Cycling in spotlight as weather warms

Temperatures rose just in time to warmup cyclists who participated in pedaling events in Monticello last week.

On May 1, Monticello Middle School instructor Bryan Hartman challenged staff and students to ride their bikes to school.

For him that meant a 17-mile trek from his Mahomet home, battling winds of up to 20 miles per hour on his way in.

“On the way to work it took an hour and five minutes, and on the way back just 45 minutes,” said Hartman, who enjoys fitness and wanted to encourage others to take advantage of the warm weather. About 42 took him up on it as a celebration of National Ride Your Bike to Work or School Day, each donating $1, which he in turn gave to Allerton Park.

“I’m the (middle school) cross country coach, I love walking, running, biking, swimming, just encouraging kids to get exercise in different ways. I’m the guy who parks at the end of the parking lot to get 200 extra steps in,” said the math and computer science teacher.

He gave away reflective tape to students to make their future rides safer. Hartman also encouraged the wearing of helmets.

“I always wear a helmet. I rode to County Market the other day for lunch and wore my helmet,” he said.

An Indiana native who has bicycled since his freshman year of college – 16 years ago – Hartman noted the rural roads in central Illinois are a step above the area where he grew up.

“The roads in Champaign and Piatt County are incredible compared to west central Indiana (near Evansville). It’s quiet in the countryside, the roads are in good shape, and people in town drive carefully around bikes.”

National ride

stops in Monticello

A pack of 25 law enforcement riders are pedaling 1,200 miles through 12 states after taking off from St. Louis, Missouri, traveling through central Illinois and on out to Washington, D.C. when they will arrive on May 12 for the state of National Police Week.

Also joining the Law Enforcement United’s (LEU) Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) are family members of officers who died in the line of duty.

The group was fed lunch at a rest stop at the Piatt County Sheriff’s Public Safety Building on Wednesday, May 2.

“We are humbled by the dedication of the Long Ride team, especially since not only are they each raising $1,500 to help run a summer camp for the children of fallen law enforcement, but they are paying their way from St. Louis to Virginia,” said Wallace Chadwick, the national president of LEU.

“These LEU riders average 115 miles each day on their 11-day journal and host over three dozen memorial services at various sheriff and police departments on their route to honor those officers who died in the line of duty,” he added.

Law Enforcement United also partners with Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) and their state chapters. Several members of the Long Ride team are dual members, such as Brian Jeska, an officer from Minnesota whose father Louis died in the lien of duty in August of 1993.

“While pedaling we hit some tough stretches, and that is when I think of my dad and all the other officers,” said Jeska.

“It doesn’t flatten the hills, but it does give me the motivation to continue,” he added.

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