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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Evanston prepares for Sunday’s Bike the Ridge event

Daily file photo by Iris Swarthout
The Bike the Ridge event in 2022. Ridge Avenue, usually a busy street, will be open only to pedestrians and cyclists on Sunday morning.

This Sunday, Evanston residents will participate in this year’s Bike the Ridge event, which Mayor Daniel Biss will officially kick off on Howard Street at 9 a.m. Ridge Avenue, from Howard Street to Church Street, will be closed to vehicles, as cyclists will take over the road.

According to event chair Michael Miro, Bike the Ridge began around 2008, when former Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) pushed for Evanston to have a community event. Currently, the event is sponsored by the city. 

“Evanston has a really vibrant biking community, so it makes sense to have an event that reflects Evanston’s commitment to biking and sustainability,” Miro said. 

Attendees can enjoy live music, food trucks, bike repairs, and booths from a variety of community partners and small businesses at Ridgeville Park. 

While biking is a part of the event, Bike the Ridge is not a race. It is more about community and participants can engage with it at any biking proficiency or passion they have, Miro said. 

“This event is limited to those on non-motorized bicycles only (motorized bicycles or skateboards are not allowed),” according to the City of Evanston website. “Children under age 18 are required to wear bike helmets per City of Evanston ordinance.”

Miro has worked with Bike the Ridge for the past 14 years. As chair, he coordinates the different interactions between the Ridgeville Park District, community organizations, vendors and the city. Miro said that the event has cemented its place as a hallmark of the city. 

While Miro said it’s difficult to estimate the exact crowd number, he expects up to 1,000 people to attend. 

“It’s just a labor of love for me and I just enjoy seeing everybody year after year. I think the community traditions are really important,” Miro said. “It’s woven into the fabric of Evanston’s identity.”

Wheel & Sprocket, a local bike shop, is one of the businesses that will be present to provide light repairs to cyclists. They have participated in the same capacity at past Bike the Ridge events.

Gretchen Brauer, general manager of Wheel & Sprocket, said that Bike the Ridge is a good opportunity for cyclists to take advantage of an empty Ridge Avenue – a road that is closed to cyclists at all other times of the year.

“A lot of cyclists around here would love to ride a little bit more but are maybe a bit fearful of riding on streets with cars,” Brauer said. “So an event like this where a big street like Ridge is closed down brings out a lot more people who are able to ride together at once.”

Without traffic, Miro said that the event would allow people to see the beauty of Ridge Avenue from a new perspective. He would like to see Bike the Ridge continue “indefinitely.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the name of the Ridgeville Park District. The Daily regrets this error.

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