Pop a Wheelie

Thu, 06-07-2012
By: Mindy Sherman Hannigan


Whether you don't bike, have a dusty bike, or your bike gets you everywhere, here are few fresh two-wheeled suggestions for enjoying Chicago and the Midwest. 

Even the city's most expert bicyclist doesn't have the 2012 Chicago bicycle map. Request one here and they’ll be sent out after June 15. The online version of the map is decent and available, but lacks the most up to date information coming your way in the 2012 map. 

Explore neighborhoods, the lake bike path, plan it, wing it, rent it or join one of the many available bicycle tours. Hit the trail alongside the I&M Canal State Trail, which boasts 61 miles of state parks, historical sites, and wildlife; traversing through multiple cities along the way. All of this is in addition to being alongside the waterway that connected Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico. The DNR has a list of its own favorite Illinois trails, and here are some more excellent suggestions. If you run out of fuel one-way, the CTA bus and train bicycle policy and the Metra bicycle policy both allow bicycles with minor limitations. 

Groups of vintage and antique moped and scooter fans have created gangs to share both rides and moped/scooter culture with one and other. If you have never spotted a large bunch of moped riders on the streets together, gang is a positive congregation in this case. Join in on the fun by checking out the list of Illinois moped gangs in existence. 

Another even larger group, sometimes in the thousands, is the Critical Mass ride held on the last Friday evening of every month, which starts at Daley Plaza and rides out through the city. The experience of riding together through the streets of Chicago with ten-plus city blocks jammed full of other bicyclists is unlike any other. Newcomers should definitely get hip with this guide

It looks like Segway tour companies have stopped offering rentals outside of tours for now. The diverse amount of tours and locations slightly makes up for this current reality. 

Get up to faster speeds by checking out motorcycle and moped rentals in the Chicago area. Some rental places offer guided tours or can suggest self-guided tours. Ready to rumble? Consider joining other riders in charity benefits, like Riding for the Memory, which benefits Chicago non-for-profits like Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center and Memory Bridge. If an organized ride of any sort is occurring in Illinois, it is on this list

If after checking out all of these resources you find yourself wanting something more, you can try and turn a ride into a work of art, like Baltimore bicyclist Christopher Wallace does while exercising. This can be accomplished by using a program such as Map My Ride.

 Happy Trails out there for you, until we meet again!