Monday, July 7, 2014

Aside: Three Floyds Brewery Ride

One of my "goals" for the summer was to bike to Three Flyods Brewery in Munster, IN. Particularly after talking with my friend Javier about the Austin to Shiner ride (I guess it's called Shiner GASP) while we were training through Chicago's Polar Vortex for the Boston Marathon.

Since the prospect of doing a long run and an 80 mile bike ride on the same weekend didn't sound too appealing, I decided to schedule the ride after Grandma's Marathon while I would take a break from running. Props to Lyndsey Baum for completing her scheduled 16 miler AND our Three Floyds ride!

Considering the apparent popularity of this ride there weren't really that many good resources to help plan the ride itself (that said, it isn't rocket science), so I decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to write a little aside covering some of the important details for fellow Chicago riders.

Where should I start?

Meet your friends on the Lakefront Path (I can't stand calling it the Lakefront Trail). Did you know you can check the conditions of the path by following @activetransLFT?

We rode from the 0 marker at Ardmore Ave (5800 N). Actually, I got on at Lawrence and rode up to meet the Baums:

Meeting anywhere on the LFT is probably a good bet no matter where you live in the city. During the summer there are public bathrooms and access to water fountains from 5800 N to 7100 S (the South Shore Cultural Center, where the other 0 marker is).

Where do I go after the Lakefront Path ends?

Actually, if you've never been to the 0 marker on the Southside, it's actually not that easy to find. Up until this point, it is pretty clear how to follow the Lakefront Path south, Once you get to 71st/E South Shore Dr, it may not really be clear that you'll need to turn east and continue until the two streets split (you should Google Streetview if you really want to see what it looks like, in fact here's a link).

Once you've made it to The End (the marker is at the northeast corner of the intersection), you'll want to continue down South Shore Drive until you get to 79th Street (1.25 miles). At this point, you have the option of riding on what looked like the recently reclaimed S Lakeshore Drive (which was very beautiful) or continuing on South Shore Drive (which does wind a bit) to 95th Street:

I'm getting hungry...

For the full experience, you'll want to refuel at Calumet Fisheries, a Chicago dive which has been critically acclaimed by the press for years. Be forewarned you won't find any bathrooms here so do you business elsewhere! Also it's cash only...

Anthony Bourdain and the ATM

Regardless of what you do at the earlier fork, you can easily get to Calumet Fisheries as long as you're paying attention for 95th Street, both Harbor Ave and Ewing will get you to 95th:

The Burnham Greenway

If you don't like traffic and underpasses, I would suggest taking the eastern route, outlined as it will connect you to the Burnham Greenway with minimal bustle. The more direct route is to ride Ewing to Indianapolis and get on immediately after crossing under the Skyway:

It may look a little funny presented here, but the X marks where you'll be getting on the Burnham Greenway which lies just south of the Skyway and runs parallel for a half mile before turning directly south.

Follow the Greenway (this is dummy-proof) past Eggers Woods Forest Preserve for about 2 miles. This section is literally flat and straight with a handful of street crossings. Once you enter Eggers Woods, pay careful attention for the only fork in the path (again about 2 miles from where the Greenway departs from the Skyway). Take this left (east) turn immediately to get onto Wolf Lake Boulevard:

Follow Wolf Lake Boulevard to the southern most exit by the Ranger Quarters on to Avenue N. At Avenue N and 134th turn left (east) again. This gets a bit sketchy, but should be fine if you ride smart.

You'll  come to a T (there is a Luke's Gas Station on the northwest corner). At this point you'll have unceremoniously crossed from Illinois into Indiana and 134th will be 136! The T intersects 136th with Sheffield. After turning right (south) onto Sheffield continue right at the fork which should keep you on Sheffield which has much less traffic than Hohman though when Sheffield dead ends at Hoffman, you'll want to get on Hohman which will take you through downtown Hammond, IN!

Riding south down Hohman for about a half mile, look for Sibley St and turn left (east). On Sibley you'll be looking to turn right (south) onto the Erie Lackawanna Trail. If you pass the First Baptist Church, you've gone too far!

About .25 miles after getting on the trail, south of Douglas, you'll want to take the right (western) path which is the Monon Trail.

You're Almost There!

Following the Monon Trail for 4.4 miles will get you to Fisher St, cross Fisher and turn left (east) towards the Walgreens and Calumet Ave. Staying on the west side of the street (the sidewalk is nicely divided for bikes) turn right (south) onto Calumet Ave.

Ride a single mile south on Calumet, looking for Superior (there's a Speedway/White Castle just before Superior, if you're thirsty you should buy stuff to drink at this Speedway). Take Superior to Indiana Parkway and you'll have arrived:

Glorious, isn't it?

Once you've arrived, you'll probably have to wait as you can observe in the photos above and below. But that's why you ride with friends (thanks Eric and Lyndsey)!

Eric and I planning our meals.
(photo credit: Lyndsey Baum)

We arrived around 2:00pm and waited for a good couple hours to be seated (We ate, drank, and were on the road again around 5:00pm). I think you might be able to mitigate some of the wait time by arriving closer to 4:00pm of course this would push back your departure time.

Ultimately, it is rather astounding the number of miles you can bike on paths, away from car traffic. This ride was also done in rather mild weather for July and with a nice tailwind out of the south, expediting our return trip a bit. For complete route information of our trip, check out my Strava posts: to Three Floyds and Back Home.

I hope this was helpful for those planning a similar ride. 

Do you have any questions about the ride?

What are some rides you would recommend?

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