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Cycling in support of adults with intellectual disabilities

Now that it is April, it is almost that time for warmer weather in Chicago, which means that I can get in more rides around the city. Today, I believe the temperature was just short of 40 degrees out, but whatever it was it did not stop me from taking my ‘Giant TCR Composite 1’ out around East Garfield Park. I pulled out and put on two layers to keep my body and arms warm along with my neck gaiter to keep excessive wind from entering my lungs. Prior to grabbing my bike, I switched my most recent charity from ‘Team for Kids’ to ‘Achilles International’, which supports athletes with disabilities. I have supported this charity heavily in the past because I work with adults with intellectual disabilities as a Direct Support Professional and love them dearly.

The mission of Achilles International is to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream running events to promote personal achievement. What I love about my charity mileage is that it is converted into cash, which supports this charity. It’s a beautiful feeling when you can support a cause while getting a good workout in, plus taking in the beauty of a city like Chicago.

I would have loved to have taken my bike out downtown, but did not have time to because of work, so instead I did loops around beautiful Garfield Park, which I have shared a picture of the Garfield Park field house. Beautiful, huh? As for my ride I cranked out over 4 laps along the inner park bike lane, which felt good. While hitting that 2nd lap, I felt the burn in my legs because I have not been out on my bike on a regular due to cold weather. I ended this ride just short of 5 miles, but prior to ending it all I could think of is future rides around this park. Once it heats up, I would like to crank out 10 laps in the future, which would put me at roughly 10 miles or just short of it.


What do you think?

16 Points

Written by Thomas Gouard

Im a military veteran; a full-time college student, and a fitness addict. Fueled by inspiration; God's word; endorphins and laughter!


  1. My wife taught kids like this back in the 1970s. She really enjoyed working with them.

    One of these days I’m going to have to go to the Garfield Park Conservatory. I’ve lived in this city for over 50 years and have never seen it.

  2. Its a wonderful thing to do. I have worked with children with disabilities and also those intellectually handicapped.
    These people get a very rough ride in life and its great people like you will ride a bike to help them.