Tim Johnson addresses the crowd at the end of the Ride on Washington. Cyclocross Magazine

Tim Johnson addresses the crowd at the end of the Ride on Washington. © Cyclocross Magazine

by Molly Hurford

Yesterday afternoon, 20 tired riders completed their 538 mile ride to Washington, DC, from Boston, Massachusetts, surrounded by over 100 other cyclists who joined in for the last 12 mile leg of the trip. Last Friday, riders left from Boston en route to Washington. The ride was the brainchild of six-time National Champion in cyclocross, Tim Johnson, and despite sunburns, flat tires, crashes, potholes and a serious lack of sleep for most of the riders, Johnson was able to keep riders’ spirits high, and they rolled in with smiles on their faces.

Johnson spent the ride speaking at receptions every night, explaining his reasons for starting the Ride on Washington, one of the biggest pushes for bike advocacy that this country sees during the year. Sponsored by Bikes Belong and many other bike-friendly companies, the group of 20 riders is currently riding from Boston to Washington, DC, with stops in Hartford, New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore along the way. Johnson speaks about how he began his career in cycling as a bike racer, but only recently, when he discovered cycling advocacy, did he being to feel like a real cyclist. Whether you’re strictly a cyclocross racer who only rides on the trails, or a part-time roadie who wants safer roads, bike advocacy is important for every kind of cyclist.

However, Johnson has a soft spot for cyclocross racers, understandably, and he thinks that the people who race cyclocross are the perfect people to be active in bike advocacy. “The cyclocross community can definitely help us with this because people in that community are generally really aware of what’s going on. They’re more active in what is happening in their idea of cycling. Everyone has a piece because cyclocross is just kind of a collective and I think they’ll realize they’re part of something bigger than this … Cyclocross is a type of cycling that can be plopped down anywhere: a schoolyard, an office campus, you can put a race anywhere. I think it’s easily shared, as opposed to a stage race or a crit that shuts down streets.”

Can’t get enough of the Ride on Washington? Check out how riders ate all week with Allen Lim and Biju Thomas as their chefs.