Paramount Room owner Jon Young lost free parking for his customers in June, when a restriping of the bike lanes on Milwaukee eliminated the parking places outside his restaurant. Rather than complaining about it, though, he decided to try to attract the hundreds of cyclists who pass the intersection of Milwaukee and Kinzie every day when the weather’s nice. So in August he installed Chicago’s newest bike repair stand just outside the restaurant, across from the northwest side of the building (415 N. Milwaukee, 312-829-6300). It officially opened last month with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted in collaboration with the Active Transportation Alliance, featuring a demonstration of how to change a flat tire by ATA education specialist Jason Jenkins.
In addition to a bike stand, the “fix-it” station boasts compressed air (for refilling tires) and several tools, mostly wrenches and screwdrivers—which are tethered to the stand so they don’t wander off. The Paramount Room has also started selling bike tubes, so if you’re not carrying a spare you don’t have to try to patch the damaged one. There are several other similar stations in the city (independently owned), including at the Thorndale el stop, the Art Institute, West Town Bikes, and Whole Foods Lincoln Park and South Loop; a complete list can be found at bikechi.com/chicago/repairrental.html.
Young is a cyclist himself, and offers food discounts to cyclists who bring in their helmets in addition to hosting a monthly bike night with $4 pints. “This is pretty much the busiest commuter street in the city, and we’ve never really taken advantage of that,” he says. Until now.