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From 9 to 90, Oak Lawn tour draws variety of bike pedalers

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There’s no slowing down Eleanor Litto, whose next birthday will be her 90th.

With her helmet snuggly on her head and wearing a neon green T-shirt, Litto climbed on her bike and pedaled in the second annual Oak Lawn Bicycle Tour.

She joined 172 other bicyclists who toured Oak Lawn on the north side of 95th Street, between 49th and Oak Park avenues, on a muggy, overcast and dry June 22.

The route was different from last year, and again tried to avoid car-clogged roads. The group had a police motorcycle escort.

Litto, of Oak Lawn, rides her bike about five miles every week. She is active for her age — playing ping-pong and tennis — and didn’t mind the humid conditions one bit.

“I got this bike a few years ago. We bought it at the Beverly bike store over on Western (Avenue). I ride a few times a week,” said Litto, who has 30 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

She was riding with daughter Chris Eul, also of Oak Lawn.

Litto said the ride “was my daughter’s idea.” Not so, countered Eul, who insisted “it was Mom’s idea, and I registered us.”

Either way, the two were having a good time.

“She’s very active. She’s got two bikes and won’t let anyone ride her bikes,” said Eul, 64, who wishes Oak Lawn had more bike lanes on its roads.

One of the bike tour’s organizers, Deanna Skeels of the Bike Psychos Cycling Club, said the goal was twofold: To offer people a different look at Oak Lawn than one seen from a car, and “to increase awareness” about the environmentally friendly practice of riding bikes.

The Oak lawn Green Team, an environmental group, promoted the bicycle tour.

Christina Siwa, 25, of Oak Lawn, had fun riding last year and had little trouble convincing boyfriend John O’Rourke, 30, of Crest Hill, to join her this year.

“Lord knows I need it,” O’Rourke said with a smile when asked about sneaking in a little exercise on the roughly 10-mile trek.

Siwa said she enjoyed seeing historical sites in the village last year. She was disappointed this year’s map didn’t includes a list of sites to see. Nonetheless, she was eager to participate.

“I liked it last year. I love riding. It’s good exercise, and it’s fun,” Siwa said.

O’Rourke said bicycling “is easier than running,” adding that he and Siwa often take their bikes downtown on Sunday mornings and ride along Lake Michigan.

“We start at North Avenue, ride down to Soldier Field and stop for lunch at Navy Pier on the way back,” he said.

Lunch wasn’t in the plan for Carol Sheahan, 42, and daughter Molly, 9. They were content to just ride their bikes, leaving Molly’s two younger sisters home with Dad. Molly made sure she and Mom were at the front when riders started from the Oak Lawn Patriot Station, 9525 S. Tulley Ave.

“I like being outside. I ride a lot, but my tires were out of air so we just filled them up,” Molly said atop her purple bike.

Molly, by the way, is pedaling in the right direction when it comes to the environment, her mother noted. Molly is the youngest member of the Oak Lawn Green Team, Carol said, and takes great pride in recycling.



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