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Annual Wright Ride Offers Leisurely Tour Through Western Suburbs

All ages and skill levels welcome at the Oak Park Cycle Club's event.

This leisurely Sunday morning biking event is definitely a labor of love.

The Oak Park Cycle Club’s annual fundraiser, Wright Ride, takes nearly a year of preparation and there have been years the nonprofit group has actually lost money.

Yet the number of participants has grown over the years, and the seventh annual event kicks off at 6:30 a.m. Sunday in downtown Oak Park at the corner of Marion and Westgate streets.

An older version of the club, which has had various incarnations over the years, used to put on an invitational ride in DuPage County, but the group went defunct around 1999.

Gail Moran, OPCC’s vice president, gathered with a small group of cycling enthusiasts at the who wanted to get the group going again, and OPCC was formally reincorporated in 2003. In the second year of the new club, the group developed the idea for the Wright Ride.

The route they worked out then is pretty much the same route today, with just a few minor tweaks. The first year about 290 people took part in the Wright Ride, and last year the number grew to 435.

“I’m guessing if we have good weather we’ll have that many this year too, if not more,” Moran said. “We hope for a nice sunny or partly cloudy day without lightning.”

The ride features four distances: 18 miles, 30 miles, 50 miles and 62 miles. All routes tour through the Frank Lloyd Wright District.

“You can start as early as 6:30 in the morning,” she said. “If you’re going to do the longer routes we ask that you get on the route by 8 a.m.”

For the shorter distance routes, the group recommends beginning by 9 a.m. There will be cookies, bagels, nuts, fruit, Gatorade and coffee for the riders.

Volunteers will be located along the route to help riders who break down or to assist at tricky intersections.

The group meets every third Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at at 7652 Madison St. in Forest Park. Training rides are on Mondays, while more leisurely rides take place on Wednesdays.

“It’s really a recreational club, I think when we bore the idea of the ride it was really so that we could provide an exercise opportunity starting in an urban environment so that people wouldn’t have to drive to get to it,” Moran said. "Most of the cycle clubs have [their events] out west in rural farming areas.”

The cost for the Wright Ride is $20 for adults, and children 12 and under are free. Registration closes Saturday at 5 p.m.

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