Evanston’s Dawes Park was humming with activity at sunrise Sunday as the vanguard of some 2,500 bicyclists took off for the 30th Annual North Shore Century bike ride to Wisconsin and back.

The Century is an event of the Evanston Bicycle Club that raises about $20,000, which the club uses to serve the interests of cyclists throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.

The combination of picture-perfect biking weather and the support of a bicycle-friendly community was enough to guarantee a large turnout. While advance registrations were strong, the club typically registers 700 or so additional participants on the day of the event.

At Dawes, cyclists check in and pay an entry fee that ranges from $25 for early-bird registrants to $40 for those who register on site. Youngsters 16 and under pay only $10, which entitles them to a map that details the route, with plenty of support along the way.

There are rest areas every 15 miles or so that are supplied with food, drink, and restroom facilities. Also, SAG cars (which stands for Support and Gear) patrol the route to provide assistance to riders.

Fuel for the ride consists of fruit, bagels, and coffee.

These vehicles contain tracking devices and ham radio operators who belong to the North Shore Radio Club. A phone call to the emergency communications center at Dawes will bring help in a jiffy. With so many cyclists, there are a few incidents every year that require assistance.

In fact, a few years ago, one of the suburban communities scheduled a parade in the middle of the day that required organizers to shift the route a bit to avoid the marchers. They expressed confidence that this won’t happen this year.

A SAG driver gets ready to roll.

Not everyone travels the full 100-mile route to Kenosha and back. There are shorter routes of 62, 50, and 25 miles for those who are less ambitious.

This year the club is partnering with Adaptive Adventures to provide a cycling experience for those with various physical and disability limitations, including assisted blind riders.

More information about the ride for those who are thinking about it for next year can be found on the club’s website.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Great job Evanston Bike Club!

    Great job Evanston Bike Club! Every year this ride raises round $40,000 for national, regional and local bike charities. The Bike Club was a major sponsor of Streets Alive! too.

  2. More Evanston specific donations

    In addition to supporting Evanston's Streets Alive!, this year the Evanston Bicycle Club also provided funds for the Evanston Library's bookmobile, the Evanston Parks & Recreation District, Over the Rainbow in north Evanston, the Ride 2 Recovery veteran's organization, local & national bicycle advocacy organizations, and youth centered bicycle non-profits throughout the Chicagoland area. We turn a day's worth of fun into a powerful force for community enrichment.  Come join us next year. 

    President, Evanston Bicycle Club

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