Columbus and Jackson drives
5:30 a.m. start; 8 a.m.-noon festival
$45, $15 youth 17 and under
Morgan and Taylor streets
8:30 a.m. Chicago Ramble
$30, $15 youth 17 and under
Bike riding is one of the things we associate with an
all-American childhood, but nowadays it seems that adventure has
been replaced with more modern indoor pursuits.
Fortunately, Chicago's Active Transportation Alliance has
two events bookending the summer designed to get your family
freewheeling with the best of them.
"For us, it's a celebration," says Ethan Spotts, marketing and
communications director for the Alliance. "There's something very
inspirational and celebratory about riding a bike. It's just a way
we bring people together and they have a really great
Bike the Drive. For once, you don't have to be
stuck in Lake Shore Drive traffic on Memorial Day weekend. Bike the
Drive closes 30 miles of road (from the Museum of Science and
Industry to the Bryn Mawr Avenue rest stop) to cars for four
You can choose the length of your route, and there are three
rest stops along the route so you can take a break when little legs
start to get tired. The Alliance recommends arriving early and then
staying to enjoy the post-race festival that includes breakfast,
music, bike gear and a kids' zone.
The event starts at 5:30 a.m., but don't worry, you don't have
to start leaving the Drive till 9:45. They recommend starting
The Four Star Bike Tour. You can choose from
four routes, ranging from 12 to 65 miles. The event takes place
early on a Sunday morning to limit car interference, and there are
rest stops along the way.
Each of the rides explores different aspects and areas of the
city. The shortest route (and the best for families), the Chicago
Ramble, goes through the UIC campus, Pilsen, Bridgeport, Chinatown,
Prairie Avenue and Dearborn Park.
The Active Transportation Alliance's policy is "if you pedal,
you pay." So little ones in trailers or bike seats are free, while
those on tag-along bikes or their own wheels pay the youth
"If your child is [already] biking with you around the
community, it's a great opportunity," Spotts says. "We'd love to
have families join us."
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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