Like brightly colored birds migrating back to their favorite territory, thousands of bicycle riders and their supporters will return to Evanston Sunday for the North Shore Century.

Starting in the pre-dawn hours, the Evanston Bicycle Club event is expected to bring about 2,400 riders from across the country to the registration site at Dawes Park on the Evanston lakefront.

Wearing their colorful jerseys, cyclists can choose from the gentle 25-mile loop to Glencoe to the Century, a challenging 100-mile route extending into Wisconsin.

Riders can also take 50- or 62-mile routes (the 62-mile route is 100 kilometers, a metric century). The routes wend their way through 25 North Shore suburbs.

Credit: Evanston Bicycle Club

All of the routes include well-stocked rest stops, including 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 cookies, breads and other goodies to hand out to riders.

More than 150 Evanston Bicycle Club members volunteer to help run the logistically complex event, doing everything from providing food and water at rest stops to coordinating registration to handling communications and on-the-route support.

Local bike shops — Wheel & Sprocket in Evanston; Velosmith in Wilmette; Trek Highland Park; The Recyclery in Chicago; Zion Cyclery; On the Fly Mobile Bike Repair; and Wheel to Wheel Mobile Bike Repair — provide mechanics free of charge at the ride’s rest stops.

“It takes many dedicated volunteers to put on the North Shore Century, and we pride ourselves on having one of the best-organized rides in the region,” said Peter Glaser, NSC Chair. “If the weather is good, and it looks like it will be, we anticipate this year’s ride will be one of the biggest ever.”

Registration for adults is $50 through Saturday, Sept. 9. Registration on the day of the ride, if capacity is available, is $60. For ride details and registration, go to

The Evanston Bicycle Club donates proceeds from registration fees to nonprofit organizations in the Chicago area for biking-related activities.

This year’s grants 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, several charitable organizations, Over the Rainbow Association, Climate Action Evanston and the Children’s Tumor Foundation, 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.

Rest stops along the routes 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: Ride with GPS, Nimlok, Fast Signs of Lincolnwood, Sunset Foods, Homers Ice Cream, Judy’s Pizza, Subway, McGrath Evanston Subaru, NorthShore Orthopedic & Spine Institute and Lowitz & Sons.

Alan Cubbage is president of the Evanston Bicycle Club

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