Chicago really shines in the summer, when the beaches, free concerts in Millennium Park and dozens of neighborhood festivals offer great cycling destinations. But spring and autumn can be beautiful times to ride here, too, and the Bike Winter organization celebrates cold-weather cycling with clinics, arts events and snow rides. The easiest way to sample some of the city's best cycling is a spin on the Lakefront Trail. For an urban escape, ride the Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line northwest with your bike towards the North Branch Trail, which meanders 17 miles (27 kilometers) through deer-populated forest preserves to the Chicago Botanic Gardens.
The Handlebar (2311 W North Ave.) This vegetarian bar and grill features stools made of wheel rims, vintage bicycle posters and a lovely back patio with free bike parking.
Maxwell St. Market (Desplaines St. and Roosevelt Rd.) Sundays 7 a.m.-3 p.m. year-round. This historic flea market has the best St. food in town, live blues, used books, records, bicycles and more.
Nana Cafe (3267 S Halsted St.) This sunny eatery near Bubbly Dynamics bicycle features local organic ingredients and offers a free bike valet during Bike 'n' Brunch events.
Lula Cafe (2537 N Kedzie Blvd.) This critically acclaimed localvore restaurant next to Boulevard Bikes (boulevardbikes.com) is great for a romantic dinner or lazy brunch.
Revolution Brewing (2313 N Milwaukee Ave.) A kid-friendly brewpub with upscale food, owned by Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail founder Josh Deth.
Signature Lounge at the John Hancock Center (875 N Michigan Ave.) Lock to the pi-shaped racks in the plaza, then ride the speedy elevator to the 96th floor for cocktails and jaw-dropping views.
Critical Mass (Daley Plaza, Dearborn and Washington) Chicago’s huge, friendly Critical Mass ride gathers under the giant Picasso sculpture at 5:30 pm on the last Friday of Every month.
Kidical Mass (Palmer Square, 3064 W Palmer Blvd.) Gather every second Saturday of the month for a ride all about the kids; it is chaperoned by parents and sticks to residential St.s.
Critical Lass (Polish Triangle: Division/ Ashland/ Milwaukee) Every third Thursday at 6:30 p.m., the women of Chicago take a leisurely cruise through the city St.s to a tavern.
Bike the Drive (Columbus and Jackson drives) This inspiring ride shuts down the Lakeshore Drive superhighway, replacing cars with 20,000 cyclists.
Bubbly Dynamics (1048 W 37th St.) Home to several bike businesses, including Lloyd Cycles, Humble Frameworks, UV MetalArts and Pedal to the People - a mechanic who makes house calls.
Chicago Bike Winter Art Show (1000 N. Milwaukee Ave.) The closing party for this exhibit of bicycle-themed works features DJs, a fashion show and performances by the Racketeers, an all-woman BMX dance troupe.
2012 Cycle Messenger World Championships Bike couriers from around the globe will gather to celebrate their profession with races, parties – “civilians” are welcome to participate.
Lakeside Velo Works (8615 S. Burley) This new center on a former steel mill site includes an outdoor, wooden velodrome (open to the public) and youth racing and mechanics programs.