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Discussion Starter #1
Hello MTBR,

In September I'll be moving from Switzerland to Evanston, IL for a year. What worries me most, cycling-wise, is the vast flatness (or the flat vastness) of the area.

The question I'd like to ask the forum is: what bike to bring/get? I have a JET9 that does trail bike duty in the Alps, and a road race bike.

Are there any places around Evanston where a mountain bike is actually useful?

Doesn't snow prevent riding for 5 months of the year altogether?

Maybe I'd just be better off buying a CXer on the spot?

Thanks,
O
 

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Well there will obviously be nothing compared to Switzerland terrain wise but there are some trails if you don't mind a bit of a drive. If it's riding out your door your looking for it'll be road for sure. Past few years there has been snow on the ground from January til March. Streets are clear though. I mostly ride my Farley now so I'd say just pick up a fatty when you get here and you'll be covered for anything. Plus think of how fast you'll be when you get back on the road bike!
 

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Since you will be on the north side of Chicago, the drive to the Wisconsin trails should be manageable if you want singletrack. I think that Chicago has a decent cross scene. Not sure of the road riding, but imagine it would be good. Go over to the Wisconsin state forum and ask them for singletrack locations closest to Chicago and see what responses you get. I ride a little road, but don't race. If it were me, I'd bring the MTB as I find it more nimble in city riding/curb hoping/avoiding flats, etc.
 

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cambr. o r g, chicago area mountain bikers. there is singletrack 30 min SW of downtown, in palos heights. weekly group rides with cambr, trips, we even have a bike park in chicago called the garden. your niner will be fine for the singletrack in the area. Leaving the state will get you into all different types of trails. Wisconsin, has great stuff, michigan has great stuff, Indiana has great stuff. 14 hours will get you into the mountains in Colorado. 8 hours will get you into the upper peninsula of michigan which has AMAZING riding(copper harbor and marquette) biking in the snow is fun! winter dosent stop us!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hello and thanks!

Problem still not resolved, but I think I'll try to offload the road racer here and buy an inexpensive hardtail or a gravel grinder / CXer for the area. The Fat suggestions are tempting, nevertheless.

Do demo days ever happen in the Autumn?
 

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Just remember, it's soft here often. 5" of rain yesterday.
I can't imagine Palos has been open more than a few days so far in June.
So you'll end up riding a lot of alternative type trails, like turf.

IMG_0608.jpg

The skiing sucks too!
 

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Very few prepared tracks and not much in the way of hills.

I use a wider BC ski, because I'm almost always breaking trail and snow conditions vary widely.

IMG_0234.jpg


With two airports, it is easy to get out west.
 

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Very few prepared tracks and not much in the way of hills.
Call me crazy, but I've come to like skiing trampled, wide, dished out forest preserve paths. The more trampled the better. They suit my sloppy half stride half skate attitude and gear; you can pick up good speed and try some trail tele. Tracks are so . . . confining.

Evanston is its own reward.
 

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There is Palos, which like others have said is good riding and is 30 min away, and further out in the far West suburbs there is Saw Wee Kee. A lot of quick up and down single track. Lots of roots, some rock covered areas, and a lot of quick blind turns. Fun riding that can be tackled on anything from a fat bike to a decent hardtail XC, or full suspension trail bike. I moved here from the Southwest where there were mountains in my back yard. No crazy technical downhill stuff here obviously, and my current 5" travel full suspension is definitely a little overkill, but there is some fun riding to be had.

As far as the road bike goes, you will still find plenty of areas to ride. Take a trip to Iowa for RAGBRAI, too.
 

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About 4 hours south is an area called Kickapoo State Recreational Area. There are some fun trails there that guys do a lot of work on. Here is their Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/kickapoombc/

There is also Camp Campfield in Shelbyville, IL that has some fun trails.
Camp Camfield is in Sullivan, IL, but Shelbyville, IL has 3 MTB trails behind Dacey Trail (I'm from Shelbyville)
 

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There is a good, big mtb race series in Wisconsin (wors.org) which has a number of races within a reasonable drive from where you will be living. First race of the series is May 15
 
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