During the Cold War, anything could happen. The US military's response to this reality was to ring every major metropolitan area with defensive missile bases that could launch Nike antiaircraft supersonic missiles at any time. The goal was to make attacking the United States so costly that the Soviets would not dare try. One of the roughly 20 bases defending the Chicago area was Nike Missile Base C-47, a 14-acre site built between 1954 and 1956. Surrounded by 8-foot-tall cyclone fences, the base housed three underground concrete bunkers, three launchers, five radar towers, a fallout shelter, and day barracks.
Today, the Cold War is safely tucked in the nation's memory, but much of C-47 still remains. However, instead of military personnel coming and going throughout their 24-hour shifts, it's paintball and Airsoft players who creep along the 10 sprawling fields, simulating the warfare that luckily never occurred on the base. The terrain includes many of the original features—such as a mess hall, army barracks, and satellite towers, which host strategic meetings and midbattle naps. Referees enforce special safety rules for minors to keep games safe and organized.
While watching the 2005 film Roll Bounce, moviegoers were probably too busy staring at roller-skating stars Nick Cannon and Bow Wow as they busted high-flying, acrobatic moves on the rink. With so much action on screen, audiences may not have had the chance to notice something slightly subtler—that the film was actually shot at Lynwood Roller Rink. Take one step inside the old-school facility, though, and the location scout’s pick seems almost too obvious: the rink's dedication to classic decor, such as bright-red neon lights and multiple disco balls, give it the feel of an untouched time capsule. But don’t let the vintage vibes fool you entirely—the rink also hosts new-school events, including Latin-inspired Zumba sessions on select weekday evenings.
Since 1989, Play It Again Sports has been keeping sports green, recycling gently used athletic equipment into new-to-you gear. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Wilson make up each store's enormous selection of new and recycled gear, which is replenished daily with goods for a wide selection of sports that ranges from baseball and football to snowboarding, skis, and ice skates. Treadmills and exercise bikes equip bodies with muscular suits of armor, and pintsize and adolescent equipment arms youngsters with protective padding until they eat enough bologna to grow muscles of their own. Knowledgeable staffers man each location, ready to answer questions, arrange gear deliveries or pick-ups, and even sharpen skates or wax snowboards. To ensure their stock remains robust, they also encourage athletes to collect their lightly used gear—including bicycles—and bring it into a local store to either sell or trade.
Custom-built mountain bikes and hand-built wheelsets may be Richard’s Bikes’ specialty, but cyclists have frequented the store since 1910 to find road, cross-country, and freeride accessories. Staff pack more than 100 years of combined biking experience into the well-oiled gears that power their minds and match customers with premade bikes and equipment from manufacturers including GT, Schwinn, Mongoose, LeMond, and Klein. Richard’s carries a wide selection of helmets and protective gear, cycling apparel, and bike parts of all kinds.
Since taking off the training wheels in 1972, Cycles N Sports has been a full-service bike shop, wrenching two-wheel wisdom into each bike it sells and service it renders. A staff of riding enthusiasts helps customers navigate the shop’s inventory, comprising spoked specimens from such major brands as Electra, Townie, Felt, Giant, Fly, and Stolen, as well as many specialty models. Whether you arrive looking for a bike or parts for a BMX bike, road bike, mountain bike, or the makeshift ramp from the roof of your house, the staff can happily assist and answer questions.
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.