Cyclists descended on City Hall Plaza on Friday morning as part of the fourth annual Bike to Work Day in Springfield.
An estimated 75 to 100 cyclists attended the annual event designed to promote cycling as a mode of transportation, despite the storms early in the morning, Deputy City Manager Bryan Heck said.
“Given the weather, we were excited we had that many people still come downtown,” Heck said. “I think a lot of people were probably deterred by the weather, especially since there was some thunder and lightning.”
The event was paid for through private entities, including Ohio Valley Surgical Hospital, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, Clark Schaefer and Hackett, and MacRay Co. Tropical Smoothie also provided free breakfast, while coffee was provided by Un Mundo Cafe. The event also included door prizes, such as a new Giant-brand bicycle.
Heck thanked the sponsors for their support in promoting cycling.
“We’re continuing to try to grow cycling in this community,” he said. “Every effort we can continue to make to promote cycling as more than just a recreational opportunity is a win for us.”
The event was organized by Bike Springfield, a local cycling advocacy group, as well as the city, National Trail Parks and Recreation District and Changing Gears cycling club.
In 2013, Bike Springfield was created after the city hosted the bi-annual Miami Valley Cycling Summit. A year later the group and the city of Springfield worked together to plan the first Bike to Work Day event.
Since that time, the city has made several upgrades to its cycling network, including new lane markings, increased bike racks and a Springfield Bike Plan, among others.
Moorefield Twp. resident Brent Andersen and his wife, Meg, attended the event as part of the Changing Gears club, which had about 25 cyclists attend.
RELATED: City to repair trails in 2017
“We ride a lot and we felt it was important to come out and show our support,” Andersen said.
Andersen is encouraged by the improvements made by the city, especially marking bike routes. He’d like to see more education for the public. The state recently passed a law requiring motorists to give cyclists at least three feet of clearance on the road, he said.
MORE LOCAL STORIES: Read the latest news from Michael Cooper
“A lot of people don’t realize that,” Andersen said.
Biking is also good exercise, Andersen said, even for people who haven’t tried in years.
“It’s never too late,” he said. “I’d like to see more people cycling.”