Fun and fitness or fact-finding?

Fun and fitness or fact-finding?

The point and purpose of the Mayor's Bike Ride during Neighborhood Pride was debated last week at the final run-up meeting to the program coming to an area that includes and is adjacent to Forest Park, site of the initial "Pride" treatment back in 2000 when avid bicyclist Michael B. Coleman became mayor.

When the Pride program returns to Forest Park next week, the answer will be: A bit of both.

Christine G. Green, coordinator of the Healthy Places program for Columbus Public Health, in recent years has been creating safe walking maps for each Neighborhood Pride site as a means of encouraging physical activity among the residents.

Ever since Coleman had a bicycle ride added as one of the week's events, Green, who will soon be leaving her post to move to Washington, D.C., has also been charged with mapping out an approximately three-mile route for the mayor to be joined by others in the community for a bicycle trip.

At last week's final meeting before the area bounded on the north by Northcliff Drive and Green Apple Avenue, the south by Morse Road, the east by Cleveland Avenue and the west by Tamarack Boulevard and Avalon Avenue gets the final Pride treatment of 2010 Oct. 4-8, Green showed a proposed Mayor's Bike Ride route. It began, but only very briefly, on busy Cleveland Avenue before heading west into the neighborhood on Minerva Avenue, south on Northtowne Boulevard, east on Waldorf Road, south on Manitoba Road, east on Taymouth road, south on Northtowne Boulevard, west on Balmoral Road, north on Heatherton Drive, west on Sharbot Drive, north on Cannington Drive, northeast on Brittany Road back to Northtowne Boulevard and back to Minerva Drive to return to the starting point.

Forest Park Civic Association president George Schmidt was among the 13 who turned out for the final Neighborhood Pride preview meeting, hosted by program manager Bruce T. Black. He suggested instead of having the mayor and those who join in the Oct. 6 ride, scheduled to run from 6 to 7:30 p.m., use Minerva Road off Cleveland Avenue they enter the neighborhood via Minerva Park Place. That route, Schmidt said, would take the riders along Rolling Rock Drive, Avalon Avenue and Maplewood Drive.

This route, according to Schmidt, would give Coleman and the others an opportunity to see some newer parts of the area as well as older ones.

That's fine, local Block Watch captain John McCormack said, if the reason for the ride is to promote health and fitness. It doesn't work as well, McCormack added, if Coleman wants his ride to include sections of the neighborhood that are starting to show their age and signs of the neglect a troubled economy causes.

"He ends up seeing your neighborhood, and you should have him see the parts you want him to see," Green said.

"I want him to see troubled areas that need attention," McCormack said.

The ride, while only three miles long, affords the mayor the "chance to embrace the feel of your neighborhood," Black said.

In the end, a compromise of sorts was arrived at that will feature the old and the new on the route.

According to Green, she will revise the Mayor's Bike Ride to go north along Cleveland Avenue just north of Minerva Avenue to head east Minerva Park Place, south on Kilbourne Run Place to Rolling Rock Drive, east to Avalon Avenue, north to Blackoak Avenue, east to Treeridge Street and south to Tulip Tree Avenue, south again on Beaumont Avenue to Minerva Avenue, east to Northtowne Boulevard, south to Waldorf Road, east to Manitoba Road, east on Taymouth Road back to Northtowne Boulevard, east on Balmoral road to Heatherton Drive, north to Sharbot Drive, north and east on Cannington Drive back to Northtowne again and north to Minerva Avenue before going east back to the starting point.