According to Wheel Fun Rentals’ website, they “were green before green was popular.” Founder Brian McInerney and his staff back up this claim by pairing renters with recreational modes of transportation that are safe for the environment. Visitors can rent a canopied surrey to navigate the trails near Foster Beach or a mountain bike to traverse Lake Michigan Mountain. Single- and double-kayaks allow one to glide over the water and take in the sweeping skyline to the south.
Bike and Roll Chicago's staff dispatches clients on wheel-based expeditions throughout Chicago. Guides—several of whom are Chicagoland natives—can lead informative and entertaining tours in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and semaphores.
"Pump Pedals, Not Gas" goes the motto for On the Route Bicycles, a thoroughly modern bike shop committed to swift travel by eco-friendly means. Like any good bike shop, the unmistakable scent of tires drifts down thoroughfares lined with all manner of biking accessories, from lights and helmets to locks and biking bags. All of this in addition to the latest bike models from the likes of Trek, Cannondale, Bianchi, Electra, Handsome, and Raleigh, who provide a selection of city bikes, road bikes, and performance models. As a bonus to their community, On the Route even includes an air pump outside the store, where passing bikers can juice up their tires or blow those pecking birds from their head.
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.
Chicago Rickshaw releases its fleet of pedal-powered, open-air cabs through the thoroughfares of the city, meandering up to three weary travelers on a one-hour jaunt of urban sightseeing. Rickshaws provide a distinct vantage point and remain an environmentally chummy mode of transportation second only to attaching one end of marionette strings to your legs and the other end to methodically flying pigeons. Up to three gallivanters, plus the driver, can fit in the motorless coach as it lopes small groups around the City of Big Shoulders and through many of its public easements, including areas not accessible to large motor-propelled carriages.
Chicagoans may have noticed the city looking a little bluer lately. That's not due to seasonal gloom. This blue is reminiscent of the sky on a sunny day—the kind that invites a leisurely bike ride around town on one of Divvy's blue-painted cycles. There are currently more than 3,000 of them cruising the streets and parked at 300 solar-powered, touch-screen-equipped stations, which make up Chicago's still-expanding but already highly popular bike-share program.
Getting in on the action is simple. Purchasing a 24-hour pass or an annual membership lets you unlock any bike at any Divvy station. After adjusting its seat to fit your height and the number of streamers you want to tie to the seat post, it's ready to take for a ride—perhaps along the Lakefront Trail, to work, or on an adventure with friends. If your trip lasts less than 30 minutes, you won't pay anything extra. For longer jaunts, you can pay an overtime fee or just re-dock your bike at any station and take out another one. (Stations have twice as many docking spots as bikes, so you should never have trouble finding a parking space.) Annual members can pick up accessories such as helmets with gear discounts at a wide range of bike shops, or just feel extra-special with perks at participating restaurants and other businesses.
The cheery blue bikes themselves are designed for smooth city riding. An internal gear system means there's no chain to snag pant legs or skirt hems, and a front rack relieves shoulders of purses and bags. Flashing front and rear lights and a bell ensure that other road and path users know that you're rolling through.
Most Divvy rides go smoothly, but sometimes you?ll hit a bump along the way. Be prepared with these tips and tricks for bike-share newbies.