Star Struck is the official provider of authentic Blackhawks and Bulls apparel, and carries tons of tees, caps, and more for all Chicago sports teams. Stay warm with a Blackhawks tassel knit hat ($15), or put your Groupon toward a Bulls playbook pullover hoodie by Adidas ($45). Pass yourself off as number one with a Jay Cutler women's jersey ($65), go vintage with a faded Blackhawks zip hoodie ($65), or layer for the Chicago cold with either a Blackhawks or Bulls three-in-one T-shirt combo pack ($30). Sports apparel also makes a great gift for all your expecting friends, whose soon-to-be babies would be naked if not for the Cubs onesies ($16) you so graciously provided.
With a fleet of futuristic segways and classic beach-cruiser bicycles, Bike and Roll Chicago outfits travelers with wheeled transportation to explore the city's paved surfaces. Tour guides lead groups through Millennium Park and along the lakefront to catch the skyline when illuminated by sunrises or backlit by one of Chicago's many moons. Misty Lake Michigan breezes ruffle riders' hair peeking through helmets as they pass by sailboats swaying lazily in the harbors and fishermen casting lines for trout and perch. Bike and Roll Chicago designs routes around classic architectural landmarks such as the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum as well as popular neighborhoods home to a number of restaurants and art festivals.
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.
Inspired by a love of fitness and a passion for travel and tourism kindled within him by his late father, Jeremy Lewno founded Bobby's Bike Hike to create an interactive Chicago biking experience. He named the company after his dad, Bob, an Arkansas bus-tour operator who taught him to focus on service quality over quantity. That advice has clearly paid off, as the business's guided tours have earned a number one ranking for activities to do in Chicago on TripAdvisor and the title of Best Organized Bike Ride from the Chicago Reader in 2010.
During the tours, which include rented bicycles, guides lead groups of about 20 riders past Chicago icons in Millennium Park and on the Museum Campus, or direct them to samples of pizza, hot dogs, cupcakes, and beer in and around Wrigleyville. The crew has designed a Tike Hike tour for kids 10 and younger, a Chicago gangster tour that uncovers Chicago's seedier side, and a mansion-studded lakefront tour, during which riders may glimpse Oprah waving or handing out complimentary helicopters at her main residence. Patrons can also rent Schwinn, GT, and Cannondale Comfort bikes, mountain, road, cruisers, and tandem bikes to explore the city on their own.
Chicago was once synonymous with its gangsters, and on the South Side tour run by Bobby's Bike Hike, cyclists seem to pedal back to those seedy times. The tour stops at Chicago's onetime red light districts and at the haunts of iconic gangsters such as Al Capone, who earned his hardened reputation by having perfectly good hot dogs roughed up at will. Fir more than a decade, the company has been hosting themed tours like these that show off the city's history, traditions, and scenery. Other have participants sampling the city's iconic pizza or rolling through lakefront neighborhoods. And anyone who prefers to create their own tour can rent bikes by the hour in a choice of styles that range from classic road bikes to two-seaters for parents and kids.
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.