Judy Geyer, 63, said bicycling made a huge difference in her health when started riding last year.
The Galion resident’s niece got her involved through the Pelotonia, a grassroots bike tour that funds cancer research at The Ohio State Unviersity in Columbus.
“I became obsessed with it,” said Geyer said, who is among the number of people who have taken up biking whether to commute or for recreation.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2014 that riding a bike to work increased 60 percent over the last decade. With a growing number of Ohio bicyclists, some organizations and governments have started working to improve the infrastructure and services to accomodate the bicyclists needs.
AAA Ohio decided to launch a bicycle breakdown service in May, which was also National Bike Month.
“As new forms of transportation become more and more popular, we are reinventing what roadside assistance means,” said Krista Whorton, vice president Membership for AAA Ohio Auto Club. “We know our members’ lives are busy, and we want to keep them on the go.”
The Ohio Department of Transportation planned to invest $92.5 million over a five-year period in bicycle-specific transporation projects through last year.
Locally, the Cycling Sports Center in Uptowne Galion has taken the charge to cultivate an interest for bikes in the community such as its Galion CritFest, which will feature bike races and 5K walks on June 11. Co-owner Troy Chipka has also reached out to some community stakeholders to bring a bike trail to the area.
Among them include Gary Frankhouse, executive director of the Crawford County Partnership, who’s advocating to bring county stakeholders together to build a sports complex to improve the quality of life and helath in Crawford County.
“The bike trail is really after this,” he said during a May 19 meeting at the Galion bike shop to discuss about bringing a trail for walking, running and biking.
Frankhouse said he could see residents start and end their rides at the complex.
Aside from a countywide trail, the city of Galion is working to bring its own bike path. Council approved last month a Transportation Alternatives Program grant, from the Ohio Department of Transportation, to help fund the first phase of a bike path.
The trail length for phase one is 1.56 miles, which will extend from Galion High School south to Hosford Road using a combination of existing roadways, city-owned property and land adjacent to the Olentangy River.
This is the same route that was used for the 2015 TAP application, which was not selected for project funding. Richland Engineering Limited performed the preliminary engineering study for the proposed project.
Estimated total project cost is $636,000. The amount of TAP funding being requested is $440,000, with the required 20 percent local match being $196,000. In addition, the city would pay for all of the architectural and engineering costs, environmental studies and right-of-way acquisition.
The transportation grant requires approval from ODOT and the Federal Highway Administration. Projects must meet several criteria guidelines such as having a direct relationship to surface transportation and demonstrating a public benefit, city officials said.
Geyer, who takes her bike to Lexington for rides, attended the May 19 meeting and supports bringing a bike path to Galion.
“There’s no safe path to ride in Galion — period,” she said.
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.