More than 2,000 brightly clad bicycle riders, friends and supporters are expected in Evanston Sunday for the Evanston Bicycle Club’s annual North Shore Century bike ride.
Riders ranging in age from 7 to 83 from throughout the Midwest and as far away as California, New York, Great Britain, Ireland and Israel have signed up for what has become one of the most popular cycling events in the Chicago area.
The event includes different routes — from a family-friendly 25-mile jaunt to Glencoe to the Century, a rigorous 100-mile route extending into Wisconsin. Riders can also take the 50- or 62-mile routes (the 62-mile route is 100 kilometers, a metric century).
The routes wend their way from Dawes Park on the Evanston lakefront north through the North Shore suburbs and then back to Evanston.
All of the routes include well-stocked rest stops featuring one of the things that makes the North Shore Century unique – home-baked treats made by Evanston Bicycle Club members.
About 20 members of the club have been baking and freezing cookies, breads and other goodies throughout the summer to give to riders on Sunday.
More than 160 Evanston Bicycle Club members volunteer to help run the event — providing food and water at rest stops, coordinating registration and providing communications and logistical support.
Six area bike shops — Amlings Cycle in Niles, The Recyclery in Chicago, Trek Highland Park, Velosmith bicycle studio in Wilmette, Wheel & Sprocket in Evanston and Zion Cyclery — provide mechanics free of charge at the ride’s rest stops.
“The North Shore Century is a huge volunteer effort and we pride ourselves on having one of the best-organized rides in the region,” said Peter Glaser, NSC Chair. “This will be the 37th year for the NSC and if the weather is good, it looks to be one of the biggest ever.”
Registration for adults is $40 through Thursday, Sept. 15. On Sept. 16 the registration fee increases to $60. No in-person registration will be available on the day of the ride. For ride details and registration, go to www.northshorecentury.org.
The Evanston Bicycle Club donates the proceeds from registration fees to nonprofit organizations in the Chicago area for biking-related activities.
This year’s grants totaled $40,000 and went to organizations including Evanston-based Center for Independent Futures, which provides bike rides for individuals with disabilities; Orchard Village, a Skokie-based organization that will use the funds to purchase an adaptive recumbent bike to be used for by persons with disabilities, and Working Bikes, a Chicago organization that refurbishes donated bicycles and gives them to children and adults both locally and internationally.
In addition, three other charitable organizations, Over the Rainbow, Citizens for Greener Evanston, and the Turner Construction Charity Foundation for the MS Society of Illinois, raise funds for their organizations by having riders participate in the North Shore Century.
North Shore Century riders will begin leaving Dawes Park shortly after sunrise on Sunday with activities continuing there throughout the day, including food and bands in the afternoon.
Rest stops along the route are located in Glencoe, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Gurnee, and Waukegan and in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.
In addition to the area bike shops, the NSC is sponsored by: Sunset Foods, Homer’s Ice Cream, Nimlok, FastSigns, Pedego, Envision, McGrath Evanston Subaru, and Orthopaedic & Spine Institute.