lakeshore bike trail chicago

Bike Chicago Part 1 – Hyde Park & Flyboarding

Summertime in Chicago is glorious! Between the endless horizon of water, historic old neighborhoods, street art, world famous architectural designs, top notch music events and endless gourmet food options Chicago, Illinois is one of those places you could visit a thousand times and still not see it all.

We spent two very full weeks urban camping smack-dab in the middle of the city this past summer (August 2014) trying to strike a balance between being a tourist and acting like a local.  In all our exploring and Lollapaloozaing I think we used our car twice.  With the weather being perfect and traffic being a b****, we quickly learned the best way to get around the windy city was either on the Metra or our preferred method, a bike via the lakefront trail!

So grab your camelback and comfy shoes because this is the first of a 3 part series where we cycle around some of Chicago’s best destinations.

What did you think? We really love city bikes and have utilized them all over the world. It always seems to add an extra element of fun, especially when it’s a super bike friendly city (I’m looking at you Copenhagen)! However, if you have your own bikes and prefer to use them…go for it, just leave the car behind or you’re likely to waste hours stuck in traffic or searching for affordable parking.

The Route & Itinerary 

Use the interactive map to see each of our stops.  The yellow route is Bike Chicago Part 1 and the green route is Bike Chicago Part 2.


10:00 am – Bike from McCormick Place along the Lakeshore Trail to Hyde Park.

  • The McCormick Place Parking Lot is the only place that we know of that allows RV’s overnight parking.  If you want to explore the city this is the best place to park it.  It’s not pretty but it is convenient! The 18th street lot is very close to the Metra, bus stop and a divvy bike station.

divvy bike

11:30 amMedici for a leisurely lunch. A friendly neighborhood cafe where it’s BYOB with a quaint outside coffee shop and bakery.

2:00 pmFrank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House. We take a tour of a beautiful example of both the prairie style and modern architecture designed over a hundred years ago.

3:00 pm – University of Chicago.  This is the perfect place to go for a walkabout. The campus is beautiful with gardens all around and buildings loaded with character!

5:00 pmFlyboarding!!! We hit the 31st street harbor for one of the most unique boarding experiences we’ve ever had: combining a wakeboard with jet powered water!

7:00 pm – Happy hour at home.

RV camping chicago

Why City Bikes?

When we visited Chicago we were in-between owning bikes.  We had just sold our mountain bikes and had not yet purchased our more travel friendly folding bikes.  But even if we would’ve had our own bikes we still would have used the DIVVY bikes instead of our own.  Why?  Because this is a big flippin’ city with a lot to take in and the last thing we wanted to be concerned with is finding a safe spot to lock up our ride, someone stealing the wheels, seat or even the whole bike.  This way we could pick our little blue bikes up when needed and drop them off when we didn’t.  No fuss, no muss.

A few tips on Divvy Bikes

  • Divvy Bikes operate on a 24hr pass (currently $7) and you have unlimited 30-minute trips with each day pass. Sadly, this means you have to take a quick swap break if you’re riding longer distances or be prepared to pay some additional charges.  Our trip from our urban camping spot to Hyde Park was exactly a 30 min ride.  We purposely rode fast to avoid stopping half way to exchange bikes. Its not a big deal but it does take a couple of minutes and is something to keep in mind as you’re riding about town.
  • Download the mobile app. The app maps out where bike stations are, how many bikes are available and how many empty return slots there are, its all “real-time” and based on GPS so it’s extremely easy to use even if you don’t know your way around town.
  • Make sure to read over the Chicago bike laws and tips on the DIVVY website before you head out on your first trip. It’s all pretty basic but it’s nice to know exactly how the kiosks work before you get there.

Have you ever used city bikes or have a favorite bike friendly city?  Do you have some Chicago faves we should know about?  Share your thoughts in the comments below, I have a good feeling we’ll be back soon!

Thanks to Choose Chicago for hosting us and helping plan a realistic daily itinerary.

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (18)

  • LM Powers

    Fantastic videos as always! Trying to get information on the folding bikes you bought. The link in the article above goes to an error page. Please help! ? Thank you so much!

  • Cindy Williams

    I want to try that fly boarding!!! Looks like you need to have a bit of balance? Or is it leg strength?

  • Rusty

    i thought you two were in Alaska ? ?

  • Keia

    Awesome! How timely is this information and video? The family and I will be in Chicago in a few weeks. We are looking forward to checking out the sights and had even hoped to stay at McCormick. We were told they are in the process of redoing the lot, so we have to check back to see if the repaving is complete. Looking forward to the next Chicago installment =) Thanks again =)

  • As usual… awesome vid, guys! Chicago is, indeed, an awesome city (and it looks like you really maximized your time while there!). Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture ROCKS (have you been to Falling Water in PA? Taliesin in WI? Or Taliesin West in AZ?!?!?! They’re ALL cool!)!!

    But come clean… the REAL reason you had so much fun in Chicago is… well… because blonds really DO have more fun?!?! LOL! 😉

    Can’t wait for more!!!

  • Benny

    Your info is so well organized, its so fun to watch and read even without an RV, as a regular visitor. Keep bringing good stuff and have fun!

  • Tom

    Great Video. Looks like you guys had a really fun time.

  • Eric Rondeau

    Very well done guys! Informative and Fun. I love Chicago and only 3 hours away. Can’t wait to get down there again to do some biking. Thanks You

  • Sonia & David

    Enjoyed watching your video of your day in Chicago. Lovely path along Lakeshore Trail for biking, walking, jogging, rollerblading. Flyboarding looks like so much fun but a little scary. I imagine you need strong legs/good balance to stay up there. Thanks for sharing your exhausting yet exciting day in Chicago.

  • Elizabeth

    Thanks so much for doing this. I’ve been looking for it since you mentioned Chicago boondocking in an earlier post. Looks like fun. Hope to be there in September.

  • Edward elbers

    I love Chicago and I found biking around the city a real pleasure. The trail along the lake is particularly nice since it splits the traffic between pedis and bikes so that you don’t have the usual problems of dealing with busy “mixed use” trails. It also goes for EVER!

    • We loved it for that same reason and I forgot to mention it! I never like the mixed trails as it gets a little clustered at times. It’s nice to have the dedicated trails.


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