If you venture down to Evanston’s Dawes Park at dawn on Sunday, you’ll run into the vanguard of more than 1,000 cyclists starting out on a daylong bike ride,some pedaling as far as Wisconsin and back, for the 27th annual North Shore Century, sponsored by the Evanston Bicycle Club.

If you venture down to Evanston’s Dawes Park at dawn on Sunday, you’ll run into the vanguard of more than 1,000 cyclists starting out on a daylong bike ride,some pedaling as far as Wisconsin and back, for the 27th annual North Shore Century, sponsored by the Evanston Bicycle Club.

It’s called the century because the longest route is 100 miles long, with the cyclists making it all the way to Kenosha before returning to Evanston. Less ambitious riders can select from shorter routes of 62, 50, and 25 miles.

Along the way there are refreshment stops, equipped with water, healthy snacks, and bicycle mechanics.

If a cycler runs into trouble along the way, a team of ham radio operators, circling in vehicles equipped with GPS trackers, known as SAG wagons, are dispatched by radio to give an assist, including loading the bicycle and rider onto the vehicle and taking them to one of the mechanics at the nearest rest stop.

In the communications tent at Dawes Park will be a computer with a map that not only shows the locations of the SAG wagons, but also hospitals along the route in case a cyclist requires medical attention.

By the way, the club reminds all cyclists to wear a helmet, and they note that Evanston requires cyclists younger than 18 to wear a helmet.

The club also reminds riders to obey all traffic laws, including stop signs and traffic lights. In some communities along the route, cyclists have been cited for riding two abreast.

The club traditionally donates a large portion of funds raised by the ride to local organizations and agencies that promote safe, fun bicycling, including the League of Illinois Bicyclists, Active Transportation Alliance, Youth Organizations Umbrella, local police departments, and others.

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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