Bicycle enthusiasts gather for Arlington Heights' Ride to the Parks

  • Juergen Juffa, chairman of the Arlington Heights Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, talks with fellow cyclists before the start of the community bike ride Saturday.

      Juergen Juffa, chairman of the Arlington Heights Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, talks with fellow cyclists before the start of the community bike ride Saturday. Barbara Vitello | Staff Photographer

  • About 30 cyclists participated in Saturday's community bike ride sponsored by the Village of Arlington Heights and the Arlington Heights Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.

      About 30 cyclists participated in Saturday's community bike ride sponsored by the Village of Arlington Heights and the Arlington Heights Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission. Barbara Vitello | Staff Photographer

  • Bikes belonging to the Bradley family of Arlington Heights await riders minutes before the start of the community bike ride Saturday at North School Park in Arlington Heights.

      Bikes belonging to the Bradley family of Arlington Heights await riders minutes before the start of the community bike ride Saturday at North School Park in Arlington Heights. Barbara Vitello | Staff Photographer

 
 

Overcast skies didn't deter the enthusiasts who gathered at North School Park in Arlington Heights Saturday for a "Ride to the Parks."

Sponsored by the village and the Arlington Heights Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, with assistance from the police department's bike patrol, the community bike ride was established about five years ago to promote cycling and demonstrate the village's accessibility for cyclists, said Juergen Juffa, chairman of the advisory commission.

"There are a lot of parks in Arlington Heights and most of them are easy to get to," said Juffa of the event, which attracted about 30 people including families with young children, teens and adults.

Besides health and environmental benefits, "biking builds community fabric," Juffa said.

Des Plaines resident Gail Kaczynski agrees.

"It brings communities together and it doesn't matter how old or young you are," said Kaczynski, who attended with her husband Rich, an avid cyclist.

Participants could choose between a 4- or 13-mile ride.

Kevin Bradley, his wife Heidi and their kids Audrey, 6½, and Charlie, 5, chose the shorter ride.

Kevin Bradley described the family as casual bicyclists who ride once or twice a week.

"We like to be fit and exercise," he said. "We saw this as an opportunity to encourage that."

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Also on hand for Saturday's event was Phil Sandler, owner of Velofix, a mobile bike repair service. Sandler provided brake and seat adjustments, tire inflation and other services, which he says are the most common issues on rides like this one.

The most important task is to ensure the bike fits the rider, Sandler said.

"Comfort is key," he said.

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