There’s a slight chill in the air, and although we are saying our official good-bye to summer this week, there is still plenty of time to enjoy outdoor activities in Chicago. With its crisp, bright days, fall is one of my favorite seasons in the city, and an ideal time to enjoy cycling.
Whether you just like to wander along side streets, rolling through the dried leaves along the curbs or you prefer a serious workout along our lakefront, Lakeview is a great neighborhood for cyclists. If you plan to bring your bicycle with you please let us know when you make your reservation. The Old Chicago Inn offers a gated area for bike storage during your stay. If you decide to rent a bicycle during your visit we are happy to assist you in making those arrangements. For local travel in our neighborhood, we suggest stopping in to the Central Lakeview Merchants Association (CLMA) office for one of their free bike rentals. The CLMA bikes are provided by Heritage Bicycles, a local premiere cycle manufacturer. If you’re looking to venture outside our area, then check out Bike and Roll Chicago. With locations at North Avenue Beach, Millennium Park and Navy Pier, Bike and Roll has something for everyone: cruisers, tandems, quad cycles, hand cycles, wagon and child seat attachments. Bike and Roll also offers a variety of bicycle tours.
The city of Chicago enjoys a reputation for being one of the nation’s best big cities for cyclists. In the past year, the city has begun installation of protected bike lanes on busy thoroughfares throughout the city. In fact, Chicago, as the city website declares, boasts over “170 miles of on-street protected, buffered and shared bike lanes” and of course many more miles of lake front and park system paths. Your innkeeper has complimentary copies of the official Chicago bike map which shows all bike paths from shared lanes to trails.
While you’re out and about be sure to stop in to Heritage Bicycles at 2959 North Lincoln Avenue. This local shop produces unique handcrafted bicycles, accessories and clothing, as well as a coffee and sandwich counter. My husband and I like to peddle over there in the morning and grab a cup of coffee and a scone. If the weather’s nice we’ll sit outside at the bike shop’s picnic tables in the adjacent lot or better yet in the new “people spot” out front. The parklet, or “people spot,” is one of the first of its kind in the city. Sponsored by the Lakeview Chamber this three space parking area has been designated and converted for pedestrian use, and transformed into a rest stop along the Lincoln Avenue retail corridor. The People Spot is a small masterpiece of scenery, designed by Patch Landscaping, and definitely a neighborhood gem.
If you brought your bicycle to the city and need a repair, Johnny Sprockets is not too far from the Inn. Located at 3001 North Broadway, this shop offers complete repair work seven days a week, starting with a free evaluation and estimate. They accept walk in repairs, but, you may wish to call ahead for an appointment to avoid wait time. This is the place to go if you’re looking for racing wear and accessories too.
As with every season we hope our guests will enjoy our neighborhood and city this autumn, and maybe even take in a bike ride. This weekend we will be giving away two complimentary bike rentals for Bike and Roll Chicago. To enter the drawing, simply sign in at the front desk any time Friday. The lucky winner will be announced at breakfast on Saturday morning.