Chicago: The Rides

What's excellent about cycling in Chicago is what its cyclists choose to make of the city and its surroundings. Chicago doesn't have mountains. Or hills. There is the occasional mound. Otherwise, it's flat. You can ride 40 miles north and back and log only 300 meters or so of ascent. For the avid cyclist, that means tightly packed, hard-paced group rides. For the leisure-ride inclined, it means easily-accessed destinations for coffee, beer, and visual splendors like Bahai temple (an easy 24 mile out/back ride from the heart of Chicago). The lakefront path alone stretches a full 18 miles and has stunning views of the skyline, historic industry, the park and lake, and access to many of Chicago's best features. 

Following are four quintessential Chicago rides*, each with options to stretch it out, or stop along the way. 

* Unless otherwise noted, expect some riding on roads with cars.