Mayor's Stage: Grove City residents finding reasons to travel on two wheels

Staff Writer
ThisWeek group
Grove City Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage

It's no secret I enjoy my morning bicycle rides and the quiet time I gain while cruising through Henceroth Park, home to our Purple Heart Memorial Walk.

Windsor and Fryer parks are usually hushed as I pedal through, with the exception of the service department staff preparing the fields, playgrounds and trails for another day of fun.

I treasure the sociable waves from residents and the laughs I share with neighbors and friends as I ride through Town Center and Beulah on my way to Breck Park. That is where I see dog-loving friends letting their pets exercise in the off-leash areas.

I've enjoyed riding and tinkering with bicycles since I was young, even operating my own bicycle repair business on Kingston Avenue at the age of 12.

Riding a bicycle is a great way to exercise as well as connect with and explore our community. You see so much more seated on two wheels than you do from a car.

With the onset of coronavirus and the statewide stay-at-home order that followed, I've gained some company on the trails. It's one of the benefits of the health crisis as Grove City residents quickly adapted to the changes.

As transit companies reduced services to minimize the spread of the virus, some residents discovered cycling as a practical option for commuting to work. Not only is it a safe, socially distanced way of getting around, the exercise itself is important for mental and emotional health -- a great way to start the work day.

Grove City's planned walkable and bike-friendly growth is bringing us closer to becoming a "15-minute city," where residents can work, go to school, buy groceries, see a doctor and enjoy entertainment all within a 15-minute radius of where they live. Our trails include over 25 miles of paved pathways with strategically located bicycle-repair stations donated by the Grove City Rotary Club. Residents are discovering their needs can be met within a short ride.

As large-group activities and events are canceled or postponed, families are dusting off their bicycles and appreciating the pathways. Regardless of how it has come to be, it is exciting to witness the surge in usage and to be part of the shifting culture.

Heritage Cycles, a full-service bicycle shop in Grove City, has seen a dramatic surge in purchases, repairs and tune-ups this year, attesting to an increased interest in cycling. Customers range from toddlers learning balance to active seniors discovering you really don't forget how to ride a bicycle.

Shop owners Joshua Stamper and Thomas Kirkbride occasionally lead bicycle campouts and tell me they are looking forward to reestablishing their slower-paced family rides that conclude at Mona's Eats and Treats for a cool cone. They currently host a group that rides 20 to 30 miles together Wednesday evenings before enjoying a socially distanced gathering at HopYard 62. Visit Heritage Cycles at 3449 Grove City Road, or online at heritagecycles.net.

Whether it's travelling to work, running errands or enjoying family leisure time, there is certainly an increased interest in cycling and I'm hopeful the trend will carry on as we continue to reopen.

See you on the trails!

Richard L. "Ike" Stage is the mayor of Grove City.