Bikes on Transit

This page includes tips, links, and important information for bringing a bicycle on the Chicago region’s public transit system. Bikes are welcome and ride free on CTA, Metra, and Pace, but rules and accommodations are subject to change. Always check each transit agency’s website for the most recent information. 

CTA

CTA offers year-round opportunities to bring your bicycle aboard and explore Chicago through sustainable and multimodal transportation. For more information on the CTA and bicycling, visit https://www.transitchicago.com/bikeandride/.

CTA Buses

All CTA buses are equipped with bike racks, located on the front of the bus, with most regular, two-wheeled bikes fitting into the racks. 

How to Bike & Ride: On the Bus is CTA’s step-by-step guide, which contains videos and written instructions on how to properly get your bike on a CTA bus.

CTA Trains

Bicycles are permitted on the ‘L’ (CTA trains) every weekday except during weekday rush periods of 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. If you board the train before the hours listed and your trip extends into those hours, the CTA allows you to finish your trip.

On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays (except when prohibited), bicycles are allowed on trains all day. On holidays, such as July 4, CTA trains are expected to become heavily trafficked causing bicycles to be prohibited. If this occurs or a train is very crowded, please follow station or train crew instructions on how to bring your bicycle aboard.

How to Bike & Ride: On the Train offers a step-by-step guide on how to bring your bike on a CTA train.

Tips for biking on CTA trains:

  • Ask CTA staff to open the accessible gate to enter the station.
  • Folding bikes are permitted onboard the train.
  • Divvy stations and bike racks are at or outside most CTA 'L' stations.
  • Never ride your bicycle on CTA property - walk with your bike.

Pace 

Pace welcomes bicycles as a healthy, green alternative. On every fixed- route, buses are equipped with bike racks. Bikes always ride free on the front-loaded bus racks.

Bikes on Buses demonstrates how to safely get your bike on a Pace bus with visual and written instructions.

Tips for biking on Pace Buses:

  • Each bus can carry only two bikes; racks are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • You must be able to lift your bike by yourself; the driver cannot help you with your bike.
  • Folding bikes are permitted onboard.
  • Load/unload from the side of the bus nearest the curb.
  • When exiting, remind the driver that you need to unload your bike.

Metra 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Metra announced that bikes and folding e-scooters are allowed on trains across all 11 lines.

Metra’s Bikes on Trains program is designed to enable cyclists to bring their bicycles on board trains during weekday off-peak hours and on weekends.

Bikes on Metra Trains includes video tutorials, written instructions, guides, maps, and the latest news about how to bring your bike aboard.

As highlighted above, Metra is now temporarily relaxing its bikes on trains policy and is allowing bikes and folding e-scooters on all trains across all 11 lines. There are still limits to the number of bicycles allowed and cyclists should be advised there is no guarantee that bikes or e-scooters can be accommodated on an initial or return trip (particularly on rush-hour trains), and crews have the right to refuse bikes or e-scooters in the event of overcrowding or depending on the needs of customers with disabilities.

As of May 2021, Metra has released new, specialized Bike Cars on some of its lines. These cars can carry 16 bicycles instead of the usual five and give passengers more accessible options.

Riders can easily identify the Bike Cars by their blue and grey paint scheme, as well as a large white bicycle decal adjacent to the exterior doors. If a Bike Car is out of service for any reason, there will still be room for bikes in the priority seating area of each ADA-accessible railcar on the train.

Visit Bike on Board to learn more.

Tips for biking on Metra:      

  • Five bicycles are allowed in the priority seating area of each accessible diesel rail car, two on each equivalent Metra Electric car, and 16 on the Bike Cars.
  • Cyclists are required to tightly secure their bike to the lower railing of the folding seat with a bungee cord or other device.
  • Cyclists cannot block aisles or impede passenger movement. Cyclists must always accompany their bike.
  • Metra reserves the right to ban bikes on trains during special events like St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Blues Festival, Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, and the Air and Water Show. There will be advance notice posted on metra.com.

South Shore 

The South Shore Line’s Bikes on Trains program is now being offered on 18 weekday trains. Bike rack-equipped train cars are clearly marked with a bike symbol prominently located on the windows of each car.

Each bike car consists of one bike rack, which can hold approximately 12-13 bikes. Bike rack equipped cars will be available on select weekend/holiday and select weekday trains from April through October. For a list of trains and stations, see this map and schedule.

Tips for biking on South Shore trains:

  • Bikes may not be permitted during special event weekends such as: Blues Festival, Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, and the Air & Water Show.
  • Train crews have the final authority on accommodating bicycles. Crews may prohibit a cyclist from boarding due to overcrowding.
  • Bikes are only permitted on select labeled bike-friendly trains.
  • Bicyclists may board and detrain only from high-level platforms.

Before planning your bike trip, visit South Shore Line's Bike Friendly Trains webpage for further information, how to instructions, maps, and predetermined bike adventure routes to explore.

Amtrak 

Amtrak offers several different services to transport your bike onboard. Each train has different equipment and loading procedures that dictate what service will be offered. The capabilities of your origin and destination station also determine how bikes are handled, so visit Amtrak’s website before you book your trip.