A new group of volunteers will take to Dublin's bike paths this weekend.

A new group of volunteers will take to Dublin's bike paths this weekend.

The bicycle ambassador program will kick off with training for 20 volunteers who will focus on safety, maintenance and directions on Dublin's trails.

Dublin's volunteer coordinator Christine Nardecchia said the program was born from a Bicycle Advisory Task Force recommendation.

"It also is one the steps critical to becoming a certified bicycle community," Nardecchia said.

Leadership Dublin helped the city tackle research for development of the group.

"To have the bicycle ambassador program we have trained volunteer citizens to identify themselves as ambassadors when they're out riding on our bike paths," Nardecchia said.

"We asked Leadership Dublin to research and facilitate what this means."

Through research and focus groups, three goals were identified for bicycle ambassadors.

"We decided to focus on three goals in this first phase of rolling it out: be extra eyes and ears for safety; extra eyes and ears for maintenance like branches, debris clean up and litter; and wayfinding," Nardecchia said.

As part of the safety goal, ambassadors will reward children wearing bike helmets and riding safely with coupons. The volunteers will also help anyone with directions.

"Most (volunteers) in the program are adults, but we have two teens we're really excited to welcome to the team," Nardecchia said.

"Teens know the bike path system better than anyone else."

Ambassadors will observe behavior on the trails, Nardecchia said, and help hone the goals of the volunteer group.

"Once we get this jelled and increase the volunteer team, they will become ambassador speakers and lead group bike rides," she said, noting that workshops could also be offered on biking and maintenance.

"It's really exciting and at this point we need to get them out there to see what they see."

Bicycle ambassador Glenn Aidt shares some of Nardecchia's goals, including an idea for an Art in Public Places bike ride.

"I also would like to lead some bike ride adventures for senior citizens," he said.

"I am one and I find many beautiful areas out on the bike paths and I am getting exercise while I am enjoying the scenery," he said.

"Areas such as the Glacier Ridge Metro Park and the Red Trabue Nature Reserve are great areas for a leisurely ride to enjoy nature."

Charissa Fuller has been using Dublin's bike trails for years and said she was happy to volunteer while being active.

"I'm hoping to be able to help if bikers have lost their way or don't know how to get to a destination," she said.

"It took me four tries to navigate from my home to Glacier Ridge Metro Park … this spring, so I know how challenging it can be to make the correct turns," Fuller said.

"I hope that our residents will see Dublin's commitment to making the bike trails safe and fun through my and other volunteers' presence out on the paths."

Aidt calls himself an "avid biker" and has lots of experience on Dublin's trails.

"I now ride to all my errands such as the bank, the pharmacy, haircuts (and the) postoffice," he said.

"I ride 95 percent of the time on the bike paths as opposed to the road."

When out on the trail, Aidt, Fuller and 18 other bicycle ambassadors will be identified with a yellow safety vest with the Dublin logo and "Bicycle Ambassador" on the back.

Nardecchia also said they'll be issued a photo ID badge.

While the program is launching with 20 volunteers, Nardecchia said they're hoping to get more involved.

"We'll convene again in September to get to the drawing board and what's what and where to go from there," she said. "Then we'll schedule another training session to get more people on board."

All bicycle ambassadors must go through training that includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first-aid training from Washington Township.

The program accepts volunteers 16 years old and older. For more information, look online at Dublin.oh.us/volunteer/.