Naperville nonprofit begins biking toward heroin recovery

  • Pedal4Life founder and President Ira David Levy leads a group of recovering heroin addicts from Banyan Treatment Center in Naperville on the first ride of the new nonprofit's Pathway to Home program. The program brings the physical, social and transportation benefits of biking to addicts through weekly rides and free cycles and safety gear.

    Pedal4Life founder and President Ira David Levy leads a group of recovering heroin addicts from Banyan Treatment Center in Naperville on the first ride of the new nonprofit's Pathway to Home program. The program brings the physical, social and transportation benefits of biking to addicts through weekly rides and free cycles and safety gear. Courtesy of Pedal4Life

  • Pedal4Life founder and President Ira David Levy, right, takes a break with patients of Banyan Treatment Center in Naperville, which helps recovering heroin users, during the first ride of its new Pathway to Home program. The program gives a bike and safety gear to recovering heroin addicts once they complete a six-week program involving weekly bike rides.

    Pedal4Life founder and President Ira David Levy, right, takes a break with patients of Banyan Treatment Center in Naperville, which helps recovering heroin users, during the first ride of its new Pathway to Home program. The program gives a bike and safety gear to recovering heroin addicts once they complete a six-week program involving weekly bike rides. Courtesy of Pedal4Life

  • Ira David Levy, founder and president of a new nonprofit organization called Pedal4Life, discusses the way his program aims to give recovering heroin addicts the physical, social and transportation benefits of cycling through weekly rides and free bikes. The program got started July 1 in Naperville with clients of Banyan Treatment Center.

    Ira David Levy, founder and president of a new nonprofit organization called Pedal4Life, discusses the way his program aims to give recovering heroin addicts the physical, social and transportation benefits of cycling through weekly rides and free bikes. The program got started July 1 in Naperville with clients of Banyan Treatment Center. Courtesy of Pedal4Life

 
 

A new nonprofit organization that aims to help heroin users stay on the path to recovery through biking began hosting its first weekly rides this month in Naperville.

Pedal4Life has been taking eight clients of Banyan Treatment Center in Naperville on weekly, 10-mile bike rides since July 1, aiming to help them experience the physical and social benefits of cycling as part of a program called Pathway to Home.

The program launched after Pedal4Life's first Hero In Me bike ride May 21 in Naperville, which raised more than $7,000, spokesman Matt McCarthy said.

The group used the proceeds to buy eight bicycles and eight sets of safety gear such as bright vests, helmets and locks to outfit the first group of recovering addicts who are participating in the program. Participants will receive the bikes and gear to keep after they complete the six-week program, giving them a new means of transportation, too.

McCarthy said Pedal4Life hopes to begin partnering with more treatment centers soon to launch biking programs in other locations.

To raise money to buy more bikes, Pedal4Life is participating in the Macy's Shop for a Cause Charity Challenge.

Until Saturday, Aug. 9, Pedal4Life will compete with other nonprofit organizations to raise the most money, with the top-raising group earning a $100,000 donation from Macy's. Subsequent top fundraisers also will receive smaller donations of $50,000 for second place, $25,000 for third place, $15,000 for fourth place and $10,000 for fifth place. Donors, in turn, receive savings passes to Macy's for use during the Shop For A Cause event Aug. 10 to 13.

Donors can contribute at crowdrise.com/pedal4life.

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