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.
Janée Matteson is a little wary of technology. The more ubiquitous it becomes, she finds, it has more potential to keep kids indoors (a trend she has dubbed “acute nature deficit disorder”). Janée, whose family’s roots have been growing in Morris for nearly 200 years, basically spent her entire childhood outside, learning fur trapping and duck hunting with her father on the banks of the Illinois River. So in addition to her deep passion for the outdoors, founding Kayak Morris was largely inspired by doing whatever she could to help kids, their families, and domesticated teddy bears spend more time in nature.
Kayak Morris offers kayak and canoe lessons, and in addition, patrons can borrow their largely new fleet for leisurely trips along the Illinois River, Mazon River, or Illinois and Michigan Canal, which are home to wildlife such as great-blue herons, bald eagles, coyotes and red-tailed hawks. The staff also lead guided ecotours, which teach kids and adults about natural resources and what they can do to preserve and protect them for future generations. Family-focused private campgrounds is adjacent to the State Park along the rivers’ sandy shores invite groups to stay for monthly Glampouts (glamorous campouts) and spend their days taking advantage of potluck dinners, hiking, fishing, bike rentals, or guided kayak tours and to spend their nights watching a movie on Morris’ outdoor projection screen as campfires crackle nearby.
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.
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 historic Hyde Park tour that pedals past the home of President Barack Obama, 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.