The Naperville nonprofit established recently to support the fight against pediatric cancers, Bike Bald, has announced its schedule of upcoming group rides. Cyclists just sign up and show up to take part, and are encouraged to proffer donations online in support of kids battling cancer.
Bike Bald founder Debbie Mossburg said cycling was selected as the best way to focus the local grassroots effort to counter the deadly disease and the particularly cruel toll it exacts among children.
“It’s the kind of activity that brings everyone together,” said Mossburg, a Naperville mom and wife who has prevailed in three of her own cancer bouts.
Described as a blend of family outings and adults-only excursions, the seasonal lineup kicks off with a grownups’ ride set for Sunday to Lombard’s Lilac Festival. Participants will meet at 8:30 a.m. at the skate park area of Centennial Beach, 500 W. Jackson Ave., Naperville. At about 23 miles round-trip, the route is too far for small children to pedal on their own, but they are welcome to ride in tow-along carts or bikes.
The ride will follow the bike trail leading to the Illinois Prairie Path, proceeding to the festival. The event features 8 1/2 acres of lilacs at peak bloom, some 700 aromatic bushes, as well as more than 25,000 tulips in a rainbow of hues.
Riders — who will stop briefly on the return leg for a snack and drink and a quick browse of the merchandise at Midwest Cyclery in downtown Wheaton — are urged to bring cameras. A contest at the end of the ride season will name the best “on-ride” photo.
The next event on Bike Bald’s ride calendar will be a family ride dubbed Pizza Delivery North. Billed as a birthday celebration, the May 25 ride will commemorate Mossburg’s birthday and the 30th anniversary of the manufacture of Neptune. The retired pumper, which took part in the World Trade Center response on Sept. 11, 2001, was donated earlier this month to Bike Bald, which in turn presented the fire truck to the Naperville community.
The pizza-centric ride will head from Centennial Beach to Al’s Pizza in Warrenville, leaving at 1:30 p.m. on May 25. The ride to Al’s and back is about 7 miles, and Neptune will be there. Riders can purchase slices when they arrive, or order whole pies in advance.
On June 8, a partnership with Metra is making space for up to 30 Bike Bald bikes on the Burlington Northern train leaving at 8:33 a.m. from the commuter station east of Washington Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues. Riders will meet at the station at 8 a.m. to purchase tickets at the discounted weekend rate. Once downtown, they will be assisted by volunteers with off loading bikes and crossing streets. After sharing breakfast and a ride along the lakefront, the group will catch the 2:40 p.m. train back to Naperville.
The three events and a dozen other rides are in the plans for Bike Bald this season. Advance registration is strongly encouraged for all of the rides, to streamline the process. Visit www.bikebald.com for more details or to donate.