill up bike baskets with food and sundries from a large number of restaurants along the path.
Green Bay Trail
If you’re looking for a break from the bustle of the city, head to the Green Bay Trail in the Northshore suburb of Wilmette. The 8.9-mile trail starts in Wilmette, at the intersection of Poplar Drive and Wilmette Avenue. Originally created as a stagecoach trail to connect Chicago and Green Bay, today the mostly paved trail passes through several small suburbs, including Winnetka and Highland Park. There are plenty of restaurants and shops along the way, where you can stop to stretch your legs and enjoy a meal.
Deer Grove Forest Preserve Trails
The Deer Grove Forest Preserve covers 1,800 acres of green space and is a short bike ride from the Palatine Metra station. Cyclists can take in natural views on more than 13 miles of paved and unpaved trails. In the springtime, you can see wildlife that’s not as abundant during other times of the year, with birds and amphibians on view in the preserve’s wetlands.
Before you head out on a bike ride this spring, find a quality bike and accessories like bike baskets from a trusted bicycle vendor.