Bikers pedal through Joliet in fight against child sex abuse
BY BRIAN STANLEY email@example.com October 17, 2013 2:40PM
Updated: November 19, 2013 6:25AM
JOLIET — The second day of a six-day bike ride for a cause didn’t start off easy.
A steady drizzle Thursday morning near the Will County Courthouse left only a few supporters to cheer the riders who are raising funds to “Stop the Cycle of Abuse.”
Fifteen riders were headed from Joliet to downstate Pontiac during the second stage of the journey from Hoffman Estates to St. Louis. Participants are raising funds to fight child sexual abuse by supporting programs and services provided by the state’s 39 children’s advocacy centers, including the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center.
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois Associate Director of Development Tony Holly said nearly $56,000 had been raised in the first two days. The total stood at $56,400 as of 5:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the organization’s website.
About 20 riders came from Hoffman Estates to Joliet on Wednesday afternoon and were treated to a free meal at the Chicago Street Pub. Nine of those riders were also riding to Pontiac on Thursday.
Will County staffers were among those who joined for the second day. State’s Attorney’s office spokesman Charles B. Pelkie and Gloria Martinez, a staff auditor in the county auditor’s office, spent the minutes before the start trying to find the best combination of riding gear and rain gear.
“Gloria lives west of Essington Road but bikes to the (downtown) office every day,” Auditor Duffy Blackburn said.
Pelkie, who ran in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, helped select the route for Thursday’s ride.
“We’ll mostly follow Route 53 to Old Route 66. There’s too many turns in other routes,” he said.
Before the riders mounted up, Joliet Police Sgt. Larry Collins explained that different police departments would be escorting them throughout the day.
“We start off here with rain, a lot of construction and a lot of truck traffic. You get it all right away,” Collins said.
Joliet police blocked Ottawa Street as Will County Executive Larry Walsh used an air horn to start the ride.
“I guess you might not hear me otherwise,” Walsh said, bringing chuckles from the local riders.
The air horn brought honks of support from the horns of nearby cars as the riders headed south. Their first rest stop was expected to be at the Gemini Giant, a landmark statue along Route 66 in Wilmington.
Those who want to sponsor the ride still can donate by visiting www.stopthecycle.net.