Fresh Take on Chicago’s Bike The Drive — 5* Pix

Total Shots taken 180
Number of 5 star ratings (5* yield %) 20 (11.1 %)


Memorial Day weekend in Chicago.  Most of the news outlets reported on the warm weather and headlined their Tuesday morning reports with number of persons hurt or killed in violence. Well, I looked for and found another viewpoint on Chicago’s Memorial Day weekend.  First, there was the Soldier Field 10 Mile and the Memorial Day Parade, both of which were held on Saturday.  There were also wreath-laying ceremonies, commemorating our fallen soldiers (which I missed), which took place throughout the weekend, and included a flag ceremony in Grant Park.  Then, there is the penultimate (in my humble opinion) photography event, Bike the Drive, when Lake Shore Drive is closed to car traffic for the entire length from 57th Street to Hollywood – 30 miles if you complete the loop.

What I like about this action event is that it attracts a range of participants — dedicated bike athletes, leisure cyclists, disabled cyclists, families with children and babies… A fun time is had by all!  It also fits with my personal exercise program, and allows me to walk 5+ miles along the lakefront before I start the photography part of the excursion.

This was the 15th annual Bike the Drive, and probably the 4th or 5th one that I have taken the opportunity to photograph.  Each time, I say I am going to attempt to get a different view of the event.  This time, I tried to plan the photos I took, and the images I selected.

  • In Memoriam (2) – Sgt. Clayton Dunn’s story was summarized on the flag – where he was from, where he was stationed, and that he was killed in action May 26, 2007. For the weekend, memorial flags were placed to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.  As I walked to take pictures of the bikers, I saw the flags and stopped to take a closer look.  On Memorial Day, we honor those who serve in our armed forces and who made the ultimate sacrifice.   Sgt. Dunn paid that price — his loved one placed the flag in the lakefront park, overlooking Lake Michigan.  Thank you Sgt. Dunn for your service and your sacrifice – thanks to all of the fallen soldiers and their families.


  • Chicago Tree Project On The Drive – When they were first decorated, the brightly colored woven structures forced drivers to notice them on the Lake Shore Drive median. The baskets, created by Chicago artist Karen Gubitz, made a colorful backdrop for these riders.  Karen, describes herself as a self-taught, nature inspired fiber artist (see more about her at  This particular art installation was one reason I waited anxiously for this day.  I had promised myself that I would get close to these trees, and since I wouldn’t be driving, I’d get images of this artistic statement.  I love the Chicago Tree Project – if we can’t save all the trees, then let’s save some and turn them into art.  To our credit, this city has done it all over (find out more at )!


  • Thru the Wheels – I sat down on the curb, trying to get a different  vantage point on the bikers.  In this image I loved the fact that as you look over the top of the row of bike wheels, you can see bikers heading south on Lake Shore Drive.


  • Unicycle – Much to my excitement, I saw a couple of riders on unicycles.  How could I resist trying to get this image?
  • Low Riders (3) – First there are the families, lots of families, some accompanying their children (also on bikes) but others pulling their children along in wagons or on tandem seats.  But I am most inspired by those disabled riders on the low, near street level, hand-powered bicycles.  Each rider has their story – as I found out when I had a chance to speak with Adrian Stiger (right),  a woman who lost her leg to an infection.  She told me this was her second Bike the Drive event – she was definitely an inspiration to me.


  • Skyline – What’s a Bike the Drive event without a scene showing Chicago’s Iconic skyline?


  • Skyline II This scene shows the south bound view of the skyline, with the lake in the background.


  • Shadow Bike Lucky Strike– This image was a pure stroke of – dare I say photographic genius?   As I stood on the bridge getting the images of the skyline, I started trying to get close ups of the bikers.  But they were just OK.  So, I turned around to walk away.  But I turned back — before I put my camera away, I saw the biker on the low riding bike, and hung my camera out over the edge of the bridge, and started snapping.  This great image was the result!

Bike the Drive is one of my favorite events to photograph in Chicago.  Just like anything else, though, if you do it more than once, it is hard to create a fresh view of it.  But my plan on this day was to do just that – create a fresher view of this wonderful event.  I hope you enjoyed these 5* selections!

4 thoughts on “Fresh Take on Chicago’s Bike The Drive — 5* Pix

  1. Pingback: Chicago Tree Art Project: Not Just For The Birds – 5* Pix | eyevpointofview

  2. The beauty is that you’re captured a wonderful event from different vantage points — high and low –that capture the true essence of the bike event. People from all walks of life participate with the same energy, zest, and determination on behalf of a good cause. What an encouraging story to tell through your photographic lens.

  3. I thought that was you at the bottom! When are you getting out there to ride?!?!? Really hate that we miss this every year. Have to see when the midnight ride is. See if I can do that this year.

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