Great Bike Parking: The Millennium Park Bike Station

Millennium Park Bike Station

Millennium Park Bike Station viewed up top from Randolph Street

It’s Friday but instead of a Hall of Shame entry I’m posting a complimentary bike parking story. Due to a new commuter route, I’ve had the chance to fully check out the Millennium Park bike station also known as the McDonald’s Cycle Center. It’s an amazing facility in the heart of downtown Chicago that includes secure bike parking both indoors and out, a bike repair shop staffed on weekdays during regular business hours, (showers, bike rentals, etc. ) and even a small Chicago police bike shop facility for the bicycle patrol men and women. The station is fully operational from Monday – Friday 6:30am-6:30pm in the winter, and then adds weekend hours in the Spring and Fall from 10:00am to 6:00pm. In the summertime they remain open until 8:00pm on weekdays and expand the hours to 8:00am-8:00pm on the weekends. ¬†There is free outside parking year-round, 24-hours a day, and those who have memberships to the station can park their bikes inside within the atrium area 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The bike shop, locker rooms, additional inside bike racks (both in the members area, and free racks) are only accessible during the operational hours however.
Up top, as you can see in the photo above, on the Randolph Street entrance to the station, you are confronted with a vast array of rental bikes as well as some B-station bikes run by the folks at Bike Chicago. What you don’t see is the plethora of bike racks that reside behind the facility if you walk your bike down the stairs on the left side (there are bike ramps on each side of the stairs) or ride around and down the ramps that wrap around the station on the ride side, to the back.

Millennium Park Bike Station - bike racks

Millennium Park Bike Station – bike racks

When I rode to the entrance on the lower level, the doors slide open to let me and my Omafiets inside. We were confronted with a wide ramp that wrapped around the atrium area that while outside of the main facility was still a secure, covered bike parking area.

Millennium Park Bike Station Entrance

This entrance is open during the hours mentioned above, and is also accessible by anyone who has purchased a membership to the station and has a keycard.

They have the same sort of bike racks as you’ll find throughout the interior spaces of the station, and Oma will even fit on the upper bike racks here in the atrium. This is not the case with the interior bike racks – the ceilings are too low. (Note that most of these pictures were taken on a Saturday in April when the bike station was technically not yet open on weekends). On the lower bike racks, depending on the specific rack, my Oma has just barely enough room to fit – her handlebars just slightly scrape the top of the rack if I’m not careful.

An Omafiets on the top bike rack

My Omafiets on an upper bike at the Millennium Park Bike Station

My Omafiets barely scraping into a lower bike rack

My Omafiets barely scraping into a lower bike rack

 

Interior Bike Parking at the Millennium Park Bike Station

Interior Bike Parking at the Millennium Park Bike Station

The atrium parking area and the main interior parking areas are only available to members. If you want to park your bike inside for free, you have to walk your bike through the atrium, through the main interior level, and then down the stairs that have bike ramps on both sides, to the basement, where there is yet another room of bike racks. When I was there it was mostly full of boxes of bikes they were assembling for the bike rental season, as well as extra rental bikes that will be moved out around the city once the weather is a bit more friendly.

Basement bike parking in Millennium Park

Basement bike parking in Millennium Park

Looking up the stairs from the basement bike parking room at Millennium Park

Looking up the stairs from the basement bike parking room at Millennium Park

I stopped by the station on a weekday morning, after the early morning commuters had gone through, and was able to get a couple of photos of the women’s locker room. The facilities are very nice (and clean) and they also have a towel service if you don’t feel like lugging your own towels back and forth. And they even have a steamer in case your clothes get a little wrinkled in your bike bag.

Millennium Park Bike Station - entrance to one of the locker rooms

Millennium Park Bike Station – entrance to one of the locker rooms

Millennium Park locker rooms

Millennium Park locker rooms – showers/changing areas on the right.

millenium_park_womens_locker_room_steamers

Millennium Park locker rooms – clothes steamer

 

I’m seeing a lot of commuters since I first took most of these photos back in mid-April. Even during the weeks in late April/early May that were filled with days of nasty pouring rain and blustery wind. ¬†Now that the weather is improving, the bike racks have been practically full in the mornings.

Full bike racks in Millennium Park

Do you ever parked your bike at Millennium Park and/or used the bike station showers and facilities?
For more information about Millennium Park, the bike station, and bike rentals click on the links below:

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