Chris Kegel started at Wheel & Sprocket in 1973, two weeks after the bike shop opened. Back then, he was a bike mechanic, but over the past four decades, as the bike shop grew to multiple locations, Chris worked his way up. Today, he's Wheel & Sprocket's CEO, and keeps the company true to its founding goal: making bike rides more fun.
Wheel & Sprocket does that not only by selling bikes in more than 18 categories, but also by taking care of them. Its mechanics can repair any bike they sell, and they also offer comfort-enhancing bike fittings. Every week, they also highlight cycling's social aspect by hosting group bike rides, which unlike the name implies, doesn't involve everyone piling onto one bicycle.
Authorized Schwinn retailer Marty?s Bike Shop, nestled behind the same Park Ridge storefront since 1954, packs its space with bikes from Schwinn, GT, and Haro, along with a complete line of parts and accessories. Cycles available for test riding run the gamut from road bikes to trikes, ensuring that riders and bikes merge seamlessly into one, just as jockeys and horses merge seamlessly into centaurs. Alternatively, cyclists can shop road necessities such as helmets, tire pumps, road lights, and durable water bottles. Comprehensive repair and maintenance services administered onsite complement the shop?s sales arm and rejuvenate over-loved cycles.
Inside one of Illinois? oldest PADI?certified dive centers, Berry Dive Center?s eight instructors call upon a combined 100 years of experience to increase the underwater expertise of small student cohorts. Lessons unfold in both pool and classroom, with instructors sharing textbook techniques and safety tips before offering personalized critiques during supervised practice dives. The PADI five-star IDC facility?which was recently given a 35-year store award?keeps skills sharp with PADI certification courses and weekend excursions to Kankakee?s Haigh Quarry, with adventure-diving opportunities such as exploring wrecks, deep-water diving, and apprehending goldfish smugglers. The center?s dive shop also stocks a full line of diving equipment and manuals.
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.
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.
Village Cycle Center has more than 10,000 bikes in stock, but it's not the insane inventory that has made the shop a go-to for many of the city's cyclists?it's the service. The expert mechanics here customize every bike to fit each individual rider's comfort and safety. That means picking the correct frame size, adjusting the seat, and calibrating the brakes so they stop the wheels instead of just squealing, "STOP!"
When not readying new rides?or tuning up existing ones?Village Cycle Center's staff doles out plenty of free advice, especially when it comes to accessories, which range from helmets, pumps, and locks to hydration systems and car racks. The shop's passion for bicycles extends into the community, as well, as Village Cycle Center sponsors such popular events as the L.A.T.E. Ride and Bike to Work Week.