By Wendell Hutson
A Kenwood Academy High School alumnus organized a bike ride this weekend for married couples as a way to promote strong marriage bonds, healthy living, shared impactful parenting strategies, and to create national networking opportunities.
Love On The Lake is a social group and was founded earlier this year by Jacquleen Crittle, a former Hyde Park resident, who is also an entrepreneur and author. As an executive at a healthcare company by day Crittle, 49, also serves as the executive director of the nonprofit Midwest College Project, she founded in 2013, and this year released her first book “Raising a Winner” available online at Amazon.
Crittle said so far 60 couples are set to participate in the 14-mile bike hike at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 30 and the group will start at the 63rd Street Beach and end at Museum Campus in the South Loop before returning to the starting point.
Married couple Ted and Felicia Gilmore co-host the bike event with Crittle and her husband Andre.
Those who participate in the Love on the Lake bike ride will wear a yellow and black cyclist vest designed by Kenwood Academy student Tyrese Jones.
“I love showcasing talent by youths,” said Crittle. “It’s important that people see the wonderful things our youth are doing and the potential they possess.”
Bikes are being provided for riders by Kozy’s Cyclery in Bronzeville, GoodSpeed Cycles in south suburban Homewood and Ancien Cycles & Café in Hyde Park.
The event, which Crittle said will be held annually, is sponsored by the Chicago Football Classic, Barbershop Network News and the Litehouse Whole Food Grill restaurant, 1660 E. 55th St. Nurses will also ride along to treat anyone for injuries and Ancien Cycles & Cafe will assist riders needing last minute bicycle repairs.
“I’ve been blessed with a great marriage, but even more valuable has been the numerous wonderful married couples that have served as friends along our journey,” said Crittle, who has been married to her husband Andre for 23 years. “It is for this reason that I decided to create a larger circle of married couple activities that will help us continue to foster strong marriage bonds.”
And having a strong marriage bond is the foundation of great parenting, added Crittle, a mother of two adult daughters.
“My daughters are in college so we are almost ‘100 percent’ empty nesters,” Crittle jokingly said. “Once that happens my husband and I are thinking about moving back to Hyde Park from the suburbs. I miss living in Hyde Park.”
The divorce rate among black couples is on the rise and Crittle said she started the Love On The Lake group as a way to address that issue.
“I want to promote black love with this group and expand it to other cities like New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta,” she said. “My goal is to have four events (one per quarter) a year for married couples. And while the group is open to all married couples, my focus is black couples because we face many difficulties in marriage.”
Other events Crittle said she is working on for the group includes a cruise, retreat and a skate party.
The social group will launch its website Loveonthelake.org July 1, 2018 so couples interested in joining the group can sign up. In the meantime, Crittle said interested couples can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive more information.