Bike Parking Respect in Chicago: McDonald’s Cycle Center
Chicago's Millennium Park hosts of one of the most incredible amenities for cyclists in the United States: McDonald's Cycle Center. So sit back and take a most excellent tour with Bike And Roll's Josh Squire, who manages the facility through an agreement with the city.
It's enough to make bike commuters in many cities drool. The center boasts state-of-the-art showering facilities, secure bicycle parking for 300, a repair station, towel service, is temperature-controlled, and features the constant presence of the Chicago Lakefront Police bike patrol, which shares the facility and maintains its bikes on site. The station is extremely popular, with 500 members at a time and a waiting list of eager riders ready to join. But even if you aren't a member you can still take advantage of the free bike parking, and mechanics are on duty to repair anyone's bikes seven days a week.
If you'd like to read more, the wikipedia entry on it is very in-depth.
Josh Squire: [0:16] Welcome to McDonalds Cycle Center in Millennium Park in Chicago. My name is Josh. I'm with Bike and Roll, and we operate the facility on behalf of the City of Chicago. This facility offers a couple of different services. The primary service that it offers is bicycle parking to commuters, people who work in the area. And they bike to work on a regular basis. We have over 500 members. When they get here, they just park their bikes in a secure facility, and then they go ahead and take a shower and use the locker rooms and change and go to work.
Brian Steele: [0:49] As the city was constructing Millennium Park, Mayor Daley saw the opportunity to incorporate a bike parking facility in that park. We knew that it would be heavily trafficked because it sits on the lakefront. It sees a lot of recreational as well as commuter traffic. So, the station was built in the northwest corner of Millennium Park at a cost of 3.1 million dollars, and since its opening in July of 2005, it's really proven extremely popular.
Josh Squire: [1:13] Come on inside. Let me show you and give you a tour. So, check this out. We actually have solar panels powering this facility. You can see it up here, the entire atrium here. And we also have these really cool, double tier racks, and they're really easy to use. They just roll out like this, and it catches the bike. And anybody could pretty much put in on there and take it off, and it just kind of catches in right over there. Then, once it's hooked up, pick it up and push it in, and you're good to go.
A lot of people coming in during the same hours, which are pretty much 7:30 to 8:30 or 9:00 before they go to work. So, you've going to have congestion in the shower. So, the more showers you put in the facility, the better.
Sarina Mitchell: [2:02] I love the shower facilities inside of the commuter station. I get to come to work, all sweaty, commute myself and I'm able to use the shower facilities. They're state of the art, all automatic flushers, automatic sinks, everything's really nice.
Josh Squire: [2:17] This is our repair shop here at the cycle center, and it's great because when you're at work, we tune up your bike. We clean it up, and then when you come back at the end of your day it's all ready to go and it's riding fine. So, it's awesome. People love the service. We also do emergency repairs for people just going up and down the lake front. We're open seven days a week. We actually share the facility with the CPD lake front bike patrol, and the Chicago police actually maintains their bikes here as well. The relationship is great. They support it. They capital investment in the facility. And they maintain here about 400 bicycles.
Kim Griesel: [2:54] The cops are pretty cool guys, when we actually get to talk to them. They're really friendly with everyone they see around, and I think it's kind of cool that they're more personable. We're around them. They're around us.
Speaker: [3:05] I get a shower, a full time locker. We've got mechanics here. We've got the police with their station here. Nobody bothers your bike, indoor parking. I ride all year round, even in the winter. I can't say enough good things about it, and the people on top of it that work here are really great.
Josh Squire: [3:19] This is a certain section of the facility that offers free parking. So, if you're a member, you get to park upstairs in the premium spot. But, if you're not a member and you want to park, you can park for free downstairs right over here.
Speaker: [3:34] This is awesome. This is the only reason I did this, actually, because I don't think our building has a place to put a bike.
Speaker: [3:41] I think it's the best thing in Chicago. It's saving my life in terms of just getting here in a positive attitude, hit the work, ready to go. I love it.
Josh Squire: [3:49] It's really the concept of like a club. You not only commute to work but also to bike pool to work, and to meet great people and have fun while doing it. Other services we offer here are bicycle rentals and tours. And that's where Bike and Roll comes into play. We offer some great, really exciting tours, guided tours on bikes and Segways. Now we also have bike rentals. We offer over 500 bikes in our fleet.
Thanks for visiting us. You're always welcome here. If you have a chance to come to Chicago again, then we want to take you on a bike ride, OK?