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Updated: June 23, 2013 11:37AM



The best bike map for the Chicago region comes from Active Transportation Alliance, which is releasing a new edition this summer.

The updated version is cleaner than previous incarnations, with routes color-coded to suit riders’ ability levels. (Chicago’s protected bike lanes are in teal, for example, while routes for cyclists comfortable riding with car traffic are in orange.)

“We tried to make the map more intuitive to use,” director of planning Paul Lippens said.

Priced the same as the old version at $10, the new map will be sold at local bike shops or online at activetrans.org.

Order a free Illinois Department of Transportation map to find roads with low traffic volume along your chosen route. District 1 covers the Chicago region. (217) 782-3464.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has a good website, traillink.com, that lets users search for bike trails by city, state or ZIP code. Helpful details about the trails, including user reviews, are listed.

A common complaint among cyclists is that Illinois doesn’t do enough to market and promote its bike trails. The Illinois Office of Tourism is developing a microsite on its website, enjoyillinois.com, where users will be able to search for trails and find races and other information. It’s scheduled to debut “in the coming months,” according to Jen Hoelzle, deputy director of the tourism office. The website currently has an “Outdoor Adventure” trip starter to help plan biking-related trips.

Join a bike club. League of Illinois Bicyclists lists nearly 50 clubs across the state on its resource-packed bikelib.org. The site also includes maps, route guides and details about organized rides.

— Lori Rackl



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