August 05, 2021
Local News


Bicyclists dedicate ride to injured friend

Although members of the Fox Valley Bicycle and Ski Club can't visit their friend Ralph King as he recovers in a Park Ridge hospital from serious injuries he suffered in a crash last week, they wanted to show support for the avid bicyclist and his family.

So when Batavia resident Tony Pacione met five other bicyclists Saturday in Campton Hills for a 43-mile bike ride that took them to Hampshire, he suggested to ride leader Dave Struck that they dedicate the ride to King.

"That was a ride Ralph would have loved," said Geneva resident Beth Greenlee, who often rides with King.

The 60-year-old St. Charles resident has been hospitalized since Wednesday. He was hit that morning by a pickup truck when a driver was making a left turn at Walnut Hill Avenue and Division Street along St. Charles' southern border.

King was on his bicycle at the time, which didn't surprise Greenlee. She said he got a new bicycle for Christmas and wanted to ride it every day this year. With the wind that day, she said, he likely was planning to ride on a bike path, where the ride would be more sheltered.

"He's so passionate about bike riding, especially on open country roads," Greenlee said.

She and Pacione met King last year. He told them he recently retired from teaching high school in Lisle and was excited about taking up bicycling again, they said.

Pacione said he has ridden with King a few times, while Greenlee said she and King planned this year to ride every day possible here and at least twice a week in Rockford, where they are members of another bike club.

"Once you're his friend, he would do anything for you," Greenlee said. Referencing a recent bike accident of her own, she added, "He was by my side in the emergency room after my accident. He wasn't even there when the accident happened."

Greenlee said she talks to King's wife daily and sends emails to fellow club members about King's condition. King remains in the intensive care unit at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Greenlee said, noting that everyone is encouraged by the progress he's making.

Greenlee said she hopes King's crash raises awareness about how important it is for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike to be alert when using the roads.

"We're all responsible to be safe out there," she said.