Tag Archive: bike the drive

All SMILES at Bike the Drive

Chicago’s annual Bike the Drive event was yesterday, Sunday, May 26, 2013 – when Lake Shore Drive gets shut down to motor vehicle traffic and opened up to bicycles only for 5 hours of open riding. What great traffic — despite the chilly morning air, 20,000+ bicyclists riding over 30-miles of open roads — thank you, Active Trans.

Look ma! No cars!

Packet pick-up at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago was run like a well-oiled machine… high tech and ready to serve the thousands of riders who registered.

Packet Pick up

They even offered on-site registration … including from this overpass on the south section of Lake Shore Drive.

On-site registration from an overpass

This year I rode southbound first to the Museum of Science and Industry, pausing for a photo opp and people watching before heading back north…. but not before my morning coffee to propel me along the way

Coffee (hot and iced) offered by Chicago’s very own Dark Matter Coffee Roasters

Cheering section as riders enter Lake Shore Drive southbound

elliptigo bikes

Me and my shadow enjoying the ride


Coming into the rest stop at the Museum of Science and Industry

Rest stop

Even the bikes took a chance to lay down on the grass before heading back north:

Bike nap

Meanwhile, along the lakefront bike path —

razor scooter-ing

All Chicago fans came out

Blackhawk fans

Volunteer smiles

Even the volunteers — at the job since before dawn — are full of smiles mid-morning

Park construction….

I opted not to ride too far north (since I already traverse the northern section of LSD enough and know the road conditions — ahem, potholes — are worse).

The Director of the Active Transportation Alliance takes a Divvy Bike Share bike for a test ride around the post-ride festival. Chicago’s Bike Share (Divvy) debuted at Bike the Drive.

Taking a Divvy bike share bike for a test spin

Divvy’s debut

Divvy bike share bike up close with Chicago’s 4 stars and the “sharrow” graphics

Hello, Divvy

For me the morning concluded under the “Big Top” tent where several advocacy/non-profit bike organizations and clubs had tables. I worked alongside the folks from Chicago’s online bike network – The Chainlink – and the Chicago Cycling Club; I was there with info about the annual Ride of Silence.

Ride of Silence in between The Chainlink and the Chicago Cycling Club

Also under the Big Top:

Working Bikes and folks from Northwest Indiana’s bike network South Shore Trails, plus Climate Cycle, Major Taylor Cycling Club (not in photo)

At the post-ride festival, participants could register to win a folding bike from REI, win prizes or buy a smoothie from Jamba Juice, pick up numerous samples and swag, shop for bike clothing, meet bike clubs and groups, and even climb the rock wall.

REI’s Novara folding bike up for raffle

Win a Jamba Juice smoothie?


bike gear shopping at a discount

Rock climbing in Grant Park

To be involved with the festival (setting up a table before and taking down after) gives me a greater appreciation for the scope of Bike the Drive… and any city-wide event wherever you may live that brings together so many folks for a like-minded fun activity. It’s a lot of work… and usually a LOT of fun.

This year’s party has packed up…

packing up, clearing out of the park

Hope you enjoy this year of fun bike activities (big or small).

So many cyclists… so many smiles! Please share your cycling smiles with us here or on Facebook.

Chicago’s Bike the Drive not dampened by the rains

I’m back from a long weekend of being out on my bike — and away from my computer. Hope you enjoyed some riding (maybe a ride-a-day – non-commuter type rides – weekend like I did) this Memorial Day weekend.

Despite the rains and storms that blew over the midwest on Saturday and Sunday, the mornings remained dry enough.

Even the fog over Chicago couldn’t keep 20,000 bicyclists from riding along a car-free Lake Shore Drive on Sunday morning for the Active Transportation Alliance’s annual fundraiser Bike the Drive. The rains held out until just after the ride concluded and completely dampened the post-ride festival. But the spirits of all who came out were not dampened. In fact, everyone just seemed happy. Must be all the bikes. Seeing so many bikes – all kinds ridden by all ages and all types of bicyclists – is such a wonder for me still. Who needs the views of Chicago’s skyline or of Lake Michigan when you can just watch all the beautiful bikes “biking the drive”?

I’ll share a few of the scenic photos captured during the 2011 Bike the Drive. See my post from last year to compare the weather conditions and see what you can’t see in this year’s photos.

People came – by bike and by car – despite the low-lying morning fog

Chopper bikes:
chopper bikes

Hi-vis clothing definitely stands out in this fog!

Despite the chill and fog, I always enjoy this annual event
me at btd

Cargo bike

Sharing the ride:


dino helmet


Chicago’s Bike Patrol Officers along for the ride, too:
bike patrol

The Schwinntonations provided unforgettable music at the Museum of Science and Industry Rest Stop:
Check out their music videos.

