The group began their bicycle journey through the state of
Illinois on Thursday with an opening ceremony that included dipping
the back wheels of their bikes in the Mississippi River.
They spend the night in Springfield, Thursday, then on Friday
morning resumed their 350 plus mile ride to Chicago. This year, due
to the closure of Lincolnís business loop 55, the group had to make
a slight detour in order to get to Lincoln. According to Lincoln
Police Officer Maurice Johnson, a rider within the group, the bikers
went off the traditional trail in Broadwell. Johnson said they left
Route 66 in Broadwell and took a blacktop road to Primm Road. From
Primm Road, they traveled on Railer Way, Wyatt, South Kickapoo, and
Broadway Streets to arrive at the Safety Complex.
As the bikers came through Lincoln, they were greeted in a number of
ways. On Prim Road, vehicles pulled over and stopped in respect for
the officer. From a distance, one could hear people yelling and
cheering out their windows, and the bikers were more than happy to
give a holler back along with a happy smile and wave.
When the group reached Wyatt Avenue, they found children of
Christian Child Care had gathered on the front lawn. The kids
watched the bikers ride by, offering waves and smiles to each one.
At Scully Park, a group of youngster proudly held an American flag
up along with a poster acknowledging the COPS organization. When
they arrived at the Safety Complex, there were several folks waiting
for them there as well.
At the complex, the Lincoln Police Department, under the supervision
of Brenda McCabe, had set up coolers of ice water for refilling
drink bottles, and an array of snacks. In the Blue Room of the
complex, there was also an offering of drinks, fresh fruit, and, of
course, some air conditioning.
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This year, the group has had pleasant weather for their ride.
Johnson, known best as 'Officer Mo' in Lincoln, recalled that
last year it was a much tougher ride because it was a very hot
The ICOPS organization conducts their annual ride to
raise awareness for the surviving families of fallen officers. The
group devotes their time to those survivors in a variety of ways,
including sending representatives to survivor families when an
officer is killed. Through their efforts, they assist grieving
families in coping with the loss of their loved one and dealing with
the challenges that come specifically with being the family of an
officer killed in the line of duty.
After they had enjoyed the break, the group headed back out on the
road. They left town via Kickapoo Street and traveled on to Atlanta
on Friday afternoon and stopped for the night in Bloomington.
The group will continue their ride, leaving this morning from
Bloomington stopping just outside Chicago tonight. On Sunday, they
will arrive in Chicago and will attend a variety of special events
held by similar organizations in that town. Their trip will
officially end with a ceremonial dip of their front tires into Lake
[By NILA SMITH]