Last summer, I finally did it: on a sleepy Sunday afternoon I brought my pink Schwinn 3-speed in for a tune up and a toddler seat installation.

Before that day, my poor bike had been collecting dust in the basement for more than a couple of years. With the arrival of my baby girl in late 2009, I put biking on hold.

I'd always wanted to ride with my baby girl on my bike. My son, age 10, also adores bike riding and has been begging me for a long time to get my bike ready to go on trips beyond his limited neighborhood jaunts. My nervousness faded as soon as I pedaled away with my daughter in her bike seat and my son trailing behind. Freedom!

Since that first ride, there have been many others. One of the best - if not the best - ways to explore Chicago is by bike. More and more Chicagoans are catching on to the beauty of riding a bike for a work commute or pleasure, and our city is supporting us with protected bike lines and bike-friendly parking.

If you can't bring your own, Bobby’s Tike Hike Chicago Bike Tour is the perfect way to see the city for families with kids ten and under. You’ll hop on a rented bike and zoom along the lake shore, pop in to pet the animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo, rub the foot of a giant Abe Lincoln and more. Your entire family will love this guided zip around Chicago. Tours depart daily at 10 a.m.; reserve your spot online at bobbysbikehike.com. Bobby's also offers bike rentals.

I am looking forward to a spring and summer of fun bike rides with my kids. I'm also looking forward to checking out the latest exhibit at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: Bikes! The Green Revolution. Running through September 9th, this exhibit showcases the roots of bicycling while envisioning the future of urban biking along with its positive environmental and cultural impact.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 North Cannon Drive, just off Lake Shore Drive at Fullerton in Lincoln Park

HOURS: Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

ADMISSION: Bikes! The Green Revolution is included in Nature Museum general admission, which is $9 / adult, $6 / child 3-12, $7 / seniors and students. Thursdays are suggested donation days.

For more information visit www.naturemuseum.org