Residents urged to ride bike: Bike to Work Week celebration planned

Columbus residents are being encouraged to hop onto their bikes instead of climbing into their cars for Friday’s commute to work.

Mayor Jim Lienhoop and several top Cummins Inc. executives will be leading community bike rides Friday morning during National Bike to Work Week.

Cummins executives who will participate include Jennifer Rumsey, vice president and chief technical officer; Mark Osowick, vice president of human resources operations; and Srikanth Padmanabhan, vice president and president of the company’s engine business.

Lienhoop will lead his group from North Christian Church starting on Sycamore Street. The ride to work with Cummins executives will begin on the west side, departing from the Papa’s Grill parking lot. Previously, Cummins has had its own Bike to Work Day with senior leadership involved, but all of the local Bike to Work events are being merged into one this year.

Three other Bike to Work rides will take place Friday with different geographical starting points in the city, and also will lead cyclists into downtown Columbus.

All participating riders will be treated to a free breakfast on the plaza of the Cummins Irwin Conference Center, 500 Washington St., upon their arrival, said Laura Garrett of Columbus Regional Health’s Healthy Communities program.

The five group rides will meet at their respective locations, departing at 7:15 a.m. The breakfast will wrap up at 8:30 a.m.

Riding a bike to work is environmentally friendly and good for physical health as well, Garrett said.

“Getting physical activity before work gets you more awake,” she said.

Experienced cyclists will be leading riders at the five designated starting points to help individuals safely reach the conference center. That kind of support can help novice cyclists feel more confident in participating, Garrett said.

Bike to Work Day is also an opportunity to bring people together and talk with one another, she said.

“It’s that socialization factor that’s important as well,” Garrett said.

The annual Bike to Work Day typically draws 60 to 80 people, but organizers hope to surpass that figure this year.

Departure points

Various community leaders and experienced riders will lead their Bike to Work rides around Columbus on Friday morning. Riders are asked to arrive at their designated locations early since participants plan to leave at 7:15 a.m. All five rides will end at the Irwin Conference Center in downtown Columbus.

  • North Christian Church, 850 Tipson Lane: Meet on the Sycamore Street side, with riders being joined by Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop on the route.
  • West side: Meet in the parking area of Papa’s Grill, 3780 W. Jonathan Moore Pike. It is also the designated Cummins Bike to Work route.
  • Blackwell Park/Parkside area, Central Avenue and Parkside Drive: Meet in the parking lot west of the Richard Wigh soccer fields and ride into downtown.
  • Haw Creek Trail: Meet at the intersection of 30th Street and Griffa Avenue and ride into downtown.
  • America and Roby Anderson Community Center: Meet at the center, 421 McClure Road, and ride into downtown.
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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com