Ride the Drive was started by former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz as a way to promote biking in Madison. The event closes major roads around downtown to motorized vehicles so people can enjoy them on bike or foot. It was so popular - drawing more than 20,000 people - that it became a twice-a-year happening.
But the ride isn't popular among merchants downtown and on the east side, who complain that it causes business to plummet.
The event will take place as planned this Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. But Mayor Paul Soglin has canceled a second Ride the Drive, scheduled for Sept. 25, due to those concerns.
"Ride the Drive has hurt downtown and east-side businesses for a number of years," he says. "I was surprised as to the impact on downtown businesses, particularly the locally owned ones."
Soglin says there's a "better than 50-50 chance" Ride the Drive will continue once a year in the downtown area, with some route adjustments to improve access to shops. And some other Madison neighborhoods have expressed interest in hosting the second ride.
"This would be a good way for people to learn about other neighborhoods," says Soglin, adding, "we won't be able to do it this year."