Those of you who have already arrived in Chicago have probably noticed a preponderance of bikers. While there are plenty of other transportation methods available, many Chicagoans find that the easiest and fastest way to get around the city is on two wheels. Here are some resources that I’ve found useful while living here:
So maybe you’re coming to Chicago without wheels but you know you’d like some. Of course Craigslist and Marketplace are always good options, but there are a number of places in Chicago where you can purchase your new bicycle or get someone to fix up your old one. Many of these establishments are doing great things for their community as well, which is always a plus.* If you’re looking to buy extra-local, stop by Blackstone Bicycle Works in Hyde Park, which is a youth education program run by The Experimental Station.** The shop has refurbished bikes sporting reasonable price tags. They also do cheap flat tire repairs, which will definitely come in handy for you all-weather cyclers.
If you plan to look outside Hyde Park for your velocipede-related needs, Working Bikes in Pilsen has tons of used bikes that have been donated and refurbished onsite. They also have a huge selection of parts for cool people who know how to build bikes. West Town Bikes, which is my neighborhood spot, is another civic-minded shop that sells both new and used models. (They also host a weekly Women & Trans’ Night, which is supposed to be really great.)
If you aren’t ready to commit to buying a bike but find the idea of an occasional ride along the LAkeshore appealing, you have landed in the right city. On campus, you can take advantage of the recycles program, a free bike-rental project that came out of a partnership between UChicago’s Office of Sustainability and Blackstone Bicycle Works (see above). Divvy bike-share stations are popping up pretty much all over the city these days, so if you are in another neighborhood and feel like riding around, you should have no problem finding one.
So you’ve got a bike. Congrats! Now go register that same bike with the UCPD. It won’t stop people from stealing your bike (though keeping it locked up & indoors overnight might) but it could help you get it back if that does happen.
Now ride safe, have fun and WEAR A HELMET! (also please please please don’t zoom down the sidewalk on campus…)
*All of these sites have more info about volunteering/getting involved if you’re interested.
**The Experimental Station also organizes the 61st Street Farmers Market. Get there before it ends in November!