Mayor Richard Daley worked to establish Chicago as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States, and it remains that way today. More than 120 miles of designated bike routes run throughout the city, through historic areas, beautiful parks, and along city streets (look for the words "bike lane"). Bicycling on busy city streets can be a challenge and is not for the faint of heart—cars come within inches of riders, and the doors of parked cars can swing open at any time. The best bet for a scenic ride is the lakefront, which has a traffic-free 18-mile asphalt trail with scenic views of the skyline. When your bike is unattended, always lock it; there are bike racks throughout the city.
In Millennium Park at Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street there are 300 free indoor bike spaces (www.chicagobikestation.com) plus showers, lockers, and bike-rental facilities offering beach cruisers, mountain and road bikes, hybrid/comfort models, tandem styles, and add-ons for kids (wagon, baby seat, and so on). Bike rentals are also readily available at Bike and Roll Chicago, which has five locations, one at Millennium Park, one at Navy Pier, two at the Riverwalk (one at river level at Wacker Drive and Columbus and one at Wacker and Wabash Avenue), and one at the 53rd Street Bike Center in Hyde Park. Bike and Roll Chicago carries a good selection of mountain and cross bikes. Rates start at $10 per hour. The Chicago Department of Transportation publishes free route maps. Active Transportation Alliance maps cost $10. Maps are updated every few years. From April through October, Bobby's Bike Hike takes guests on cycling tours of Chicago. The three-hour tours begin at the Water Tower on the Magnificent Mile and cycle through historic neighborhoods, shopping areas, and the lakefront. A $35 to $60 fee includes bikes, helmets, and guides; book online for a 10% discount.
Active Transportation Alliance (312/427–3325. www.activetrans.org.)
Bike and Roll Chicago (773/404–2500. www.bikechicago.com.)
Bobby's Bike Hike (312/915–0995. www.bobbysbikehike.com.)
The City of Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) (312/742–2453. www.chicagobikes.org/bikemap.)
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