Warm weather is upon us, and there's no better way to get out and see the city than by bike. This summer in our Ridin' Divvy series, we'll be featuring a different Divvy itinerary each month to help locals and visitors explore different neighborhoods by bike. First up, we ride the lakefront, starting in the north near Belmont Harbor, and riding south 14 miles to Jackson Park.
With more and more stations popping up citywide, Divvy makes it easy to grab a bike and go. No need to bother with pricey bike rentals or locks, just buy a 24-hour pass for $7 and get pedaling. Just remember to return the bike to any Divvy station within 30 minutes of checking it out in order to avoid additional charges. (Be sure to download the Divvy app, free for iOS and Android, for station information, as well as a timer that keeps you mindful of the time.)
Start by picking up a bike at the Divvy station located at Belmont and Lake Shore Drive. After you've adjusted your seat and gears, make your way to the Lakefront Trail and begin riding south, towards downtown.
Soon you'll pass North Avenue Beach, one of the more popular beaches in the city, and the place to play a game of beach volleyball. Continue past Oak Street Beach until you reach the small stretch of sand at Ohio Street Beach. Dock your bike at the corner of Lake Shore Drive and Oak Street, then walk back to the beach and feel the sand between your toes. If you're hungry, grab a bite to eat at Caffe Oliva (pictured below) and enjoy the views of the sand and the city while you refuel with a grass-fed beef burger or blackened fish tacos.
Once you've had your fill, head back to the Divvy station to request a new bike code and check out another bike. Back on the Lakefront Trail, you'll soon pass Navy Pier. Bikes are allowed on the pier if you're interested in riding the 1-mile stretch, or you can continue south towards Buckingham Fountain. The fountain is visible from the path, but you can always make a pit stop to get a closer look.
Continuing south on the trail, the Field Museum will soon come into view. You are now entering Museum Campus. Follow the trail around the Shedd Aquarium and then bear left to follow the path out to the Adler Planetarium. Dock your bike by the museum and spend some time relaxing and enjoying one of the hands-down best views of the city.
Once you're ready, request another code and continue south on the Lakefront Trail. Here, the path becomes less crowded, and more leafy and peaceful. Enjoy the quiet as you make your way to Promontory Point. Dock your bike at 55th Street and Shore Drive and walk along the man-made peninsula to rest on the rocks and gaze back at the shrinking city.
Request another bike code and continue on the path to Jackson Park, your final destination. It's here that the 1893 World's Fair was held, and the park retains much of its history. Ride by the Museum of Science and Industry, the only major building remaining from the fair (which was then the Palace of Fine Arts). From here, leave the Lakefront Trail and turn right onto Science Drive before winding your way through the park's pathways. Make your way to Wooded Island to see the Osaka Garden, a Japanese strolling garden gifted by Japan for the World's Fair. Finally, make your way south towards Hayes Drive to see a replica of the Statue of the Republic. Nicknamed Big Mary, the 24-foot tall statue stands less than half the height of the original, which was the symbol of the fair and which, sadly, was destroyed by a fire shortly after the exhibition.
Circle back to the Divvy station by Promontory Point to dock your bike, and either request a new code to make your way back downtown, or if you've had enough riding for one day, head to the nearest public transportation option (the Metra is the closest and even has a Divvy station at Lake Park Ave and 56th Street, or you can ride a bit further on 55th Street, passing through Washington Park, and dock your bike outside of the Garfield Green line stop).