Brian Whitten, of Dayton, right, and Ulrike Fiedler, of Dayton, take off on their bikes from the Bike Parking area outside the Miami Valley Cycling Summit at the Hollenbeck-Bayley Conference Center on Friday, May 31, 2013. Whitten and Fiedler along with several dozen other cyclists from all over the Miami Valley rode their bikes to the summit in downtown Springfield. Bill Lackey/Staff

Springfield’s Bike to Work Day returns after record turnout in 2016

The event is designed to promote cycling as a mode of transportation, Deputy City Manager Bryan Heck said.

Last year, the event had its largest turnout as more than 100 cyclists attended.

“We’re really excited to build upon the success of the last three years,” Heck said.

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The event is paid for through private entities, including Ohio Valley Surgical Hospital, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, Clark Schaffer and Hackett, MacRay Company. Tropical Smoothie will provide free breakfast, and coffee will be provided by Un Mundo Cafe. DJ Chill will provide entertainment. The event will include door prizes, including a new Giant-brand bicycle.

It’s organized by Bike Springfield, a local cycling advocacy group, as well as the city, the National Trail Parks and Recreation District and the 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.

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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.

“(Bike to Work Day) is a great opportunity to continue the momentum we’ve had in Springfield,” Heck said.

Last summer, the city completed the $1.3 million Little Miami Scenic Trail extension, moving the path off of city roads and onto a dedicated trail through the south end of town. Cyclists previously had to share the road with cars at certain points until they reach the dedicated path at Fair St., a stretch which many felt was unsafe for cyclists.

MORE: Long-awaited Springfield bike trail open

The Springfield Conservancy District is also planning to spend about $500,000 to extend the bike path underneath the Plum Street bridge, connecting Veterans Park and Snyder Park.

This summer, portions of the multi-use trails in Springfield — the Little Miami Scenic Trail, Buck Creek Scenic Trail and the Simon Kenton Trail — will be receiving about $225,000 worth of improvements, most of which is coming from state money.

RELATED: City to repair trails in 2017

Several groups have worked to promote active living over the last few years and cycling plays a big role, Heck said.

“We’re continuing to take steps to improve the health and quality of life in our community,” Heck said. “People should feel comfortable and safe using cycling as a mode of transportation in Springfield.”

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