Riding over the Chicago River:
chicago river

Our Chicago skyline:

After the rain – the festival area was just a wet soppy mess.
rain soaked

Thank you, Active Trans, for organizing another great Bike the Drive! Here’s to a great summer of biking for everyone.

Five-Boro Bike Tour Registration Opens February 1st

We got word today from one of our PR friends that the 34th Annual TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour starts registering participants on February 1st:

America’s Largest Bicycling Event Attracts Riders for Top Charities

Bike New York, a nonprofit bicycle event and education organization, announced today that 34 charities have been selected to participate in its new Charity Partners program for the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour on May 1, 2011. This year also marks the 34th anniversary of the Tour.

Bike New York will encourage all 32,000 cyclists to fundraise for charity while riding in North America’s largest bicycling event. While Bike New York has partnered with charities in the past, the new program included an extensive application and selection process that focused on nonprofit organizations that have the ability to pack a punch when it comes to fundraising–through social media, innovative PR, and sophisticated tracking tools.

Everyone who signs up for the tour will have the option to designate one of these charities to ride for, and the charities will also offer special Guaranteed Entries with a fundraising commitment (which can also mean a chance to snag a spot for those who miss regular registration). Bike New York’s goal is for the event to raise as much money for these charities as possible.

Registration for the Tour begins on February 1st at 10a.m. at and is expected to close out in record time. The event takes place starting at 7:45 a.m. on May 1.

Participating charities include: The Lance Armstrong Foundation/LiveStrong, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, City Harvest, Doctor’s Without Borders, Free Arts NYC, The Fresh Air Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, Ronald McDonald House New York, ASPCA, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Each charity will contact its riders to explain fundraising options.

Bike New York will list the top fundraising teams on its website and give prizes and recognition to the teams and individuals that raise the most funds.

In addition to the ride, the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour features live entertainment along the route from talented New York locals, adding the city’s cultural element to the tour. The route will also include five rest areas with free snacks, a fun Festival after the tour with even more live music, and the energy and buzz that only 32,000 cyclists swooshing through NYC streets can generate.

For more information on Bike New York and the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour please visit

This ride is on my short-list for “must attend” bike events (in addition to RAGBRAI, Chicago’s “Bike the Drive” and L’Eroica, which just happens to open its registration on February 1st as well); what an incredible way to see New York City!

Memorial Day Weekend at Bike the Drive

Our fellow commuter Noah recently asked what we would do for fun during the long Memorial Day weekend. In Chicago nearly 20,000 cyclists took to the car-free Lake Shore Drive to Bike the Drive on a warm and sunny Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

This Sunday – while waking up before dawn was a challenge – the reward of warm weather, thousands of cycling buddies, and a gorgeous sunrise made it all worthwhile.

Bike the Drive is the Active Transporation Alliance‘s largest fundraiser and the event attracts cyclists from beyond Chicago to take part in this unique event. I spoke with several riders in town from Wisconsin.

Once again this year all registered riders get rider numbers that they are asked to wear so that they can then register their unique rider number and get notified as soon as photos taken during the event are posted – and that number makes finding photos of you much easier.

I rode down to the event with my friends Dottie (of LGRAB) and Mr. Dottie
lgrab-dottie and mr dottie

…and then I just rode and took it all in (and enjoyed another year of all the bikes)

And I love seeing the families make the event a family affair.

But pedaling 15-30 miles can be quite tiring…

The post-ride festival included live entertainment, food, merchandise and advocacy groups, including People for Bikes –

Simply put, we believe that life is far more enjoyable when it’s experienced on two wheels. We believe that by coming together, we can make our world a better place to ride.

Have you signed the pledge “in support of a better future for bicycling—one that is safe and fun for everyone.”

What a great way to kick off the summer – let’s all go ride bikes! HELLO SUMMER!

So Many Bikes…. Biking the Drive

Sometimes when asking the question “which bike do I buy?” it’s fun to take a look at what other cyclists are riding.


At Sunday’s Bike the Drive in Chicago an estimated 18,000 cyclists came out to cycle along a car-free Lake Shore Drive from sunrise to 10am. From racing roadies doing laps on the mostly pothole free surface to visitors who rented bikes and every cyclist in between, the Active Transportation Alliance‘s (formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) largest fundraiser of the year did attract quite a mix of cyclists and their bikes.
family skyline

hand cyclists


rental bikes


At the rest stop, cyclists even found peace in yoga amidst the thousands gathered.

But like all good things, even Bike the Drive had to end… prematurely for some as bike traffic was routed off the Drive and back to the bike path to finish the route…
the end

Luckily the post-ride festival offered a chance to relax and ‘chill’ with a cycle powered “pedal your smoothie” and all the new biking buddies you met along the way.