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Ride with the North Branch Trail Alliance on June 24

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Do you support trails and economic development? If you answered yes, then join the North Branch Trail Alliance at 11 a.m. on June 24 for its inaugural ride.

The group will meet on the North Branch Trail at Forest Glen Woods (5400 N. Forest Glen Avenue).

This event is open to cyclists of all skill and experience levels. Participants will have the option to ride with the group for the duration of the ride or choose their own adventures as they enjoy local businesses.

Riders will take the new North Branch extension to Bunker Hill and Caldwell Woods and finish in Niles. This route includes stops at businesses and cultural sites along the way. Business sponsors will have special promotions for participants who share their experiences through social media.

NBTA is a diverse group of trail and bicycle advocates on Chicago's Northwest Side. Convened last year by Jac Charlier, the alliance promotes cultural and commercial life along the North Branch Trail.

With the second part of the North Branch extension set to open August 12, the goal is to show the value of a business location close to a trail, Charlier said.

We'd like for bike paths and trails to be viewed as essential elements of how local communities do economic development, he said.

When Justin Ochonicki, an avid bike commuter joined NBTA, it was his first foray into civic affairs. He joined because he saw the potential for bicyclists to strengthen business districts and other communities surrounding the trail.

We're excited to support the work of NBTA as it aligns with our mission. Trails promote economic development, improve public health and protect the environment. It's energizing to think about how trails can promote cultural assets.

Building a broad coalition of partners along the river is also an important part of the Chicago River Trail campaign. These partnerships will inform our advocacy work and ensure projects like the Weber Spur move forward.

To register or volunteer for NBTA's inaugural ride, or for more information about NBTA, please email northbranchtrailalliance@gmail.com

To sign up for Chicago River Trail campaign updates, click here.