Turns Out Racing Down A Glacier On Bikes Is A REALLY Bad Idea

In his first year as mayor of America’s third largest metropolis, Rahm Emanuel laid out ambitious plans to “make <a href=”http://www.shermanstravel.com/united-states/illinois/chicago” target=”_hplink”>Chicago</a> the most bike-friendly city in the country.” To that end, “Rhambo” has proposed a 500-mile network of bike paths, with at least one path within a half-mile of every Chicago resident. In the meantime, the city already boasts over 12,000 bike racks, more than any other U.S. city, and one of the best dedicated urban bike paths around: The 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail takes bikers through several popular parks and attractions, with sweeping skyline views around every bend. Several high-capacity bike parking areas are located throughout the city, including many of the city’s rail stations and at Millennium Park, where the state-of-the-art <a href=”http://www.chicagobikestation.com” target=”_hplink”>McDonald’s Cycle Center</a> even offers showers and lockers. And when it comes to bike-share programs, things have never looked brighter for the Windy City: A system launched in 2010 by <a href=”http://chicago.bcycle.com” target=”_hplink”>Chicago B-cycle</a> consists of seven self-service bike rental stations at several popular Lakefront locations, and the city recently contracted with Alta Bicycle Share to make a whopping 3,000 bikes available at 300 solar-powered, self-service stations this summer.

<strong>Bikeable Miles</strong>
117 miles of on-street bike lanes, more than 30 miles of marked shared lanes, and dozens of miles of off-street paths (including the Lakefront Trail)

<strong>Rent a Bike</strong>
<a href=”http://www.bikechicago.com” target=”_hplink”>Bike and Roll Chicago</a> has been operating on Chicago’s lakefront for 19 years at top Chicago destinations such as Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Wabash & Wacker (across from Trump Tower), North Avenue Beach, and historic Hyde Park (President Obama’s neighborhood). Rates for one of their new Trek models start at $10/hour and $35/day (save $5 on the daily rate by booking online). The same company operates Chicago B-cycle, with rates starting at $5/hour and increasing by $2.50 every half hour; after 4 hours, the $20/day rate applies.

<strong>Try this Route</strong>
“Though a bit off the standard tourist track, the Illinois Institute of Technology has world-class architecture that definitely makes a worthwhile visit…” suggests Jeremy Rothschild, director of marketing for Chicago B-cycle. “The campus boasts several buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe, Rem Koolhaas, and Helmut Jahn.” From Grant Park, travel south along the Lakefront Trail and make a right at East 31st Street, then continue a mile to the IIT campus, home of two B-cycle bike-share stations.

Photo: City of Chicago/GRC