After somehow finishing the 100 mile Wrigley Field Road Tour last August, I vowed to ride my bike a little more often and actually prepare for this year's event. Well, so much for good intentions. Friday, in order to honor last year's top fundraiser, I joined Cubs board member Todd Ricketts and friends as we did the short 14 mile ride to the park from his Higher Gear bike store in Wilmette to promote the full century ride coming up August 25th. It was the first time I'd been on a bike since last August.
I'm not sure why. Last year's ride was incredible. I rode with 350 people. The weather, scenery, friends and support were all amazing. And the sense of accomplishment I got when we finished rivaled the feeling of crossing the finish line at most of the marathons I've run.
And I like riding a bike. It's a fun way to maintain a cardio workout without putting all the strain on your feet and joints from pounding the roads during a run. I guess the problem is that it takes time, which because of my four kids, is in limited supply. I can get a pretty good run in during a half hour window. To get the same benefit on the bike, I would need at least twice that long.
Plus, I generally run in any weather. On the bike, I'm more of a 'fair weather cyclist.' I wouldn't feel confident on a bike in rain, snow or ice. Fortunately, the weather Friday was pretty good. It was cool, ovecast, but dry.
The good folks at the Higher Gear were kind enough to loan me a high-end road bike to use for the ride. We rode with a couple dozen top riders, fundraisers, friends and media folks to celebrate and promote the ride and the great charity it benefits, Chicago Cubs Charities and World Bicycle Relief, which provides bicycles to people who need transportation in Africa.
My connection with Todd Ricketts stems from when the family first bought the team. Todd not only is Cubs board member and bike shop owner but he is also on the board of World Bicycle Relief. Todd is an avid cyclist himself and sees this ride as a way to bring some of the most important things in his life together.
"You don't need to be a professional athlete to do the Wrigley Field Road Tour and you don't need to be a professional fundraiser to participate," says Ricketts. "The best part of this event is anyone can do the ride and help raise funds for two important causes. This is not a race. This is a century ride for beginners, intermediates and advanced riders. As long as you finish and come to the party on the outfield lawn at Wrigley afterwards, we are happy."
That helps explain how we were treated to incredible seats for the game against the Mets after we arrived at the ballpark. Among the friends who I enjoyed the ride and the game with are from Amy Jacobson, 'Ramblin' Ray Stevens, and Lissa Christman. All are planning on doing the full ride in August as well as a few other media types.
Come join us! This year's ride is August 25th. You can find details at: http://worldbicyclerelief.akaraisin.com/2013wrigleyfieldroadtour
See you on the roads..........