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Graceland's No. 1 Complaint No More: Now You Can Bike The Cemetery

By Josh McGhee | October 31, 2017 6:08am
 Cycling through cemeteries was once considered disrespectful to mourners.
Cycling through cemeteries was once considered disrespectful to mourners.
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DNAinfo/Josh McGhee

UPTOWN — Observing the magnificent scenery at Graceland Cemetery is now a lot easier.

The self-described "oasis of art, architecture and landscape design" at 4001 N. Clark St. began allowing visitors to ride around the grounds via bicycle on a trial basis around the end of June, said Jensen Allen, the cemetery's associate director.

"We just started to notice that was our biggest complaint — that cars could ride through, but bikes couldn't," she said.

Graceland is one of many cemeteries changing its position on biking through its grounds.  Cycling once was deemed only a recreational activity and considered disrespectful among cemetery mourners, according to WBEZ's "Curious City."

Though cycling through the grounds originally was a trial, the cemetery will allow cyclists "as long as people are respectful," Allen said.

As a private cemetery, Graceland reserves the right to ask those who aren't being respectful to leave. So far that hasn't happened, she said.

Sunday, a group bicycle tour was held on the grounds. The cemetery asks that bigger groups visit only on Sundays to avoid interrupting services, she said.

Small groups and single cyclists are welcome during the week, as long as they also are respectful of funeral services and mourners.

The cemetery is not only the home of beautiful landscapes, but also the final resting place some pretty famous Chicagoans: Marshall Field, Daniel Burnham, Joseph Medill and George Pullman among them.

Oh yeah, and Ernie Banks.