CHICAGO – Dozens of law enforcement officers are on an emotional ride across the state this weekend.

It’s all part of the 2022 Cycle Across Illinois which supports families of officers killed in the line of duty.

The 18th annual event kicked off downstate in Alton on Thursday and will finish in Bridgeview on Sunday.

Kelly Kraeger, lost her brother, Illinois State Trooper Brian McMillen, in the line of duty in 2007, and is a volunteer with Cycle Across Illinois, and she spoke with WGN News Now about this weekend’s ride.

“We raise all this money to go towards our camps for people who have gone through losing a loved one from line of duty death,” said Kraeger.

There are about 30-40 active duty and retired officers participating in the event and Kraeger said the officers volunteer to be part of the ride.

Organizers try to stay off major highways when determining the route for the ride, instead choosing to stay on side roads and country roads and avoid construction. “We also try to do it in communities to honor the officers of the previous year that have passed away. Try to get as close to their communities as we can so that their loved ones can come and be a part of the readings that we do,” said Kraeger. ” And we do have a blue book that unfortunately gets bigger every year that we read out of the end of watch for each of those officers that were killed.”  

Kraeger added Cycle Across Illinois has posted a short itinerary on their Facebook page for anyone interested in greeting or cheering on the officers along their bike route.

Here’s a look at how many miles they’ll be racking up each day:

  • Day 1 – Thursday 7/14 – They traveled approximately 92 miles from Alton to Springfield
  • Day 2 – Friday 7/15 – They will travel approximately 100 miles from Springfield to Champaign/Urbana
  • Day 3 – Saturday 7/16 – They will travel approximately 95 miles from Champaign to Bourbonnais
  • Day 4 – Sunday 7/17 – They will travel approximately 60 miles from Bourbonnais to Bridgeview

On Sunday, the cyclists are expected to end their cross-state journey at the Bridgeview Courthouse at 10220 S. 76th Avenue around 1:30 p.m.

Kraeger expects families of fallen officers to be there when they arrive, and that the group will present the children with a giant board with patches from all the departments that have participated in the ride.

You can hear more about the ride in the video above.