The Chainlink

Has anyone ever used the bike center at Millennium Park? How is it? Is it easy to get a parking spot there?

More specifically, how are the showers?

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I use the bike center every workday (and some on weekends), and have been a member since last summer. Basically, you can either get an annual membership (not sure about price because I've never been lucky enough to get one), monthly membership ($25/mo for 24 hr access to partial inside parking, not to locker area, and includes a key card, locker, lock and key for locker, showers, etc or $35/mo for all of the same, but the $10 extra allows you to keep stuff in your locker overnight so you don't have to keep hauling everyday things back and forth). Or, there is free parking both outside and inside for those who don't need/want the luxury of a shower. The parking spots on most mornings seem to be plentiful, actually. They also have overnight lockers that you can rent (again, not sure on pricing there).

The showers are surprisingly clean, and I always see a worker in there cleaning (more so after my workday, but it's clean in the morning too). The lockers are adequate- I keep some clothes, shower shoes, make-up and hair stuff, etc, a towel, and my backpack and it all fits in there. There are 4 showers, including one that is handicap-accessible, and the water pressure is good in all of them. It seems like 4 showers wouldn't be enough, but as it is right now, if you have to wait for a shower, the longest you'll wait is only a few minutes. They also have blowdryers for anyone's use and toothpaste and deodorant, etc if you forget or just want to use theirs. They just started selling other toiletries for like $1-2. You can pay $1 also for use of one of their clean towels.

What else... oh, I was advised last year to call and inquire about yearly passes in like February. I'm not sure if you're put on a waiting list or not if there are no spots available. I stopped in in April, I believe, and was put on a waiting list for the monthly membership. Within the week I was called and a spot had opened up. They automatically bill your card or debit your account during the last week of the month. You can end your monthly membership at any time, I think before the last week of the month. You just turn in your access card, lock and key.

They also have a repair shop there, and the mechanics are good. I had my bike tuned and fixed up there earlier this year. You get a 15% discount on any services if you're a member.

Anyway, it's a great space and is very convenient for anyone looking to commute to work downtown. The price is great for being able to shower and get ready for work in the morning after the ride downtown. They run a bike/segway rental service out of the space too, so someone is always around. Cops on bikes go there too, for maintenance and whatnot. It's a safe area, and is open from 6:30 am-8 pm on weekdays during summer.

Long and detailed, but hopefully educational :)
Awesome - thanks for the explanation!! It sounds pretty cool. It seems like we could use another one somewhere else in the city for people who work further from Michigan Ave.
I tried to get on their waiting list 2 months ago, but it was full.

The reason I wanted access to it was for 24-hour member access. Turns out that the thing closes around 8pm and we had our stuff locked up in a locker. That sucked.
Eh, it's okay if you work at the Aon or Prudential towers, but I found that it wasn't convenient for me.

I started going in March of 2007 and it was handy, until I found out that my workplace at the time had a bike room, so i just started parking my bike there and taking it easy on the commute and getting changed at work.

It just didnt' seem worth it to me to bike to work and then still have to walk 5 blocks to get to the office. It made it a very long commute.

When I called about cancelling my membership they told me that since I had paid for a yearly membership, I couldn't cancel it until it expired. When it came time for it to expire, I didn't receive any kind of form or anything and they automatically charged my card. When I called to talk to someone (during regular business hours) I was told I needed to call back on a certain day and at a certain time to talk to the membership manager. I felt that this was ridiculous, and then they had a couple more hoops for me to jump through. I still have the membership since I couldn't cancel it without paying for the full year anyway.

Come february next year I'll definitely be getting rid of the thing. I wonder if this kind of junk is the reason why there is such a long waiting list?

Now I work in a building that has parking and a gym where I can shower anyway...definitely no need for my cycling center membership.

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