The McDonald's Cycle Center made quite a splash when it was unveiled in 2004. From the eye-catching architecture to the state-of-the-art storage and repair facilities, it offered a glimpse of how cool cycling could one day become once cycling is truly embraced by our culture.
Fast-forward 11 years, and the center continues to enjoy a loyal following with long-time, stalwart downtown bike commuters. But for the thousands of people who have more recently taken up cycling and/or transplanted to the city, the cycle center is a lesser-known resource.
If you aren't familiar with what the McDonald's Cycle Center has to offer, it might be worth making a trip to 239 E. Randolph Street.
From street level, the modern-looking glass building houses one of Bike & Roll's bicycle rental locations, replete with rows and rows of the Trek hybrid bikes standing at attention. But if you venture down the stairs, you'll find a veritable bike commuter's paradise.
In addition to gobs of indoor bike parking spaces and storage lockers (with 24/7 key card access and security cameras), the center is home to a full-service bicycle repair center and a clean, modern locker room with showers and towel service.
If you forgot your u-lock, or are thirsty for a sports drink, those and other frequently-needed items are for sale.
Customers who purchase monthly or annual parking passes get a 10% discount on bike repairs and retail items.
"It's got everything a bike commuter needs," said Bike & Park's Adriana Mendez. "Ride to work in the morning, take a shower, if you need something fixed, leave it with the repair center and it will be ready for you when you come back after work."
Mendez stressed, however, that the center is not just for bike commuters. She said it's a great resource for all local cyclists as well as other athletes and active people.
For example, Mendez said, someone could get off of work, go for a run (using the lockers to store their clothes), come back from the run, clean up and head to a restaurant or show downtown.
Or, Mendez said, for a flat fee of $3 ($5 with a shower), a cyclist could lock his or her bike at the center and see a concert at Millennium park with peace of mind that the bike will be safe.
"If you're active and you're downtown, it's a great resource," Mendez said.
Mendez said if the key card-protected, indoor bike spaces with security cameras aren't secure enough for your taste, consider that there is a Chicago Police bike patrol facility on site, literally feet away from the bike racks. While it's not their job to watch the bikes, the constant presence of police officers is likely a theft deterrent.
"They are in and out all the time," Mendez said.
Louis Reza, a customer of the McDonalds Cycle center, said the center lives up to its promises.
"They have clean facilities," Reza said. "(I use the center for) my daily commute. I get to bike downtown, stay healthy and feel good, and head to work clean."
The McDonald's Cycle Center hours are as follows:
About the Author
Brett Ratner (email@example.com) began commuting by bike in 2005. Shortly thereafter, his interest in cycling expanded to century rides, bike camping and trail riding. The competition bug bit in 2012 and nowadays he races cyclocross, track, mountain bikes, criteriums and gravel for The Bonebell.