By Bob Uphues
The Wounded Warrior Project, a group that aims to heighten the awareness of the general public about wounded veterans and their needs, will be visiting the west suburbs on Thursday, June 25 with its Soldier Ride.
Soldier Ride is a cycling event that, according to the group's website, allows "wounded service members and veterans to use cycling and the bonds of service to overcome physical, mental, or emotional wounds."
As of Wednesday morning, about 70 veterans were signed up to participate in the roughly 13-mile ride, which begins in River Forest and then winds its way through Oak Park, Forest Park, North Riverside and Brookfield, ending at Brookfield Zoo.
The veterans will have a police escort as the cycle through the villages on a variety of bikes and custom-made cycles, such as hand cycles and trikes, to accommodate the wounded veterans.
While the cyclists will be met with some fanfare by area first responders, the group is also encouraging people to line the cycle route to cheer on the veterans as the ride by.
The ride begins at 9:30 a.m. at 7900 W. Madison St. in River Forest and participants will take the following route:
- West on Madison Street to Thatcher Avenue
- North on Thatcher Avenue to Division Street
- East on Division Street to Oak Park Avenue
- South on Oak Park Avenue to Chicago Avenue
- West on Chicago Avenue to Lathrop Avenue
- South on Lathrop Avenue to Washington/Randolph
- East on Randolph to Desplaines Avenue
- South on Desplaines Avenue to 31st Street
- West on 31st Street to Maple Avenue
- South on Maple Avenue to Washington Avenue
- East on Washington Avenue to Golf Road
- North on Golf Road to Brookfield Zoo
The cyclists will then ride through the South Gate and through Brookfield Zoo to the north parking lot where the ride ends.