Jason Bohm has been sitting on the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court bench in Champaign County on weekdays, and riding the circuit he serves on his trusty bicycle on the weekends.
Longing for outdoor activity after most festivals and celebrations were cancelled, he decided to spend four Saturdays riding the circuit, just like Abraham Lincoln used to do with horsepower when he served Central Illinois as a circuit riding attorney.
“He traveled by horseback through all the counties to be a lawyer, so we just decided to put it together, and ride it by bike,” said Bohm, who is up for election this November.
He finished his fourth and final ride on Sept. 19, riding a rural loop through Champaign. The pror week it was Macon County’s turn, and the two weeks before that Bohm rode from courthouses between Clinton and Monticello (Sept. 5), and Sullivan and Tuscola (Aug. 29).
All in all he rode about 130 miles.
“The first ride was far more moving than I anticipated,” he said. “You’re riding past homes and I thought, ‘I have the pleasure of serving these folks’. I was pretty moved by it.”
It’s also allowed him to see the differences throughout the district, from gentle hills and plains to varying homesteads.
“It’s been pretty cool,” he said.
He and his wife Caroline usually ride together, but for safety’s sake she has been riding behind in a truck with flashers on to keep her husband safe.
That safety measure has come in handy.
“The three miles on Route 10 might have been the most harried. There was a truck that passed us with oncoming traffic. We had to pull onto the shoulder,” said Bohm. “I was thrilled to turn onto Lane Road.”
He lives north of Mahomet, and found out quickly that Route 47 is also not worth the stress.
“I did that once. I vowed never to again,” said the circuit judge, saying he and Caroline have two or three regular routes that help them put in 30 to 50 miles on their bicycles weekly.
He also wears a helmet and has flashers on his bike in order to stay safe.
“This has been a really great way to get out and see the counties and enjoy them,” said Bohm. “It is a great way to get out.”
Bohm was appointed to the Circuit Court Judge in February of 2018, replacing the retired Michael Q. Jones. He is on the Republican ballot in all six counties of the circuit, running against Democratic candidate Scott A. Lerner.