Living in Chicago, only a couple blocks from Lake Shore Drive, I’m used to seeing this stretch of road packed full of cars headed in both directions. Two years ago when I signed up to participate in Bike the Drive I had no clue what I was truly signing up for. I mean, how much fun could this be? I ride my bike along the lake shore path all the time, and during the winter (when I’m not riding my bike to work because it’s too cold) I ride the bus along Lake Shore Drive twice a day. That being said, it doesn’t matter what you think it might be like to ride your bike on Lake Shore Drive, there’s something unique about hopping on your bike and joining hundreds of other cyclists on a day when only bicycles are allowed on this stretch of Lake Shore Drive from the Museum of Science and Industry all the way north to Bryn Mawr Avenue.
If you sign up now through March 4th at the official Bike the Drive website, you can save $5 on the cost of registration. It costs $45 to register and the earlier you sign up, the bigger discount you get. Earlier this year the discount was $10, so if you can’t do it this year but want to plan for next year, then mark your calendar to sign up early! There are other packages available as well and if you are an Active Transportation Alliance member or under 17 years of age, there are additional discounts you can get. Proceeds from the MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive benefit the Active Transportation Alliance, Chicagoland’s voice for better biking, walking and transit.
One of the best things about Bike the Drive is that you can start and end where ever you want. Choose to bike part of it, all of it, or if you’re feeling really ambitious take a couple laps around the 30 mile course. There are numerous pull-off spots along the cycling route with volunteers to answer questions as well as two large rest areas where you can pick up fruit, muffins, energy bars and drinks.
Bike the Drive takes place on Sunday, March 27, which is the last Sunday of May, Memorial Day weekend. Just remember, this is Chicago and May does not always mean nice weather. It was a beautiful day two years ago when I participated, but you should always be prepared for colder weather. Wear the proper clothing and bring your camera! There are great views of the lake and the city as you ride along Lake Shore Drive!