John Tartaglio was at the front of the line at 9 a.m. Sunday for the 20-mile circuit of this year’s Folks on Spokes, the annual bike ride and walk to raise money for Bridges, the local mental health agency.

Tartaglio contracted a rare and serious infection at the age of 17 and both of his legs and a portion of one arm were amputated to save his life. He has since gone on to earn his bachelors and masters degrees, all the while competing in triathlons and marathons.

Tartaglio also is a motivational speaker, and he brought that motivational mindset to this morning’s ride.

He is taking part in the 20-mile ride on a hand cycle. He is slated to speak at the end of the ride, and Milford Mirror intern Julie Baumgart will be there to interview him.

The Folks on Spokes shirts this year are purple, in honor of Maren Sanchez, the Jonathan Law High School student stabbed to death at her school in April.

Bridges spokeswoman Marcy Hotchkiss said Bridges was involved in many of the counseling efforts that took place after the murder. So when it came time to choose the color of this year’s shirts, they chose purple, which was Maren’s favorite color.

“Purple is such a significant color in Milford this year,” Hotchkiss said.