Barrington residents ride for the troops
Barrington resident Greg Dallstream is one of the founders of the Barrington Honor Ride and Run, which will take place Sept. 22 in downtown Barrington. | Michelle LaVigne~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 21, 2012 1:26PM
BARRINGTON — A year and a half ago, Greg Dallstream was biking with a friend in his hometown of Barrington when the two came up with an idea.
Dallstream recalled just having watched a news special featuring former President George W. Bush riding a bike with several wounded veterans along a road in Texas.
“It had a really profound effect on us,” said Dallstream. “We thought it would be fun to have a ride around here.”
Dallstream and his friend, Mike Tobin, contacted the village to set up the Barrington Honor Ride and Run. The second annual ride, which honors veterans and those currently fighting overseas, will be held Saturday, Sept. 22.
“Our idea was a couple dozen people going on a bike ride to raise a few thousand dollars,” said Dallstream of last year’s inaugural ride. “But it spread like wildfire through Barrington.”
Last year, Dallstream said, about 200 people participated in the ride. Numerous Barrington High School students volunteered at last year’s event, too.
“We definitely exceeded our expectations,” he said.
The ride is roughly 30 miles long and winds through Barrington Hills.
“It’s just beautiful riding out there,” he said. “But it’s a challenging ride.”
Proceeds from the Honor Ride and Run benefit California-based Ride 2 Recovery, an all volunteer nonprofit that helps veterans undergoing mental and physical rehabilitation by featuring cycling as a healing activity. Dallstream said Ride 2 Recovery designs custom bikes for amputees and other seriously wounded veterans.
“All the money goes directly to Ride 2 Recovery,” he said.
Dallstream said there are a lot of active and retired military personnel in Barrington as well as parents of deployed troops.
“It seemed like the community wanted an event like this,” he said, explaining that he and his friend got a committee together to handle community outreach last year.
This time around, he said, the committee has reached out to area health clubs, bike shops and the school district.
There is a group of about 15 veterans who are flying in from other areas for the event, he added.
“It’s one of those opportunities where you can ride alongside a guy who just got back from Afghanistan,” Dallstream said. “Their stories are so inspiring.”
One of Saturday’s participants will be Sal Guinta, who holds a Medal of Honor, the U.S. Armed Forces highest decoration.
While the event was originally just a bike ride, some of the committee members were triathletes, and suggested that adding a 5-kilometer run would make the event more inclusive.
The village of Barrington provides extra police and emergency personnel, and blocks off the necessary streets — all free of charge.
“The village has been very, very supportive,” he said.
Dallstream said the event will go off rain or shine.
The runs take off at 7:30 am. and the 29.5-mile bike ride begins with an opening ceremony at 8 a.m. before cyclists hit the road at 8:30 a.m.
After the ride, there will be a celebration in downtown Barrington featuring live music, food and children’s activities. The celebration tent will open around 10 a.m.
For more information, go to www.honorridebarrington.com.