Evanston’s annual opportunity for bicyclists to have the run of Ridge Avenue continues until noon today. Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, in the white jacket in the photo above, was among the folks who began their ride at 9 a.m. at Howard Street, behind a police officer on a battery-powered scooter.

Ridge Avenue, which is normally barred to cyclists, was given the pedal-power Sunday morning event for the first time last year at the suggestion of local bicycle activists to mark the end of a long-awaited repaving project.

Evanston Fire Division Chief Tom Janetske says that at 10 a.m. there were an estimated 625 people riding the route, based on crowd counts from civilian volunteers posted at every intersection.

Politicians and their supporters were well represented among the participants, including a contingent of Patrick Keenan-Devlin for state representative supporters in “New Way” t-shirts, and Jeff Smith, another house candidate, riding with some of his supporters.

Various groups, including the McGaw YMCA, St. Nicholas Church and the Ridgeville Park District offered refreshments and encouragement for riders along the route.

The street is scheduled to reopen to motor traffic about 1 p.m. Until then drivers can cross only at intersections with traffic lights, where police are posted to give cyclists the right of way.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. It was fun
    And a great opportunity to admire some of the great houses up and down Ridge that you never notice when whizzing by in a car.

    1. Nice to see you too Jan!
      Nice to see Jan and many many other riders taking advantage of Bike Ridge from my vantage point at the YMCA booth on the corner of Grove and Ridge.

  2. Lame! Lame! Lame!
    This event is lame. For one thing, hardly anyone is doing it, and for another, as I live on Ridge I am trapped till it’s over. It would be one thing if it just ended at 11 or even noon, but 1? And it would be another thing if I had seen more than about 100 people ride by. This is typical Evanston touchy-feely nonsense.

    1. anonymously lame
      Lame!Lame!Lame! your subject line proclaims.

      Me thinks this is a description of your argument rather than the object of your ire.

    2. How about they get rid of the
      How about they get rid of the 4 lanes, and permanently restripe 2 traffic lanes, 2 bike lanes.

      That might be more actually useful, and less “symbolic”.

    3. Grow Up
      Really amazing, so you are inconvenienced for ONE day out of the year at the hands of a healthy, family related event.

      And, how can you be inconvenienced? Ever heard of walking somewhere, or driving another route.

      I think you are lazy… and lame.

      This event has great potential. Ever heard of Bike the Drive?

  3. Thanks Volunteers
    What a great morning for a Bike Ride, with dozens of families taking to the streets, from little guys on little bike, to lots of retired folks showing off cool wheels and cooler helmets.

    Thanks Ridgeville for a nice little festival, with all sorts of goodies. One of the great opportunities of Bike the Ridge is the chance to visit and chat with members of the Evanston Police and Fire Departments. They love an events where they can smile and wave and have fun with the kids.

    Thanks Alderlady Ann Rainey. They is a great family event for the south end of Evanston and the Great 8th Ward.

    What a great morning for a bike ride!
    Your Evanston Bike Lady.

  4. Terrific event!
    Last unofficial count by EPD per the 8th Ward message board was that there were over 600 people biking Ridge at 10am – it’s likely that over 1000 bikers were on the road during the day. I didn’t count, but I rarely saw Ridge empty at any point during the event and I was there for the whole thing.

    FWIW, Ridge was open to traffic well before 1: the street closing signs allowed time for bikes to safely exit and barriers to be moved so cars could safely enter. However, I’m pretty sure traffic was moving before 12:30.

    Since there’s no parking on Ridge, I’m not sure how anyone could be trapped: the small number of people who have driveways on Ridge received advance notice via US Mail (see the Bike the Ridge page on the City’s website for a copy of the letter) – allowing them time to park elsewhere – and sidewalks, alleys, cross streets and parallel streets were all open. However, if some logistical issue was overlooked, you can offer feedback on the City’s blog here.

  5. Block party on wheels
    What a fun morning this was. Riding with my family on the freshly repaved Ridge Ave., we saw nothing but smiles from everyone. A great way to connect people in the community and to foster civic pride. If we just had smooth, and save bike paths like this all the time.

    A big Thank You to all the volunteers.

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