Dan's Bike Shop's expert spokesmen have been restoring sickly cycles back to health since opening in 1940. A complete bike tune-up inspects and thoroughly cleans bikes from handlebars to brakes, ensuring smooth sailing on rides across town or attempts to sneak into a regatta. Cranks, derailleurs, and brake calipers are removed and degreased in a relaxing hot tub of solvent while troublemaking brakes and gears undergo an attitude adjustment. Complimentary minor wheel truing helps settle bumpy rides, though new cables and a bike horn that plays John Phillip Sousa marches are not included.
Open since 1946, Art’s Cycling restores creaky velocipedes of any make or model into road-ready transporters. During a tune-up (an $85 value), the shop's team of bike geniuses makes a rust-riddled beater ride as smoothly as a hoverboard. Services start with a straightening of the front and back wheels to ensure fast, fluid steering, followed by gear and brake adjustments. A final safety check precedes a thorough cleaning that leaves wheeled chariots sparkling, and a new water bottle (a $10 value) ensures riders stay hydrated while conquering asphalt.
The exposed-brick walls of Iron Cycles speak to the straightforwardness of its employees, who prefer to focus on riding, not attitude. This judgment-free approach leads to unbiased treatment for every cycle. The staffers treat well-worn heirlooms with the same degree of care and dignity as they do snazzy titanium builds or a custom-crafted commuter. Perhaps their respect for bike diversity stems in part from their disparate cycling backgrounds: founder Brandon is an off-road racer, Ben was a bike messenger, and Steve has more than 25 years of both pedaling and mechanic experience.
Regardless of the bike brand or model, each of the shop’s services adheres to the mission of safer, savvier trips. Repairs address basic adjustments as well as complete overhauls, furnishing customers with new saddles, kickstands, and even handmade tires imported from overseas. The staffers oversee fitting sessions that fine-tune parts to suit the bike's function and the owner's body type. They can also build custom cycles that correspond to clients' goals, whether they want a frame that can hit high speeds or wheels that can store several decks of playing cards at once.
Behind Underwater Safaris' unassuming storefront lies an ocean. Light shines down on the water's choppy surface, and a pod of dolphins leap out of the water. But, like a tank of helium you forgot to bolt to the floor, they never come back down. The dolphin mural is painted, but the water is quite real: it's part of a PADI five-star facility where students prepare to explore waters across the world.
The journey to coral reefs and shipwrecks begins with the guidance of an experienced team of fifteen instructors. The center, which has been open since 1985, has taught thousands of snorkelers and divers from Open Water through to instruction. After introductory Discover Scuba sessions, the staff branches off into more specialized areas, such as diving at night, exploring underwater wrecks, or scuba diving as a career.
Underwater Safaris also hosts annual trips to scuba destinations around the world. Guided and independent adventurers alike are welcome to stock up on gear from brands such as Aeris and Aqualung in the dive shop.
In a shop lined with more than 100 bikes models from all around the world, Upgrade Cycle Works' pro mechanics channel their love of cycling whether they are aligning the frame on an old single speed or fitting guests for a brand new road bike. During the fit process, staffers employ the same computerized system used at the Olympic training center as opposed to tracing your body outline on a large piece of construction paper. Next, they’ll help guests choose from bike brands such as Felt, Masi, and Raleigh, and an in-store selection of rides that includes road bikes, single speeds, and hybrids.
In Upgrade's workshop, pro mechanics perform comprehensive tune-ups and repairs, revitalize faded paint jobs, replace punctured wheels, and align frames. The staff also hosts repair clinics to teach cyclists how to fix flat tires and adjust brakes.
The history buffs of Chicago's Finest River Walk Tour lead engaging and dynamic tours of two very different parts of the city. During the summer, intimate groups of up to 15 traverse the various walkways of the bustling yet majestic riverfront or climb aboard a boat for a sunny river voyage, soaking in vistas of Chicago's many architectural wonders. In the winter, tourgoers head below the sidewalks with torch in hand to explore the troll-populated tunnels of the Pedway, Chicago's underground network of shops, hotels, train stations, and eateries. Regardless of the tour, the knowledgeable guides engage strollers in a two-way conversation about the Windy City, enlightening audiences with historical yarns and humorous anecdotes.