ReidRide symbolizes growth of fitness activities in area

You see them more and more.

The Cardinal Greenway in Richmond. (Photo by Dave Eggen)

The Cardinal Greenway in Richmond. (Photo by Dave Eggen)

People out biking, running and walking around town or on the Cardinal Greenway.  Traffic blocked off for races and half-triathlons at city parks, on city streets and county roads.  Children climbing the walls and practicing gymnastics at the new Fitness Works Rec Plex.

It’s kind of symbolic that the Rec Plex utilizes space that formerly was a movie plex: Physical family activities, rather than sit-down entertainment.  And another long running and biking path is coming soon: The new Bicentennial Legacy Conservation Area that will have its north trailhead at Cope Environmental Center and travel south to the Brookville Reservoir.

Nothing symbolizes the activity growth trend more than the ReidRide, which has grown from less than 200 riders almost nine years ago to approaching 1,000 in recent years.

It’s obvious that dozens and dozens of repeat riders do, too.  The number support that: “We started out with about 150 riding in pouring down rain,” said Justin Burkhardt, director of sponsoring Reid Health Foundation. “It has grown tremendously.”

Barb Woolard of Richmond knows why the event has gained such popularity: “It gives me goose bumps when 500 to 600 riders stream southward on Chester Boulevard, gaining speed as we descend the hill into downtown. There’s just no other feeling like it plus you know you are riding for an excellent cause.”

ReidRide also requires a huge partnership with public services. That includes fire, police and sheriff’s departments, along with Rural/Metro Ambulance and the Wayne County Emergency Management and highway departments.

The ultimate goal of ReidRide is to create a healthier community. Burkhardt sees a lot more positive activity going on, but there is a long way to go. She notes that the area has high incidence rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. “By taking part  in activities like ReidRide, they set personal goals. That will make a difference in the long run,” she said.

See photographs of rides and details about upcoming events at http://reidride.org/