Updated Dec 15, 2021, this article contains one or more maps ...
Sheridan Road: A Chicago Motorcycle Ride
This Chicago motorcycle ride is a favorite of ours. Not only is it easily accessible (my wife and I have lived in both Rogers Park and Libertyville), its pattern avoids the dangers of city traffic. Living near Chicago while still being able to escape whenever we like certainly has its perks.
The ride can have either an upbeat or slow pace depending on a few variables. There are two "sweet spot" timeframes that allow for less congestion. They are 9am-3pm and from 8pm-1am.
Police presence is scattered and justly swift. If you ride like a squid, they'll give you a souvenir. The roads are tempting but by day the neighborhoods infect you with a "why rush?" sensibility.
If you're heading north, the first 20+ miles of this Chicago motorcycle ride are peppered with coffee shops, ice cream parlors and restaurants. My favorite is a Mexican grocery store where you can buy really tasty fish tacos. I'll update this page as soon as I can remember the name and location.
Can A Chicago Motorcycle Ride Be Twisty?
There are beachside parks (not to mention Ravinia) and a lot of open space. In Chicago, North Sheridan really is the closest thing we have to twisties. One example is "thirteen curves", which is coated in clear algae towards the bottom so be careful.
A few miles ahead is my favorite section, that of Lake Forest College. The posted speed limit is perfect because you already feel as if you're traveling ten miles over it. Follow the "nine your fine, ten your mine" ticketing rule and you can still open the throttle enough for a decent grin.
We added a GoPro Hero 4 Black to the site's designated equipment list. Below is video footage from this Chicago motorcycle ride's reverse run at summer's start, featuring the music selection of Mrs. Margaret Dean. Enjoy!
What Are Your Favorite Urban Motorcycle Routes?
Open riding can be hard to find in major metropolitan areas. What local routes do you enjoy? What do you like about them and why? Your input is invited. Leave a comment!
Good to see that Sheridan Road is a nice ride, never been on it, but a group of us will be doing a week long trip around Lake Michigan and we are starting in downtown Chicago and heading north on Lake Shore Drive and rather than use I-94 or 41 I decided to head up Sheridan Road as it looked like a decent ride. Your blog and video confirms it should be a good option heading out of Chicago and into Milwaukee. Thanks.
It's definitely a nicer ride than the expressways in terms of Chicagoland. However, that luxury slows once you reach the Wisconsin border. If you want to keep the ride more secluded (and twisty) for the duration, I recommend this version of the LMCT route ...
So glad to find this video! I rode the section from Lake Cook to Tower today, looping back north up Forest Drive. Lather rinse repeat repeat repeat ok my hands are cold let's go home. Thanks to you, I can share the summer version with a dear friend who lives far away. Today's naked trees cast striped shadows.
Good stuff, Julie. The route sneaks away from Sheridan regularly as it continues due north. You certainly got to enjoy this bit, I bet.
Haha, I sure did, and thanks for the extra video link! I've done the south 'half' a handful of times, so am still learning to dodge the blasted manhole covers.
Combing through your route map on the northern portion was akin to looking at someone else's recipe for a familiar dish and being enticed to try some tweaks. Why yes, I am curious to try a bit of strong coffee in my chili.
You probably know the north shore well; here are a couple extra loops I'll add when so moved: the first subdevelopment north of Walker (counterclockwise, if no kids are out), Logan Loop in Fort Sheridan, and Deerpath-Lake-Westminster-Deerpath near LF College. Oh, and LF Beach and Waukegan Muni Beach during the offseason.
Aside: I think you taught my MSF class last spring? If so, thank you! and hi again!
Hello to you as well!
Fort Sheridan is a must ride, even at cruising speeds. That's my own southern turnaround point before returning to Libertyville. I'll have to check out those other two this season!