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Visitors deboard a Metra train at the North Western Station, 500 W Madison Street. Photo by Tripp. 

Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, July 11, Metra will disallow bikes on all trains at all times, with the exception of folding bikes in a protective cover (essentially in its own luggage). The blackout period ends with the last departing trains of the Sunday, July 15, service date (some trains may leave after 12 AM Monday, but are still included in the blackout).

Our website, Can I bring my bike on Metra right now? always has the most up-to-date answer to that question as well as a simple breakdown of the additional rules Metra imposes on those who want to travel with a bicycle:

  • Bring a bungee cord, waist belt, or rope to secure bike inside train
  • Folding bikes are allowed at all times (even during blackout dates), on all trains, in a bag or luggage
  • Not all train lines operate on weekends, Sundays, or holidays – check the schedule!
  • Heritage Corridor allows only folding bikes.

For those who want to attend the Taste of Chicago, transit is always a great choice. There are CTA, Metra, and South Shore train stations within the Grant Park venue, and within a couple blocks. Several CTA bus lines stop at Grant Park.

Bike parking is available at various locations around Millennium Park, and around and within Grant Park. The City of Chicago has more information on planning a visit.

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  • http://twitter.com/AdamHerstein Adam Herstein

    Metra seriously needs to chill out about their bike restrictions. The NCS line has a 7.5 hour rush hour bike blackout every weekday! How about adding more trains instead of disallowing people to bring bikes?

    • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

      Adding more trains would be extremely expensive.

      I presume that blackouts (periods when bikes are disallowed at all times on all trains) are done because of what would happen at stations, not because trains might be full. The concern may be that a lot of passenger traffic is emptying the trains and station and here are 1-5 people with their bicycles going against the flow.
      Is that a reasonable concern? I don’t think so.

      • http://twitter.com/AdamHerstein Adam Herstein

        I thought their concern was bikes taking up seats on the train. I can see how bicycles can get in other commuters way, but that’s up to the cyclist to get to the station early and make sure they get their bike secured on the train in a timely manner. Banning bikes is not the right way to go.

        • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

          I don’t think that’s the concern because the trains going in the opposite direction of Taste of Chicago-goers will have plenty of empty seats. These are the trains people want to bring their bikes on, as they understand bikes won’t fit on the trains full of Taste of Chicago-goers.

      • Trailz

        I take the UP North line in/out daily, and can’t take my bike during the restricted hours. Still, at Clyborn, I consistently see bikes loading up on other train lines (morning outbound) at the same hours that are blocked out for UPN riders. I’ve never understood why Metra feels like such a time warp, and keeps time behind current trends. And, why are some lines more relaxed about bikes than others? I think seat count and loading delays could be logical, but clearly, accomodations could be made for more consideration of cyclists.

  • disgruntled

    I took the UP-NW train out to the suburbs this morning. It seems they temporarily pulled some older cars back into service that aren’t ADA compliant. Normally, each couplet has one ADA car. Today it looked like only a quarter of the cars were ADA compliant. I don’t think anyone disagrees with the idea that people with disabilities deserve those spaces first.

    Still, it’s a big pain. It’s particularly irritating that Metra is willing to hamper my ability to get to work just to accommodate a few once-a-year riders. Fortunately, I’ve got two inexpensive bikes and will leave one out in the suburbs until the ban is over. But I’m considering making the 40 mile trek back to the city on my bike so that it isn’t left outside for the thieves all weekend. I highly doubt Metra would reimburse me if one of my bikes gets stolen.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

      I wasn’t aware that Metra could do that (bring in old train cars).

      Regardless of one’s position on who deserves the spaces, Metra posts the rules above the bicycle spaces indicating that people with disabilities have priority.
      Please use a good lock. http://chicagobikes.org/public/theftprevention.php

      • disgruntled

        No u-lock is a match for someone with an angle grinder at 3 am.

        • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

          Touché. I cut my roommate’s lock off (in the garage) in 30 seconds. And I filmed it. https://vimeo.com/38459669

      • disgruntled

        No u-lock is a match for an angle grinder at 3 am.