In 2015, a group of Brookfield cycling enthusiasts teamed up with village officials to create Bike Brookfield, a one day, 10K bike race which took participants on a scenic ride through Brookfield and the Salt Creek Trail. But in light of the pandemic, last summer, the crowded, one-day event was completely reimagined to showcase all of Brookfield and allow locals to embark on a week-long, interactive ride to enjoy all the neighborly camaraderie and nature scenes throughout the village.
Titled “Bike Brookfield Week,” last year’s program drew upwards of 200 participants from Brookfield and the surrounding western suburbs, with participants ranging from ages 4 to 89 and completing the challenge as either individuals, couples or as a family.
With the option of completing the challenge in either one day or over the course of one week, bikers set out on the open roads of Brookfield, following a specially designed QR-coded map with 20 designated stops throughout the village, many of which were local businesses which featured free perks for participants, including art classes, product discounts and snacks.
Due to the reimagined program’s success, Bike Brookfield Week will make its return on Saturday, Aug. 6 — this time, with a scavenger hunt and “Island Escape” theme.
Christopher Valadez, a Brookfield resident and founder of Cycle Brookfield, says shifting the 10K ride to a bike tour seems to be highly favored by local cycling enthusiasts.
“With the new format, participants raved about the opportunity to see Brookfield by bike all week long,” Valadez said. “Seeing riders of all ages out and about throughout the week last year made our decision easy to keep Bike Brookfield Week as a multi-day event.”
Beginning Aug. 6, at 7 a.m., participants can start their journey at The Compassion Factory Art Gallery and Studio, 9210 Broadway Ave., downloading the official route map to see where the scavenger hunt-related events will lead to. Along the route, bikers will log their findings with their smartphones via QR code, eligible to earn special deals from local shops along the way — and discover new bike routes in town.
On the final day of the challenge, Saturday, Aug. 13, Cycle Brookfield will be at The Compassion Factory, distributing grand prizes to winners who found all 20 islands of Brookfield and handing out free T-shirts to the first 200 participants.
The “Island Escape” theme of the program refers to both the small, grassy boulevard-type patches found throughout the streets of the village and other hidden grassy locations in parks and business districts.
“Cycle Brookfield has a strong member base, but we open our monthly meetings to all,” Valadez said. “As we planned for Bike Brookfield Week 2022, a member raised the concept of ‘island escape’ and we rolled with it, trying to change the fun and add a theme to keep participants coming year after year.”
Like last year, the planning committee wanted to keep an element of surprise to the spots along this year’s route, but Valadez says the week promises to be filled with unique events.
A few event highlights include the Fill My Car candy store sponsoring a “Fill Your Tires” kids rodeo and bike check event on Saturday, Aug. 6 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; The Compassion Factory hosting a pop-up island party with Hawaiian leis and a cool treat on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 10 at an undisclosed island; and the Brookfield Parks and Recreation Department and Kiwanis Club sponsoring a Bike Wash on Thursday, Aug. 11 from 12-3 p.m. at Ehlert Park.
Cycle Brookfield will also be hosting its annual Members Only Oak2Oak Ride, starting from Imperial Oak Brewing’s Brookfield location to the Willow Springs location and back on Sunday, Aug. 7 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
With Bike Brookfield Week, Valadez says the village and Cycle Brookfield hope to encourage locals to drive less and enjoy their town on two wheels.
“Get out and ride!” he said. “There are some really cool sections [of town] you may never see by car. We want everyone to have fun and get to know the Brookfield we know by bike.”
Along with Bike Brookfield Week, Cycle Brookfield hosts other programs throughout the year and touts membership perks including discounts and freebies at various Brookfield businesses.
To pre-register for Bike Brookfield Week, visit bikebrookfield.com/register/. For more about Cycle Brookfield, including its mission of advocating for local bike safety, visit cyclebrookfield.com.