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Village of Lombard employees bond on bike path as part of new club

Published: Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 10:05 a.m. CST
Caption
Lombard village employees, including Bryan Bartels (left) and Anita Pacheco, take their first ride as members of the village employees bike club Sept. 4 on the Prairie Path. (Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)

LOMBARD – For residents, it’s hard to see the village of Lombard as anything other than a place to live. But for the people who plow the roads and recruit new businesses and catch the bad guys, the village also is an employer, and they, the town’s employees.

A growing trend today is people finding new ways to be health conscious in the work environment, and the employees at the village of Lombard are embracing that idea. A group of bicyclists have banded together to form a biking club specially organized for village employees.

About eight people met at Village Hall after business hours Sept . 4 for the club’s inaugural ride along the Prairie Path and Great Western Trail.

“The idea behind it was more of an an information thing,” said Anita Pacheco, a customer services specialist with the village. “It started because so many people come in here and say ‘Where can I go [to bike]?’ It’s to help people get informed and help people move. It’s nice to share ideas.”

Pacheco is one of the lead organizers of the group and said she’s a moderate-to-advanced bicyclist. There are so many people interested in bike riding at the village that she wanted to find a way for anyone interested to share resources.

Members of the group communicate in a forum set up through the village’s Intranet, a computer network that shares information within the organization. Here, people can discuss bike routes, share equipment tips or set up group rides.

“It’s another avenue for people to have access to information,” Pacheco said.

Bryan Bartels has served with the village’s Public Works Department for 25 years and is an avid mountain biker. He was at the group’s first ride and said it was well-received.

“Everyone enjoyed it,” Bartles said. “I talked to other [coworkers] to get them interested in other rides.”

Group members did various distances on the first ride through Lombard and Villa Park, and trustee Reid Foltyniewicz, District 3, estimated he did about 10 miles total.

Foltyniewicz said he bought a bike earlier this year and has been having fun riding around town with it. When he heard about the cycling group getting started by village employees, he wanted to be involved.

“I’ve been riding around a lot this year and am having a blast with it,” he said. “I just thought it would be a good way to get to know more people.”

Having an employee-only cycling group means that people from different departments can get to know each other. The club is a common ground for all village employees to connect.

“We have so many new people coming on board with the village,” Pacheco said. “It’s a great way to at least know your co-workers.”

She said the group has people with various cycling experience and skill levels, but it’s a place for all employees to exercise, socialize and share bicycling experience.

“It’s for all areas, even for someone who just wants to ride around the block,” she said. “But sometimes you get tired of just riding around the block.”

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