It’s the iconic bicycling event in Chicago that 20,000 riders look forward to every year. Sponsored by MB Financial Bank and hosted by the Active Transportation Alliance, MB Bike the Drive is the one day a year when Lake Shore Drive is closed to all motor traffic, allowing cyclists to reign supreme along the scenic Chicago roadway.
Cyclists of all ages and abilities get to enjoy five hours of car-free riding as they take in stellar views of magnificent Lake Michigan, the breathtaking Chicago skyline and the city’s picturesque parks.
MB Bike the Drive is successful every year thanks in part to support from MB Financial Bank, which has sponsored the event since 2010. The company’s steady commitment to the event has made it one of the most renowned bike rides in the United States and the second largest car-free ride in the nation.
That’s why MB Financial Bank will receive the Business Leader Award at Active Transportation Alliance’s 2017 Awards Reception tomorrow evening. Please join us to celebrate MB, as well as two other worthy recipients.
We caught up with Karen A. Perlman, MB's senior vice president who is head of corporate marketing and chief brand officer (pictured), to learn why the company believes it is important to support MB Bike the Drive and why it values its long-time partnership with Active Trans.
Active Trans: MB Financial Bank has sponsored MB Bike the Drive since 2010. Why does MB Financial Bank continue to support the event through all these years? How does your support of the event align with MB Financial Bank’s values, mission and vision?
Karen Perlman: As a Chicago-based regional bank, our values are deeply rooted in giving back to the communities we have lived and worked in for more than 100 years. MB Bike the Drive is just one of many ways MB aims to help foster community ties and create memorable moments for local Chicagoland residents.
Active Trans: MB Bike the Drive has become the iconic biking event in the city, attracting 20,000 riders. How does MB work with Active Trans to help make this the must-ride bicycling event of the year?
Karen Perlman: As the title sponsor of the event, MB Financial Bank supports Active Trans in many ways. MB provides media support, employee volunteers and riders, and special customer and employee incentives to encourage participation.
Active Trans: Why is a bicycling event like MB Bike the Drive important not only for the cycling community but also for the city of Chicago and its residents overall?
Karen Perlman: Last year, Bicycling magazine named Chicago the No. 1 bicycling city in America. Community events like MB Bike the Drive not only rally support for Active Trans’ efforts to continue improving biking, walking and transit conditions throughout the area, it also helps MB foster relationships and encourage family and community unity among its clients and customers.
Active Trans: How many of your employees participate in the event? What do they like best about MB Bike the Drive?
Karen Perlman: Each year, MB is continually impressed by the number of not only employees, but customers as well. Over the years, the event has become something of an MB family affair since so many of our employees and customers enjoy bringing their spouses, kids, etc. to enjoy the event. In 2016, approximately 500 MB employees, customers and their families participated in the ride.
Active Trans: MB Financial Bank has also been a longtime supporter of Active Transportation Alliance in general. Why does the company continue to solidly support Active Trans year after year?
Karen Perlman: MB firmly believes thoughtful partnerships between the private and nonprofit sectors uniquely bolster growth and success in shared community interests. With approximately 25 percent of Chicagoans using public and nonmotorized transportation to travel the city, MB believes in supporting Active Trans in its efforts to improve the safety conditions for Chicago’s 400,000 or more daily commuters.
Active Trans: Do you have any special moments, stories or experiences from the MB Bike the Drive that stick out in your mind?
Karen Perlman: For the past three years, MB has offered rickshaw rides to clients of its nonprofit organizations that are unable to ride bikes themselves during the event. Also one of MB’s employees was able to take his son who could not ride on his own on a special bike, which Active Trans was able to secure for his use for the day.
Please join us as we celebrate MB Bank, as well as two other worthy recipients at the Active Trans Awards Reception tomorrow evening.
Also, don't forget to register for MB Bike the Drive, to be held this year on May 28.
Photo of Karen A. Perlman courtesy of MB Financial Bank.