BLT returns August 23 for Active Trans' 30th Anniversary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

August 5, 2015

 

Media Contact: 

Clare McDermott
Active Transportation Alliance
Director of Events and Marketing 
O: (312) 216-0466
C: (773) 391-7709 
clare@activetrans.org

 

Boulevard Lakefront Tour Returns August 23rd for 30th Anniversary of Active Transportation Alliance  

Chicago’s longest-running bike ride visits the city’s earliest parks, original boulevards, lakefront trail and the new 606 trail. 

 

Chicago, Ill., August 5 , 2015 — Active Transportation Alliance, Chicagoland’s voice for better biking, walking and transit, is celebrating its 30th Anniversary by bringing back a much loved event — The Boulevard Lakefront Tour (BLT). 

The BLT began in 1989, four years after the organization was founded as the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation (CBF). The ride continued through 2010 when CBF became the Active Transportation Alliance. The ride was revamped in 2011 to the Four Star Bike Tour to accommodate different bike routes. In honor of Active Trans’ 30th anniversary, BLT is back and includes routes that overlap with those from the early days of BLT and a throwback costume contest that is sure to feature tube socks and neon shirts. 

BLT was the organization’s first fundraiser, but it was more than that. The ride occupies a special place in the history of Chicagoland bicycling because it proved to elected officials that thousands of people wanted to ride and improve conditions for bicycling. 

“We go back to the days when very few people biked in the Chicago region and ours was often a lone voice,” said Active Trans board member and CBF’s first Executive Director, Randy Neufeld. “Even 10 years ago, ideas like protected bike lanes, the Divvy bike-sharing program, thousands of daily bikes trips to Metra stations, or the thought that 6,000 bikes per day would travel Milwaukee Avenue would have been viewed as pipe dreams by most everyone!” said Neufeld. 

“Active Trans and a relatively small group of volunteers scrapped and clawed for years, riding into a proverbial headwind of disinterest or outright opposition to bicycling,” said Ron Burke, Executive Director at Active Trans. “It’s gratifying to see our work paying dividends, with bicycling much more popular and mainstream today than when we held the first Boulevard Lakefront Tour in 1989.” 

BLT’s fundraising success grew with the organization and allowed CBF to move out of survival mode into programs that made a powerful and lasting impact on the region. “It’s fitting that the BLT is back to honor Active Trans’ 30th,” said Neufeld.  

The ride, taking place on Sunday, August 23, will start and finish at Memorial Grove on UIC’s Chicago campus (from 1989 through 2009, the start and finish were at the University of Chicago). BLT features four family-friendly distances to choose from that primarily use low-traffic streets:

>>The 14-mile route includes Chinatown, Bridgeport, Bronzeville, Burnham Park, and Chicago’s lakefront plus more. 14-mile riders can participate in Active Trans’ Safe City Cycling class and get on-street bicycling instruction from a trained cycling instructor. 

>>The 28-mile route shares the first 8 miles of the 14-mile route through University Village, the Near South Side, Bridgeport, Bronzeville and Douglas neighborhoods. Riders will continue further south along the Lakefront to Hyde Park before returning north on the boulevard system. 

>>The 36-mile route heads south along the Lakefront Trail to Hyde Park and passes through the University of Chicago. Heading northwest, the route continues through Bronzeville, Bridgeport and the Lower West Side on the way to visit three of Chicago’s premiere green spaces, Douglas Park, Garfield Park and the new 606 trails. 

>>The 63-mile participants will see much of the 36-mile route before heading northwest, eventually reaching Forest Glen and the North Branch Trail as it runs through Niles and into Morton Grove. After refueling at the northernmost point, riders turn south back into the city and continue down to Logan Square where they will enjoy a ride along the new 606 trail.

All routes will conclude at UIC’s Memorial Grove with a post ride festival featuring music, Goose Island beer, a throwback apparel contest and hot dogs! 

Online registration closes on Saturday, August 22, 2015 at noon. Register before Friday, August 7th to save $5 for adults. (Day of registration will be available as well with an additional late fee). Register at bltride.org.  Special discount code blvd3 for $3 off your online entry. 

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Founded in 1985 as the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation (CBF), Active Trans is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is supported by more than 7,000 members and 1,000 volunteers. For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.