Portsmouth Connex improves livability standards and public health by offering new recreational opportunities.
“Studies show that as high as 60 percent of individuals when asked about interest in cycling believe they would like to try it. Still, a large percentage of those individuals do not know how to get started,” Administrative Director of Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) Cancer Services and Community Health & Wellness Wendi Waugh explained. “We are lucky to have the group Portsmouth Connex active in the community locally.”
Portsmouth Connex is motivated by their mission to inspire activities of play, exercise and social connections promoting health and wellness. In order to accomplish this mission, the Connex is always eager to reach out to beginning cyclists.
“The group is really making headway in getting those who are interested in biking get started,” Waugh commented. “Just last month the group hosted a Dam Footer Ride (the event took place on the Ohio side of the Greenup Locks and Dam) designed for families and friends to socialize and bike together.”
Hosting such events not only encourages healthy behavior but brings families and communities together and gives them a shared interest. Plus, Connex makes sure the events are fun.
Participants of the Dam Footer Ride were rewarded at the end of the ride with complimentary footers and drinks. There were rides around the parking lot, down the Access Road, into Wheelersburg and an advanced ride. Approximately 70 participants showed up to take part in the event.
In addition to hosting a variety of rides, Connex is working towards the development of a bike path to make biking a more convenient activity and even potential form of transportation by potentially linking some key areas of Portsmouth’s downtown.
“Connex is involved with our city manager, Derek Allen,” Waugh explained. “Derek and city government has a plan to develop an activity route Front Street and looping in and around the flood wall. It will be approximately a 5k. Most of the route will be ‘share the road’ route.”
There may be a dedicated trail close to Alexandria Park; however, the route is still under consideration. Estimates for cost and feasibility are still underway. It is estimated that the community will begin to see progress on this route in 2018.
“Other projects are in development and primarily related to establishing recommended routes for riding, special rides, and some maps to direct individuals to the areas that riders are using. Connex plans to submit a grant request this fall under the Scioto Foundations Scioto 365 program. Details of the proposal are not available at this time,” Waugh further stated.
In the meantime, Connex hosts regular rides every week. Upcoming events include Bridges for Cookies will start at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 24. Cyclists will meet at Market Street Cafe for a ride done in collaboration with World Sauntering Day and Main Street Portsmouth’s Sidewalk Sale. There will be mileage variations for the beginner, the venturous rider, and advanced ride. As riders return, Market Street Café and the Connex crew will be serving up fresh sugar cookies.
For more events, visit the Portsmouth Connex Facebook page.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.