Thousands take to Lake Shore for 15th annual Bike the Drive

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CHICAGO -- Roughly 20,000 cyclists this morning enjoyed Lake Shore Drive closed off to cars and open just for them for the 15th annual Bike the Drive event.

"You've got the lakefront on one side, the beautiful skyline on the other, and Lake Shore Drive all to yourself," said Ron Burke of the Active Transportation Alliance.

WGN tried it for ourselves, with camera strapped to our chest, to enjoy spectacular views on a picture perfect day to pedal. We were one with the road.

"I had saw it all on the streets, and I said, 'Oh, that looks like a fun way to get involved in the community,'" said cyclist Donyay Hooks.

The event that marks the unofficial kickoff to summer for so many years.

"For the first few years, I was a paramedic on the route. But I retired from that job. I like the route, it's fun to bike something you only can drive on," said cyclist Mark Reid.

So today, stop lights didn't apply. But, many riders realized their unique opportunity, so they paused to take it all in.

"Last July, I started working out again. I just got back on the bike," said cyclist Craig Munson.

Their wheels could turn southbound to the Museum of Science and Industry and back to Grant Park; that's 15 miles. Riders could head north to Bryn Mawr and back for another 15. Some did the 30-mile trip more than once.

"I have always loved Lake Shore Drive ever since I was really little, so I'm really excited to be on it riding instead of in a car with my head out the window like a dog," said cyclist Melody Legge.

Some came for more than just the road. As part of a contest to win a diamond ring, Daniel Rich popped the question to now fiancée Stefanie Schwartz Mayeri. Some of the Blackhawks stopped by, too.