Leading the way on the first Pedal Pushers bike ride on Saturday were (from left) Lorena Rodriguez, Mary Lee Lockwood and Rose Zubik. (Photos by Dermot Connolly)

Leading the way on the first Pedal Pushers bike ride on Saturday were (from left) Lorena Rodriguez, Mary Lee Lockwood and Rose Zubik. (Photos by Dermot Connolly)

Palos Heights Pedal Pushers get it in gear

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The Pedal Pushers who took part in their first bike ride this year were (front row, from left) Lorena Rodriguez and Carolyn Nowakowski; and Rose Zubik (back row, from left)  Pam Stewart, Joan Meyers, Sue DeKoker, Carol Mineur and Mary Lee Lockwood.

By Dermot Connolly

The Pedal Pushers, a new bicycling group formed by the Palos Heights Woman’s Club, got into gear on Saturday, heading out on their first bike path ride around scenic Lake Arrowhead.

Joan Meyers, the activities chair of the PHWC’s health and wellness department, said the new group started in September with an “interest clipboard” passed around to members of the Woman’s Club at a meeting

“We had 19 people sign up that first day,” she said. “Today, we have 27 members.”

Meyers coordinated the first bike trail ride with Carol Mineur and Pam Stewart.

“We three were the planners, and the enthusiasm was catching,” said Meyers.

While just eight members of the group embarked on the “maiden ride,” that was likely due to weather warnings about temperatures being in the 90s on the first summer Saturday.

“That is why we did it in the morning. No one wants to ride in 90-degree weather but it really didn’t get that hot until later in the day,” said Meyers.

Creating the new bicycling club as part of the health and wellness department this year is doubly special, because the Palos Heights Woman’s Club, which belongs to the Washington-based General Federation of Women’s Clubs, is celebrating its 85th anniversary.

The women pointed out how many scenic bike trails through forest preserves are available within easy reach of Palos Heights.

“I am one of the beginners,” said Mineur., who decided to take up cycling again after many years. “A lot of people like the idea of bike riding, but like me, they don’t want to do it alone.” she added, citing safety and other concerns.

“But a lot of us live close together. So, this is a good opportunity to call around and see who wants to go for a ride,” said Mineur.

Rose Zubik, one of the more seasoned bicyclists, said she and her husband regularly go for rides of 10 miles or more on their e-bikes.

Taking a quick look at the odometer on the motorized bike, she said she has racked up 1,033 miles in the past year.

“That’s an incentive to all of us,” said Meyers.

At about 10 a.m. Saturday, the cyclists began gathering at the Arrowhead Bike Path entrance at 131st Street and Harlem Avenue, before warming up with a short rife to the banks of the lake itself, closer to 135th Street,

After circling the parking lot a few times, the women headed off on their scenic journey, which lasted about 30 minutes with a “blessing” from Meyers.

“Life is a beautiful ride. Enjoy it,” she said, citing the group’s motto.

This first ride was designed not to be too long, so the beginners wouldn’t be challenged too much. But plans are already in the works for many more in the coming weeks.

“Our group will be active with planned bike path rides and impromptu neighborhood rides throughout the summer and fall seasons,” said Meyer.

“It is fabulous. What a wonderful way to get our feet moving,” said member Carolyn Nowakowski.

The event culminated with a leisurely lunch back in Palos Heights, at Joe Daniel’s restaurant, at 12218 S. Harlem “There was a lot of bonding and good vibes for the future,” said Meyers after the get-together.

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The coordinators of the Pedal Pushers’ inaugural bike ride were (from left) Carol Mineur, Joan Meyers and Pam Stewart.

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