The birthplace of flight increasingly is becoming known as a good place to ride thanks to a new cycling tour, mountain bike park and bike lane additions. The Dayton region is home to the nation’s largest network of paved, off-street bike trails, and biking opportunities have taken off because of the Link bike-share program, Mike’s indoor bike park and public infrastructure investments. But bicycling fanatics have more to be excited about because the Rotary Club of Dayton in September will host the inaugural Tour de Gem – The Dayton Cycling Classic. Also, the city of Dayton is working to transform the underutilized Welcome Park near UD Arena into a mountain bike park that officials say will be unlike anything in the immediate area. "Bicycling has a deep history in the Dayton region and continues to be a quality of life amenity, economic driver and contributor in creating a healthy, active community," said Randy Ryberg, outdoor recreation coordinator for Five Rivers MetroParks. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees
Photo: Ty Greenlees

Grab your bike and practice social distancing on wheels

Pedaling along a scenic trail with a canopy of trees overhead and warm sunshine on your face – sound too good to be true?

It’s not; cycling can provide much-needed exercise and therapy in these stressful times and enable riders to adhere to social-distancing guidelines.

“We hear a lot about what people can’t do, it’s nice to share what we can do,” said Bob Hartman, president of the Dayton Cycling Club.

While the recent Stay at Home Order by Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, put additional limits on Ohioans activities, a variety of outdoor activities, including biking, are still permitted.

Cycling can provide much-needed exercise and therapy in these stressful times and enable riders to adhere to social-distancing guidelines. CONTRIBUTED/JAN UNDERWOOD
Photo: Contributing Writer

“People are encouraged to get out and ride on their own or with their nuclear family,” said Laura Estandia, Bike Miami Valley executive director. “They should give other riders or trail users six feet when possible, but passing someone on the trail while riding doesn’t pose a serious risk. It’s important to encourage everyone to stay active during a time when it might be easier to sit and stream the latest digital content all day.

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“Sedentary diseases still greatly impact the life expectancy of most Americans. Plus, riding a bike and getting outside can help people’s mental health during a stressful time for our nation.”

With kids home from school and many people working from home, now is a good time to take a ride.

Get ready to ride

If your bike hasn’t been out of the garage in a while, a safety check is in order before hitting the trails. It can be as easy as ABC.

The ABC Quick Check is available on the Bicycle League of America’s website at https://bikeleague.org/content/basic-bike-check-just-remember-abc-quick-check.

The cities of Kettering and Centerville are joining efforts to construct the Hewitt Avenue Bikeway Connector. The connector will begin at the Iron Horse Bike Trail and continue eastward along Whipp Road and Hewitt Avenue to cross Bigger Road to tie into an existing trail. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Staff Writer

A is for air – making sure the tires are inflated properly and in good working condition.

B is for brakes – inspecting pads for wear and making any necessary adjustments.

C is for cranks and chain – inspecting and adjusting cranks and making sure the chain is free of rust and gunk.

Quick is for quick releases – making sure they are closed and pointing to the back of the bike.

Check is for check it over – taking a quick short ride to make sure it’s working properly.

“Cleaning is key to it all and you need to lube the chains,” said Justin Kellermeier, owner of K&G Bike Center.

Kellermeier recommends the Park Tool website (www.parktool.com/) – complete with plenty of videos – for DIY repairs.

“And, if you have any doubts or problems, take it to a bike shop,” Hartman said.

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While non-essential businesses are closed statewide, bicycle shops – like gas stations and auto repair shops – are considered essential. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s business as usual. Some shops, such as J&D Bicycles in Troy, are now offering appointments to reduce shop traffic as well as no-contact check-ins and pick-up. Others, like K&G, have voluntarily chosen to close their doors temporarily.

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“It was a hard call to make because we were doing decent business, but the main thing was the safety of our employees and the safety of the community,” Kellermeier said. “We saw too many people not taking this situation seriously. Two weeks is not worth people’s lives.”

Check with your local bike shop for information regarding hours of operation. For a list of bike shops, visit www.bikemiamivalley.org/resources-2/.

Where to ride

“I would recommend the Nation’s Largest Paved Trail Network right in your back yard,” Estandia said. “We are blessed to have this wonderful amenity in the Miami Valley. There is so much to explore.”

The Miami Valley region has more than 340 miles of paved, multi-use recreational trails. Stretching across county lines, the trails connect parks, historic landmarks and area attractions.

Cycling can provide much-needed exercise and therapy in these stressful times and enable riders to adhere to social-distancing guidelines. CONTRIBUTED/JAN UNDERWOOD
Photo: Contributing Writer

“We have this fantastic network of trails right here and the nice thing is that they actually connect communities and points of interest,” Hartman said. “And we’re finally in a season where we’re starting to get some nice days.”

A complete list of trails and other resources is available at www.miamivalleytrails.org/.

Some advice from local moms

These local moms told us where they like to go biking with their families.

• Elizabeth Augustine (Beavercreek): We ride our bikes from Factory Road, up the bike path towards Xenia, take a left off the bike path (toward Yellow Springs bike path) cross the bridge and you will be right at James Ranch Park. This park will have a beautiful public garden as spring arrives – very well maintained. You can walk through and see all kinds of different beautiful flowering plants.

• Carin Coty (Tipp City): The trail we ride is the Great Miami River Trail. We can get to it easily since it is only couple miles from house. We are in Tipp and have ridden to Troy and down to Taylorsville Dam. Our essentials to bring are water, snacks, and Band-Aids.

• Heidi Hill (Miamisburg): We like the bike path from Miamisburg to Dayton – actually goes further south too. The MetroPark trails are great too – Cox Arboretum and Wegerzyn Gardens.

• Amy Lipcius (Loveland): We live about a mile from the bike trail in downtown Loveland (Little Miami Scenic Trail). We’ve rented and brought our bikes there many times and it’s an easy ride for all. Elizabeth quickly added, “Trails around Loveland are so beautiful!”

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