LOVE HATE RELATIONSHIP
Let me begin with the good things about this trail. As other reviewers have mentioned, this trail is well maintained, and beautiful. You can't beat the views of the city and the water. It's 18 miles of scenery that is unparalleled.
That being said, I hate this trail. I agree with shld2005 who wrote the review "not good for a legitimate workout... only for putzing around." There are walkers, dog walkers, joggers, in-line skaters, BBQ'ers, strollers, and other cyclists all using the trail. It's great that it's a resource for everyone, but it renders this trail unsuitable for anyone who'd like to get a real workout. I find that I can only ride this trail at about 530 am so that I can be done before 8 am on weekdays. Cooler temps generally makes it better for those who want to work on their fitness because the better the weather, the busier this trail is. Also, this trail is used for many organized runs and walks during the summer. I have not found a good resource for telling us when all of these events take place, so you may run into even more traffic because you were unaware of some event that is taking place on this trail.
I'd like to comment that the cyclists on road bikes who are exercising on the trail are not "training for the tour de france" just like the runners who are on this trail are not training for the Olympics. Let's all be tolerant please. That being said, for those who are finding it challenging to get a good workout on this trail, I'd recommend taking the new extension to the lakefront trail south to the Eerie Lackawanna trail in Indiana or the Burnham Greenway trail.
My Saturday morning stroll
"For the past 30 years, my friend D. and I either walked or biked this trail every Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. We take a break and walk into the city, have breakfast and then return to the trail.
Individually, we exercise on teh trail during the week as well. On the weekends the ""traffic"" can be unbearable. On weekends during the summer, many 10k runs are held, as well as organized training runs, so it can not be the escape it is during the weekdays.
Nevertheless, this is a treasure. The trail from around Irving Park to Oak Street is the busiest on the weekends. The south side end is not so busy, although the area around Hyde Park is well used.
Even if you just visit Chicago, this trail is a treasure to explore. Bikes can be rented at Navy Pier and elsewhere."