Riding bikes can increase your health while helping your community

Miami Valley Cycling Summit focuses on the power of cycling

Cycling can do more than improve the health and well-being of riders; it can also be a boon to the community.

From dedicated bicycle commuters to casual weekend cyclists, the impact of cycling is felt in small towns and big cities.

“I think we’re seeing, more and more, how important having that infrastructure is to people in the community,” said Andy Aidt, GIS systems manager for the City of Kettering. “They want to know where they can ride and where their kids can ride safely.”

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Enhancing the connection between cyclists and the community is a major component of the Miami Cycling Summit. The summit is a free event designed to utilize the power of cycling to drive economic development in communities throughout the Miami Valley.

This year’s theme is “Safe Streets for All” and keynote speaker Charles Brown, a professor and researcher who has worked extensively in urban and regional planning and public policy, will delve into the impediments that prevent people from walking and biking more often. His and other Summit sessions will be held virtually on May 7 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

“A lot of people have rediscovered the outdoors over the past year and commutes have also changed for many people, so this year’s theme broadens the scope a bit,” said Laura Estandia, executive director Bike Miami Valley.

The biennial Bike Miami Valley event, typically welcomes hundreds of community leaders, cycling advocates and elected officials to focus on growing strong bike-friendly communities. This year’s event, while virtual, has an in-person component in conjunction with host community Kettering with a self-guided ride highlighting the city’s bike amenities on May 14 from 12:30-3:30 p.m.

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“We really felt like Kettering has done a great job investing in amenities along their routes,” Estandia said.

Kettering was recently added to the growing list of The League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Communities at the bronze level. There are 21 Bicycle Friendly Communities in Ohio, seven in the Miami Valley.

Kettering has continued to increase options for bicyclists with more than 4 miles of separated, shared-use paths, 4 miles of shared-use paths along roadways and 10 miles of signed, on-street routes. Many of these routes serve as connectors to the region’s expansive network of paved paths.

Cyclist welcome stations – with shade, benches, bicycle parking and fix-it stations – have recently been constructed in multiple locations in the city. Kettering recently initiated Cycle Kettering, a chapter of Bike Miami Valley and has a Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Did you know? Miami Valley cycling fun facts

° The region boasts of seven Bicycle Friendly Communities and 11 Bicycle Friendly Businesses

° The University of Dayton became the region’s first Bicycle Friendly Campus last year

° The region is home to the Nation’s Largest Paved Trail Network – 350+ miles and counting

° Bike Miami Valley is the state’s only Platinum Bicycle Friendly Business

° Bike Miami Valley launched its fifth Chapter, Cycle Kettering this year

Miami Valley Cycling Summit

What: Free event designed to use the power of cycling to drive economic development in local communities.

Who: Designed for elected officials, government staff, local leaders and cycling advocates

When: Presentations and keynote speaker – May 7, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (held virtually); self-guided Kettering ride – May 14, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Registration and information: www.CyclingSummit.com.

Contact this contributing writer at djuniewicz@gmail.com.

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