The Riverwest 24 – Community on two wheels
This phenomenon called the Riverwest 24 all started during the summer of 2008 when more than one hundred people cycled the streets of Riverwest for 24 hours straight — during one of the hottest weekends of the season. When race organizers set out to show off their neighborhood with an exercise in stamina and team work, they had no idea what the event would become. In the last four years, the event has grown considerably as the number of riders increases and more people from the community get involved. Each year, hundreds of people show up to spectate, volunteer and cheer riders on throughout the night.
The first year, roughly 180 people showed up to ride. In 2011, race participation has topped 600.
But if you ask co-organizers Jeremy Prach and Steve Whitlow (who are part of a larger consortium of organizers and volunteers), it’s not really a race, per se in that “winning” isn’t really the goal. You don’t have to wear a spandex outfit or ride a certain type of bike, you can complete one lap or 110; the point is to get people to explore the neighborhood and get to know the colorful residents who inhabit it.
“I’ve always thought of it as a ride,” says Prach. “I still don’t think of it as race…this is primarily a community event that started out of connecting block watches, and it still is that.”
“We’re encouraging people to slow down…instead of just pedaling as fast as you can,” says Prach. Whitlow adds, “For us, [the Riverwest 24] is a 75% community event, 25% bicycle event.”
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Registration is closed for the Riverwest 24, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get involved. Check out riverwest24.com for more details.
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