Best Stretch of Protected Bike Lane

Elston Between North and Chestnut

Critics' Picks

Milwaukee Avenue is for suckers. Sure, I bike on it almost daily, but on the rare occasions when I take Elston I'm struck by how much nicer it is, free from the crush of car and bike traffic that you find on Milwaukee when the weather is nice. Milwaukee's protected bike lanes (between Chicago and Kinzie) have been torn up for most of the last year, whereas the stretch of Elston is recently repaved and, frankly, a joy to bike on. You can build speed to coast around the gentle curves without worrying that you'll have to brake for potholes, and there are stoplights only at major intersections—way fewer than on Milwaukee. Plus, there's the scenery—heavily industrial, but if you're looking for the Morton Salt warehouse or the Peoples Gas headquarters, you're on the right track.