Undeterred by intermittent drizzles, upwards of 1,500 cyclists participated today in the Evanston Bike Club’s 27th annual North Shore Century event.
The more adventuresome bikers traveled the entire 100-mile route from Evanston’s Dawes Park to Kenosha and back, while others opted for shorter routes .
Club officials said they had about 1,250 advance registrations, of which about 250 failed to show up by midday to pick up their packets.
But some 500 bikers registered on site to swell the total number of riders to about 1,500. While short of the 2,000 who participated on a beautiful day last year, club leaders were nevertheless encouraged by the turnout.
Had the weather been ideal, the club was prepared to handle as many as 2,500 participants.
With that many bikes on the road, there were bound to be accidents, and by midday four cyclists had been treated at area hospitals, including one with a suspected broken collar-bone and another with a possible concussion.
There were also more minor mishaps than would have occurred had the weather been cooperating, including the usual number of flat tires.
Patrolling the route were 13 SAG wagons, dispatched by ham radio operators belonging to the North Shore Radio Club, to assist where needed. Among the supplies carried in the SAG wagons was a supply of different sized inner-tubes to make bicycle repairs on the spot.
Top: Riders Carl Gustas and Janie Wu are ready to roll. Above: Communications crew at Dawes Park dispatches help to bikers in distress.
Some cyclists were stopped by Lake Forest police for running red lights, although race officials warned all participants that bikes are required to obey the same traffic laws as automobiles.
“Stop signs are particularly difficult to deal with,” said one rider. “It would the same as if you asked an automobile driver to come to a complete stop, turn off his engine, and put one foot on the ground.”
Nevertheless, the law is the law, he said, and bike riders just have to deal with the consequences.
Much of the money raised by the club is designated for charitable purposes as well as for promoting laws that make bicycle riding safer and more enjoyable.