What’s the best way to get there? With a steamy shot of espresso in one hand, a train ticket in the other, and your bike and helmet leaning against the wall, while you chat it up with local commuters and tourists, headed out on their own adventures.
Oh, you didn’t mention where you’re going. . . .
Well, first things first! In my world that means knowing where you can find a decent cup of coffee, first thing in the morning. If you’re jumping a Metra train, with Brookfield, IL as your starting point, you’re in luck! You won’t have to wait until the train reaches the Chicago Loop, to find yourself in line at one of the many Dunkin Donuts. There’s a local, small business option, right in the train station.
In the fall of 2017, after 14 years at its previous location, on the other side of the tracks, Loca Moca Café has relocated, to begin operations inside the Brookfield train station.
I have fond memories of the old Brookfield train station, which was physically lifted off of its foundation in 1981, and moved across the tracks, back when I was in elementary school. A handful of students from each grade at Congress Park Elementary were invited to watch the undertaking. I was not one of them, so I had to read about it in the local Brookfield papers. (I’m not bitter about that, not at all.)
The old building has been well preserved, and still sits across Brookfield Ave. housing the Brookfield Historical Society. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, shortly after the move. I don’t believe they serve cappuccinos and blueberry muffins there.
You’ll have to go to the new station for that! Loca Mocha Café took an easier route, in changing locations. It took up space that has been several previous coffee stands, after a bit of renovations, upgrading to be a full service coffee shop.
According to the Riverside – Brookfield Landmark, owner Maria Verduzco moved furniture, espresso machines, and caramel syrups with the help of coffee shop regulars, who have remained loyal to the business. Couches and reading nooks, potted plants and murals painted on the wall give Loca Mocha the homey feel that it had in its previous location.
“Unwind, read a book, or indulge in a good conversation with friends only at Loca Mocha Cafe of Brookfield, IL. We serve you great coffee and more—from fruit smoothies to bagels and muffins! We also offer free Wi-Fi and whole bean coffee by the pound. With a cozy ambience, it’s always a great experience at Loca Mocha Cafe of Brookfield, IL.” (Loca Mocha website)
If there isn’t local folk music playing in the café’s seating area, you’ll find Brookfield locals to chat with, while you sip your coffee and wait for your train. They might be there for hours! If you’re not in a hurry to get downtown, you might sit a while, and wait for the next train.
But if there are bikes to ride, move on along – you’ll get your ticket on the train. If it’s the weekend, bikes are permitted on all trains – you’ll want to have both hands free to maneuver up the stairs onto the train. If it’s a week day, bikes are only permitted on trains arriving in Chicago before 6:31 a.m. and after 9:30 a.m., then again on trains departing from Chicago before 3 p.m. and after 7 p.m.
You can check the Ventra mobile app or a printed train schedule, to learn which trains allow bikes. When the train is pulling into the station, you’ll need to look for cars that are handicap accessible, where there will be room to store the bikes, during the commute.
“Bikes are accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis, and those with mobility devices always receive priority. There is no guarantee that bikes can be accommodated on an initial or return trip (including late night trains), and crews have the right to refuse bikes in the event of overcrowding or depending on the needs of customers with disabilities.” (Metra)
Be warned – there is a good chance there will not be room for your bike during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Blues Festival, Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza and the Air and Water Show.
Bringing your bike onto the train with you is a conversation starter – for better or for worse. There is easy chatting with other cyclists, seeking cooler temperatures down by the lakefront. Those pleasantries are challenged, by the grunts and disgruntled looks of a grumpy weekend commuter who (unknowingly?) chose the seats just in front of the area where bikes are secured, by being locked to each other, and to the rail that runs along the train’s long, narrow windows.
He would probably rather be riding his own bike, on a Saturday morning. Perhaps he forgot to have his morning cup of coffee. I wonder if he knows about Loca Mocha. . . .
Join me on my next adventure,
BNSF Raliway – Metra: https://metrarail.com/maps-schedules/train-lines/BNSF/stations/BROOKFIELD
Locha Mocha Café: http://www.locamochacoffee.com/
Locha Moca on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Loca-Mocha-Cafe-Inc-174854075962003/
Brookfield Station (Wikipedia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brookfield_station_(Illinois)
Riverside – Brookfield Landmark: http://www.rblandmark.com/News/Articles/10-24-2017/Coffee-shop-opens-in-Brookfield-train-station/