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Biking Around Chicago Illinois: Best Routes and Rentals
Chicago, Illinois is a vibrant city with a rich history and diverse neighborhoods, making it an excellent destination for biking enthusiasts. With its extensive network of bike-friendly paths and stunning views, exploring Chicago on two wheels is a fantastic way to experience the city. Whether you’re a local looking for new routes or a visitor seeking adventure, this article will guide you through the best biking routes and rental options in Chicago.
Exploring the Lakefront Trail
The Lakefront Trail is one of the most popular biking routes in Chicago, stretching for approximately 18 miles along Lake Michigan. This scenic path offers breathtaking views of the lake, iconic landmarks, and lush green parks. Some notable highlights along the trail include Navy Pier, Grant Park, and the Museum Campus. Biking along the Lakefront Trail provides a refreshing escape from the bustling city while showcasing the natural beauty of Chicago’s waterfront.
- Montrose Beach: Located on the North Side, Montrose Beach is a great starting point for your Lakefront Trail adventure. Enjoy the sandy shores and take in the panoramic views of the city skyline.
- Millennium Park: As you make your way south along the trail, make sure to stop by Millennium Park. This iconic park is home to the famous Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as “The Bean.” Take a break and explore the park’s gardens and art installations.
- Shedd Aquarium: Just south of Millennium Park, you’ll find the Shedd Aquarium. This world-class aquarium is a must-visit, offering a chance to see marine life from around the globe. Take some time to explore the exhibits before continuing your bike journey.
Discovering the 606 Trail
The 606 Trail, also known as the Bloomingdale Trail, is a unique elevated biking and walking path that spans approximately 2.7 miles. This former railroad line has been transformed into a beautiful urban oasis, offering a blend of nature and city views. The 606 Trail connects several neighborhoods, including Bucktown, Wicker Park, and Humboldt Park, providing a glimpse into the vibrant local culture.
- Walsh Park: Start your journey at Walsh Park, located near the western end of the 606 Trail. This park offers green space, playgrounds, and picnic areas, making it a perfect spot to gather your energy before embarking on your biking adventure.
- Bloomingdale Arts District: As you bike along the trail, you’ll pass through the Bloomingdale Arts District. This vibrant neighborhood is home to art galleries, studios, and creative spaces. Take some time to explore the local art scene and appreciate the unique atmosphere.
- Churchill Field Park: Towards the eastern end of the 606 Trail, you’ll find Churchill Field Park. This park offers sports fields, a playground, and a splash pad, providing a refreshing break during your biking journey. Take a moment to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
Exploring the North Branch Trail
For those looking to venture beyond the city center, the North Branch Trail is an excellent choice. This scenic trail spans approximately 22 miles, winding through forest preserves and offering a peaceful escape from the urban environment. The North Branch Trail is perfect for nature lovers and provides opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding greenery.
- Caldwell Woods: Begin your journey at Caldwell Woods, where you’ll find ample parking and picnic areas. This forest preserve offers a serene atmosphere and well-maintained trails, making it an ideal starting point for your bike ride.
- Chicago Botanic Garden: As you bike along the North Branch Trail, make a detour to the Chicago Botanic Garden. This stunning botanical oasis features various gardens, beautiful landscapes, and educational exhibits. Take a break to explore the gardens and recharge before continuing your biking adventure.
- Skokie Lagoons: Towards the northern end of the trail, you’ll encounter the Skokie Lagoons. This series of interconnected pools and waterways provide a picturesque setting for biking. Enjoy the peaceful surroundings and keep an eye out for wildlife.
Bike Rental Options
To fully enjoy biking around Chicago, you may need to rent a bike. Fortunately, the city offers numerous rental options to suit your preferences and needs. Here are a few reputable bike rental services in Chicago:
- Bobby’s Bike Hike: Located near Millennium Park, Bobby’s Bike Hike offers a wide range of bike rental options, including hybrids, mountain bikes, and tandem bikes. They also provide guided bike tours if you prefer to explore the city with a knowledgeable guide.
- Divvy Bikes: Divvy Bikes is Chicago’s bike-sharing program, with stations conveniently located throughout the city. Simply sign up for a membership or purchase a day pass, and you’ll have access to a fleet of sturdy and well-maintained bikes.
- Lakeshore Bike: Situated near the Lakefront Trail, Lakeshore Bike provides high-quality bike rentals suitable for all ages and skill levels. They offer hourly, daily, and weekly rental options, allowing you to customize your biking experience.
– Lakefront Trail: www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/lakefront-trail
– The 606 Trail: www.the606.org
– North Branch Trail: fpdcc.com/places/trails/north-branch-trail-system/
– Bobby’s Bike Hike: bobbysbikehike.com
– Divvy Bikes: www.divvybikes.com
– Lakeshore Bike: lakeshorebike.com