Springfield puts the bike to work a day after the COVID hiatus
“Planning for this year’s event is off to a good start with many of the sponsors who signed up to attend in 2020 when the event was last scheduled to take place suggested we keep their sponsorship fees for the next bike working day” , said Thompson. “It was convenient because in the past the event usually took place in the town square, which we could use for free. As the square is being redesigned this year, it will be moved to Commons Park. The sponsorships help us to compensate for any additional fees that we incur as a result of the change of location.”
The new venue presented the event with some new logistical challenges.
“Our city employees have always helped to build it up on the pitch in the past. But with the new location we had to decide what size tent we needed and how many chairs. We had to make sure we had power to set up the DJ and install toilets,” Thompson said.
In the past, the event attracted about 200 people. This year, the planners are hoping for the same participation.
“It’s a great opportunity to network with other cyclists and cycling groups. I think this year will be a real guide to how we need to plan for next year,” Thompson said. “We want people to know that as long as we don’t get another pandemic, it’s going to be an annual thing again.”
The project also aims to raise awareness and awareness of sharing the road with bikers. While bike lanes have been added to some streets, adapting infrastructure to accommodate cyclists isn’t the first step, Thompson said.
“Education is key to keeping cyclists safe,” Thompson said. “Part of what we want to promote with this event is to help riders get more used to seeing cyclists and become more comfortable with the hand signals they use.”
In addition to city employees, vendors, sponsors and event planners, Bike to Work Day also involves the hard work and dedication of numerous groups and organizations. Thompson credited them all for making the event a success.
“There’s always a dedicated group of Springfield residents who put a lot of work into the event,” he said. “The Clark County Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee and local bike groups all have a big role to play. The efforts of the Greater Springfield Partnership this year have been truly valuable.”
While only about 1% of US commuters bike to work, Thompson is one of them.
Raised in St. Paris, he finds life in the city and cycling to work cathartic. And he appreciates saving gas money since costs have gone up.
“It’s great on nice days. I train before work and my commute home gives me time to unwind from the day and make the transition to personal life,” he said.
Studies suggest it has something to do with cycling. A study published in the British Medical Journal finds that cycling improves mental and physical health, reduces stress and increases happiness. All good reasons to dust off the bike and hop on for a ride.