500 Miles, Five Days, One Mission: Group Bike Ride Advocates Bicycle Infrastructure & Safety

Jun 9, 2015

As the future of Wisconsin's Complete Streets program is still in question, having reliable funding for bicycle infrastructure is not just an issue Wisconsin faces.

Professional cyclist Tim Johnson led a group bike ride from Minnesota through Milwaukee to Chicago to illustrate the need for improved bike infrastructure.

Johnson founded the annual bike ride back in 2011. Originally called the Ride on Washington, he traveled throughout the east coast from Boston to Washington D.C. to lobby support from legislators for improved cycling conditions.

Riding through several states in harsh weather conditions, and at times even harsher road conditions, Johnson experienced the difficulty everyday cyclists face on their local roads.

"There was very little infrastructure and it was really eye opening for a lot of people on the ride that this is the way it is for a lot of people in the country. And so then it just kind of awakened my own interest in advocacy, and it became something we wanted to do every year," says Johnson.

This year's Ride on Chicago started in Minneapolis and concluded in Chicago this past Sunday.
Credit peopleforbikes.org

In 2014, the ride relocated to the Midwest and is now known as Tim Johnson's Ride on Chicago.

This past weekend, Johnson led a group of cyclists for more than 500 miles over five days (pedaling 85-120 miles per day) from Minneapolis to Chicago in an effort to bolster a program called PeopleForBikes. The organization’s mission is to make biking safe and accessible for everyone.

"I just want to be able to use my networks of cycling fans, and people I race with, companies that support me as a rider, to say this is something I care about and I think you should care about it too," says Johnson.

The group of riders passed through Milwaukee this past Sunday to kick off the last stretch of the ride at Ben's Cyle on Milwaukee's south side.

"The take away from this is that the people who are joining us, they become an advocate without even knowing it," says Johnson. "You never know what kind of impact that can make down the road."