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updated: 4/16/2014 12:09 PM

Arlington Heights planning community bike ride

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Arlington Heights is planning its first community bike ride through the village's streets and bike paths this summer.

The ride, tentatively scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 14, will include a 12-mile route and a shorter, 2-mile or 3-mile route for families with small children, said Alan Medsker, chair of the village's bicycle and pedestrian commission.

"The idea is to give people a chance to go on not too long of a bike ride but get more familiar with some of the routes in town," he said. "We want to highlight the fact that we have a great community for biking."

While the exact route is still being finalized, Medsker said the ride likely will leave from Recreation Park and end in Harmony Park, with some post-race activities near the downtown.

Medsker said the commission also is working with small businesses and hoping to have some giveaways on the day of the ride.

Residents don't have to sign up for the free ride but can just show up on the day of the event, Medsker said.

Officials said they are hoping to get at least 100 riders participating.

"There's a lot of people who don't realize how easy it is to get around on bike and by default they take their car when they need to go somewhere," Medsker said. "Maybe this will help them be a little more comfortable and knowledgeable about how to use their bike instead."

Medsker said the commission has thrown around the idea of a community bike ride for several years, but fellow commissioner Peter Szabo took the lead this year planning the event.

Members of Cycle Arlington, a local cycling club, also are helping plan the event and may lead the ride through town.

The village budgeted an additional $1,500 for the bicycle and pedestrian committee in the fiscal year 2014-15 budget, which begins May 1, because of the ride.

Medsker said the money will go toward signage and tents at the start and end of the race.

No roads are planned to be closed during the ride, as any street participants will be riding on are already designated as bike-friendly roads. Medsker said the ride will mainly take place on neighborhood streets.

"It's not a race, just an easygoing ride to have some fun," Medsker said.

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