McDonald's Cycle Center (formerly Millennium Park Bike Station) is a heated and air conditioned indoor bicycle parking facility built by the city of Chicago and now sponsored by McDonald's. With the street address of 239 East Randolph Street, it is located at the southwest corner of the intersection of East Randolph and Columbus Drive, in the northeast corner of Millennium Park in the Loop community area of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, USA. The facility provides lockers, showers, a snack bar with outdoor summer seating, bike repair, bike rental and 300 parking spaces for bicycle commuters. The Bike Station also accommodates runners and in-line skaters. In addition, the station provides space for a Chicago Police Department Bike Patrol Group.
The cycle center was part of a larger effort by the city, called "Bike 2010 Plan", which aimed to make the city more accommodating to bicycle commuters. This plan included provisions for front-mounted two-bike carriers to be installed on Chicago Transit Authority buses, permitting bikes to be carried on Chicago 'L' trains, installing numerous bike racks throughout the city and creating bicycle lanes throughout the city streets. Additionally, Metra and Pace have increased bike accessibility. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who notes it is also an environmentally friendly effort to cut down on traffic, was an advocate of the plan. Later, the cycle center fit so well with an effort by the suburban Chicago-based McDonald's to encourage "balanced, active lifestyles" as part of the solution to help its customers become more healthy, that the company committed to sponsoring the center.
The center is designed to encourage bicycle commuting to Millennium and Grant Parks as well as other downtown locations. It represents two major initiatives by the mayor: to promote cycling and to make the city greener. The center's physical focal point is an atrium that introduces the two lower levels of facilities and provides an aesthetic above-ground presence. The appearance is poignantly represented with a sloping visibly solar paneled roof. The center has a see-through design, with thin steel frames for its predominate windows. Awnings produce shade for the interior. The interior design uses stainless steel and blond wood. The center includes parking for up to 300 bikes, lockers, an internet station, a cafe, bike rentals, bike repair and private stall showers. The 120 solar panels produce 6.5% of the electricity supply required for the climate-controlled building. During business hours, the facility has 100 spaces set aside for first-come, first-served usage, but after hours the facility is limited to dues-paying members.
In April 2005, the cycle center was approaching its 500-member capacity. At the time of the renaming of the center in 2006, approximately 500 cyclists were members at a cost of either $15 per month or $99 per year for access to the garage's amenities. Additionally, approximately 50,000 riders used the center annually in its first two years. In addition to the riders, the Chicago Police Lakefront Bicycle Patrol Unit is stationed at the center. As the city's high-profile bicycle parking facility, it has served as a demonstration location for efforts to lobby for further bicycle accommodations for the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, League of Illinois Bicyclists, and Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn.
At the time the McDonald's Cycle Ceter opened, bicycle centers were already common throughout Europe and planned or enacted in several U.S. cities. Bicycle parking facilities with amenities in the US first appeared on the West Coast in , and did not exist in the Midwest before the Millennium Park center. At the time of its creation, this center was one of the country's largest and most modern. Since McDonald's is providing a healthier menu and fostering grade school physical education in an effort to help its customers improve their health, sponsoring bicycle and exercise activity in the park augments their other initiatives.
For the annual series of festivals, such as Lollapalooza and Taste of Chicago, the McDonald's Cycle Center is complemented by the Chase Bike Valet in Grant Park at the corner of Lake Shore Drive and Monroe Street, which is one block east of Millennium Park.
The center serves commuters who may need a place to get refreshed before work. Thus, Illinois residents are eligible for Cycle Center monthly or annual memberships, which provide access to the showers and lockers, access to the shared bicycle program, discounts on bicycle services and accessories, discounted IGO car sharing membership and discounts on City bike events. The cycle center is affiliated with, and provides free special event valet bicycle service, events such as the Bike the Drive, LATE Ride, and Chicago Marathon. As part of the terms of agreement for their memberships, members agree not to store perishables and illegal substances in the lockers. In 2005, when the membership list reached capacity and went to a wait list, monthly membership was $15 and yearly membership was $90. There are 240 lockers available to members. The center has four private stall showers for both men and women, and each is equipped with an attached personal dressing area.