Come ride with us! Our Saturday morning training ride is open to all cyclists. The ride from Wicker Park up to Highland Park is “no drop” pace. This means nobody gets left behind. The intent is to help riders develop group riding skills, and our goal is to arrive at the coffee shop in Highland Park as a group. Typically, the ride pace is between 18-20 mph, but we will ride as slow as the slowest rider. If you are unable to keep up and a gap has opened ahead of you, you should yell “Gap!” and we will slow down the group to accommodate.
Meeting times and locations: We leave at 8 a.m. from the northwest corner of Wicker Park, just south (about 600 feet) of the six-legged intersection of North Avenue, Damen Avenue, and Milwaukee Avenue. The ride stops at 8:30 a.m. at the intersection of Pratt Boulevard and Ridge Boulevard (in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago) and continues up Sheridan Road to Highland Park. **Please note that April through early October we go by our summer hours, and the ride leaves Wicker Park at 7:00 a.m. gets to Pratt and Ridge at 7:30 a.m. Look for the official switch to be announced on our home page and social media channels. For 2019, we will start our team ride at 7:00 a.m. beginning on Saturday, May 4th.
Be aware that in the interest of safety and responsible use of the road, we will occasionally split the ride into two groups. This will be done on an as-needed basis at the Pratt & Ridge rendezvous point. The objective will be to split a large group into two halves, each of which has a strong presence of experienced riders. The groups will depart about three minutes apart. Important note: This is not splitting the ride into a "fast" group and a "slow" group, and the ride to Highland Park must not become a race. It is not Group B's goal to catch Group A.
After a stop in Highland Park, the group will split up according to ability and ambition. There will almost always be a group heading straight back to the city, but please keep in mind that after Highland Park the ride is no longer "no drop" and the speeds can be significantly faster. You are responsible for your own way home. If you do not know the area, you should bring a map or smartphone. In addition to the group heading directly back to Chicago, there is almost always one or more groups continuing north on one of several popular extensions that we ride. See more info about the extensions below.There are several important things to keep in mind on the ride.
- Helmets are required. No exceptions.
- Your bicyle must be equipped with with a mechanical brake on the front wheel and either a mechanical brake or fixed drivetrain on the rear wheel.
- The ride from Wicker Park up to Highland Park is “no drop.” This means nobody gets left behind. We ride as slow as the slowest rider. If you are unable to keep up and a gap has opened ahead of you, you should yell “gap.” Do not be bashful. And if you hear that “gap” has been called, you must slow down and pass the word forward.
- We stop for flats. However, you are expected to have all the equipment (spare tubes, patch kit, tire levers, and air pump/CO2) necessary to change a tube and the know-how to do so within 5 minutes.
- If you are at the front of the group, you are responsible for keeping the ride smooth and safe. We endeavor to have four experienced team members at the front of the ride at all times. These riders are familiar with the route and will aim to keep the pace steady. We also try to have at least one experienced team member patrolling the back of the group to make sure the group is staying together and riding safely.
- We ride no wider than two abreast. Not only is this the safest way to ride, but it’s the law. Although we proudly assert and defend our rights as cyclists, we try to minimize our impact on motorized traffic. In certain areas (e.g. Glencoe) we are required to ride single file; we will tell you where. You will see riders put their arm in the air with one (1) finger extended meaning that we must ride single file.
- No earbuds in ears, regardless of whether they are in use.
- Aerobar extensions (aka "aerobars," "TT bars," or "triathlon bars" as typically used in time trials and triathlon) may NOT be used during the ride (but you can still ride if you have them on your bike).
- See the bottom of this page for more tips.
- Ft. Sheridan Loop (aka "Fort" - an extra 7 miles)
- "Old School" (23 miles)
- "Cemetery" (32 miles)
- "Sisters" (40 miles)
- "Border Run" (65 miles)
When we are at the coffee shop in Highland Park you really have to stay on your toes and pay attention to what's going on. When we get to the coffee shop we all stop for 10-15 minutes to fill up water bottles, use the bathroom, and/or get a snack or coffee or some other beverage. It is really easy to miss the group that is leaving the coffee shop, either going back south to the city or going north on one of the extensions. There is usually a "warning" a minute or two before the group leaves, but when they leave (especially the groups going north) the pace can be really fast. The group going north usually rides north up Sheridan Road from the coffee shop VERY fast. Be prepared. You may be able to find a separate group that is also going north at a more reasonable (i.e. slower) pace. Ask around when the group is at the coffee shop.
The group pace (meaning the typical moving speed) on the extensions or riding back to the city will be upwards of 20 mph. It is usually in the 22-24 mph range, and it can easily get up to the mid to upper 20s depending on wind speed, wind direction, and the strength of the riders in the group.
Remember, when riding the extensions or riding directly back to the city from Highland Park, the ride is a "drop" ride, meaning that the group will not wait for the slower riders. The group will USUALLY wait for someone with a flat tire, but there is no guarantee. The group may also wait for slower riders to catch up assuming they are not too far behind; typically that means they'll wait at a corner or a convenience store along the route and wait for the slower riders to catch up. That does not mean that they will slow their pace to the pace of the slower riders.
Our team ride is a great way to get to know us and improve your own riding at the same time. We look forward to riding with you.
Updated April 2019