Bikes will once again fill Lake Shore Drive this Sunday at the Active Transportation Alliance’s annual MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive. The event, which closes Lake Shore Drive to car traffic and benefits Active Trans, will bring approximately 20,000 cyclists all of abilities to the road between Bryn Mawr and 57th Street for close to five hours of riding.
“It’s not a race. It’s an opportunity for everyone to get out and go for a casual, fun ride on Lake Shore Drive and experience the city in a unique way, a way you can only experience it one time a year,” Active Trans executive director Ron Burke says. “You have beautiful Lake Michigan on one side, the city skyline on the other, parks, museums and the perspective you get riding a bike on Lake Shore Drive is so different than when you’re in a car.”
Participants can begin their ride starting at 5:30 a.m. at Columbus and Jackson, the Bryn Mawr rest stop, the Museum of Science & Industry rest stop, Fullerton or Oakwood. Riders can spend as much time and ride as far on Lake Shore Drive as they would like before 10:15 a.m., at which point all riders must leave the road.
Riders must wear rider and helmet numbers and wristbands at all times and can take a break whenever they’d like at rest stops located at Bryn Mawr, 57th Street and Columbus and Jackson. Rest stops feature light snacks, fruit and water, and Burke says that many riders enjoy picnicking at the 57th Street rest stop by the Museum of Science and Industry.
In addition to the ride along the Drive, the event will also have a few more options for entertainment. Of particular note, Bike the Drive will host Divvy Drag Racing for the first time this year in front of Grant Park in the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive.
“We’ll have some local celebrities like Mike Adamle, Christian VandeVelde, Jason Thomas and a few other people line up on Divvy bikes,” Burke says. “We’ll drop the checkered flag, they’re going to race one block and we’re going to see who wins.”
A post-ride party takes place in Butler Field in Grant Park from 8 a.m. until noon and will feature music from R-Gang, vendor tents and a selfie station with a picture frame participants can use to have the city skyline framed behind them.
Burke advises all riders to get there early to make the most of the morning and to pick up their packets before the event if possible.