Cyclists & runners cross Milwaukee's Hoan Bridge
Last-minute patches on Milwaukee's Hoan Bridge delayed the start of the Ride for the Arts about 20 minutes on Sunday, June 5, stretching the already worn patience of bicyclists anxious for the first legal opportunity to ride the span in nearly 30 years.
Otherwise, the event was deemed a success. Highlighting the 25-mile ride with Milwaukee's looming skyline, Lake Michigan sparkling in the early sun, a light breeze and an incline that proved much less severe than many had expected.
The Hoan has been officially off limits to bikers and pedestrians since it opened in 1978, and the practice of closing it to motor vehicles one day a year ended in the 1980s.
The Ride for the Arts secured permission from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to route bicyclists over the bridge this year, and the opportunity helped boost participation to more than 7,000. That's up about 1,000 from recent years, according to Cristy Garcia-Thomas, president of UPAF. She said the Ride for the Arts has generated about $325,000 each year for the United Performing Arts Fund.
Runners will get an opportunity to cross the Hoan, too, at the inaugural Summerfest Rock n' Sole on July 10. The half marathon and 10K courses will incorporate the bridge. As of June 9, registration had exceeded 5,000. No official cap was set on registration, which continues up to race day. The races will start and finish in the Henry G. Maier Festival Park.
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