There are only a couple days left of Chicago's Bike to Work Week, but plenty of people commute this way year-round. Here's how to get started:
1. Get a bike that fits you. Not too nice, not too crappy. If it's expensive and you can't keep it inside while you're at work, it very well could get stolen. But if it's not in good condition, it'll be such a pain to ride that you're likely to give up right away.
2. Practice biking in traffic. Watch out for drivers turning left, who may not see you, and ones turning right, who may accidentally hit you if you try to pass them on the right. And bike far enough to the left that you're not in danger of getting doored.
3. Find a route. The City of Chicago's bike map, available online and for free at most bike stores, shows streets with bike lanes and recommended streets for cycling. Google Maps and Ride the City will generate bike routes for you if you plug in your starting and ending points, though both can occasionally spit out some questionable choices.
4. Figure out what to wear. If you don't have to dress up too much or don't have far to go, you can probably cycle in your work clothes. If not, pack a change of clothes, wet wipes, and deodorant and allow a few minutes extra for changing at the office. Local blog Let's Go Ride a Bike has a good guide to bike commuting in a suit.