WEST ENGLEWOOD — Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th) will lead a bike tour this month through West Englewood in hopes of showing participants a more positive side of the neighborhood.
"With so much negative stuff said about Englewood, I want to show people the good places that get overlooked," Foulkes said. "Everything about Englewood is not bad. There are plenty of good things happening in my ward. And besides, bike-riding is good exercise."
The tour will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 22. It will start and finish at the Bread of Life Missionary Baptist Church, 1924 W. 63rd St.
Chicago Police Officer Charles O'Connor said a police escort would be provided for the tour from the 7th District police station.
An exact bike route is still being finalized, but Veronica Goodman, a spokeswoman for Foulkes, said the tour would take riders to a fire station, park, library and recently built homes.
Those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, and there will be rest areas along the route where riders will receive bottled water and get a chance to use the bathroom.
"There will be a continental breakfast and lunch afterward served at the church," Goodman said.
Goodman said participants do not need to be Englewood residents.
"This is a free event, and it is open to anyone as long as long as they have their own bike," Foulkes said.
Mario Lewis, 39, lives in Roseland but is interested in participating to learn more about Englewood, where his 4-year-old son lives with his mom.
"Maybe I will go just to see the 'good parts' of Englewood," Lewis said. "From what I know, there are no good parts, but I could be wrong."
John Paul Jones, president of Sustainable Englewood Initiative, a local nonprofit, said a bike tour of Englewood each month during the summer would really help change the way people think about the South Side community.
"Englewood is rarely judged by its merits but rather by its downfalls. People read the papers and see the TV news bashing Englewood and think it is a bad place to live, work or visit," Jones said. "But actually there are a lot of good things about Englewood you really wouldn't know unless you come here."
"A local, sit-down restaurant with good food prepared by culinary students. That's Sikia," Jones said.