updated: Sep. 9, 2013

Central Illinois is really, really flat; it's a great place to ride a bike. Below are some options for renting a bike during a short visit to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Bike on!
Tips: rent or borrow a helmet, or buy a new helmet (the cheapest in store is fine), and mount a $5–$10 front safety light for dusk/night riding. Plus: lock up that bike when unattended!

Neutral Cycle:
The most rental options in town; started renting bikes in Summer 2014.
Basic bike: $20 for 1 day, $35 for 2 days, $45 for 3 days, $10 for additional days
High-end bikes, cargo bikes, tandem (2-person) bikes, trailers: see Neutral Cycle's rental webpage.
Summer bike rentals (minimum 70 days): cruiser bike $1/day, basic bike $2/day, high-end bike $5/day; requires deposit
Lights, helmet, and U-lock provided with all rentals.
Phone: (217) 979-2471
Address: 624 S. Fifth St. Champaign, IL 61820
Hours: Mon.–Fri. 11 am–7 pm, Sat. 9 am–3 pm
Website: http://www.neutralcycle.com/rental/
Email: campus@neutralcycle.com

Durst cycle:
Consider for a 1 to 21-day rental. Not really "rental"; with their system you purchase a used bike outright, then are refunded the purchase price — minus rental fees and any damage incurred — when you return the bike.
Basic bike: $35/day; $60/week. Requires up to $300 "deposit" (purchase price).
Premium bike: $50/day; $100/week. Requires $301 – $500 "deposit" (purchase price).
Address: 1112 W. University Ave. Urbana, IL 61801 (1 block from Beckman Institute!)
Phone: (217) 367 - 3600
Hours: Mon.–Fri. 9 am–5:30 pm, Sat. 9 am–5 pm
(Open Mon. and Fri. evenings until 7:00 PM April - August)
Jared Durst says: "We do not require a deposit on our 'rental' bikes. We have the customer purchase the bicycle. They are free to do what they want with the bicycle. We agree to re-purchase the bicycle less a 'rental' fee, as long as it is in the same condition as when picked up by the customer. Any repairs needed are added to the 'rental' fee."

University of Illinois, Div. Campus Recreation, Adventure/Outdoor Center:
Only place to rent helmets without bike rental. Only three bikes in entire inventory. Helmet rental is free with bike rental.
Mountain Bike, $20/day, $35/weekend, $60/week (UI-Rec. members: $15/$25/$40)
Tandem Bike, $10/day, $14/weekend, $24/week (UI-Rec members: $8/$12/$22)
To request a bike and/or helmet, email: outdoorcenter@illinois.edu with the times you would like a rental. Callers to their number 217-333-8747 are told to send the request by email.
Helmet rental, free with bike rental, otherwise $3/day, $7/weekend, $10/week
(UI-Rec members: $2/$5/$8)
"UI-Rec members"= University of Illinois student, or affiliate with paid semester Campus Recreation fee.

The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign:
(Teaching Bicycle Repair Co-operative / DIY shop)
A great deal, but you'll need some luck!
$75 – $150 to purchase a restored used bicycle
Instead of renting, buy a restored used bike for the same money you'd spend on a few day's rental. Then, donate back the bike when done, give the bike to a local friend, or take it back home with you. The catch: each week, only a handful of bikes for $75 - $150 are made available for sale "ready-to-ride". Visiting the shop risks that no ready-to-ride bike will be available in your size that day. Bike purchase comes with a free year's shop membership (shop access and parts discounts).
Address: 202 S. Broadway, Room 24, Urbana, IL (corner of Elm and Broadway)
(Post Office / IMC Building, enter via south-side basement entrance)
Phone: (217) 469-5125 Website: http://www.thebikeproject.org
Hours: Tue. 6:30pm--9pm; Thu. 6:30pm--9pm; Sat./Sun. 2pm--5pm

Send corrections/additions to this guide to: Barry Isralewitz <barryi@ks.uiuc.edu> .