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  1. #1

    Default September: 11 days from/to Chicago - where to go?

    I'm planning a biker trip for a group of six motorcycle riders (ages ranging from late 30s to mid 60s, including two female riders). Currently the only thing sure is that we're going to arrive in Chicago by mid-september and that we'll have about 11 days for exploring the country side.
    We want to rent HD motorcycles in (or close to) Chicago and explore Illinois and/or neighboring states. Our main interests are nature, meeting people and maybe seeing historical places.
    If possible, we'd like to visit an HD factory, but it appears the only ones being interesting might be Kansas City,MO and York,PA. Those might both be too far.

    Having never been to the US before, I'm pretty unsure about the daily mileage we might be able to do before dropping dead from the bike. In Germany, I'd say more than 300-350km (180-220mi) per day on smaller roads would be too much. I'd expect this to be the same for this trip as we want to stay away from major roads whenever possible.

    So here's a couple of questions running through our minds:

    - Can sbd. recommend a decent place to rent HDs in or close to Chicago? So far, we only found EagleRider, which seem to be quite expensive (>$2000 for 11 days).
    - How much time would you recommend for circling Lake Michigan? Would we be needing camping equipment for not exceeding ~200mi/day? Would that be advisible to do in late september?
    - In case we choose to ride to Kansas City (HD factory), we'd like to use some scenic roads. What we found so far is Joliet to Bloomington (old route 66) and then to St.Louis via Havana, Beardstown and Alton might fit our profile. Does this seem reasonable?
    - Are there other places we should be going to instead of the mentioned ones?

    Thanks in advance for your help,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default North

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Harleys were born and raised in Milwaukee, just north of Chicago, and today they still have a presence in their traditional home town including corporate headquarters, a power train factory and a museum. There is also a fiberglass fabrication factory in Tomahawk, a small town in northern Wisconsin. So, if Chicago is the jumping off point and Harleys are the theme, then I'd suggest that you head north. Wisconsin is great motorcycle country anyway with large stretches of countryside (dairyland and northwoods), a great system of rural county roads (using a letter designation system to differentiate them from US and state highways), and a unique set of state designated Rustic Roads. Wisconsin is also well known for its plethora of local watering establishments, and while I certainly wouldn't suggest a heavy usage of those during your riding day, they will be readily available wherever you settle for the night.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I have to agree that Wisconsin is ground zero for the Harley culture and a perfect spot for you to look for your trip. Its almost a shame you aren't coming next year, as HD is planning a huge 110th anniversary rally in Milwaukee in early Sept. 2013.

    In addition to Eagle Rider, you might also look at Harley Dealerships. I know several of them in the Milwaukee area offer rentals, and I would guess that Chicagoland ones would too. If not, there's frequent bus and train service between Chicago and Milwaukee. The local dealerships can also provide you insight on other Harley related rides and events that might be interesting to you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Eaglerider really is your only legitimate choice who will rent bikes to foreign tourists. I show an 11 day rental with unlimited mileage in Chicago at $1353 for a full size Harley and $891 for a Sportster 883.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Looping the Lake

    Here's a discussion of a Lake Michigan loop from a few years ago, interestingly - also on Harleys, so my advice looks a bit familiar.


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