The 2011 version of the Haywood County Fitness Challenge got off to a wonderful start yesterday (March 22nd) with the 5:30 p.m. orientation held at the Waynesville Recreation Center Fitness Center. The orientation session introduced citizens to the many groups and agencies participating in this year’s 8 week event.
BicycleHaywoodNC, our local advocacy group, was there with bells and whistles on as we participated for the first time in this annual event…
(Jennifer Jacobson, BicycleHaywoodNC member, talks cycling with consumer!)
The Fitness Challenge allows local citizens 24 visits for a $10.00 fee at any of the participating exercise and fitness related businesses or groups. The goal is to to encourage healthier living through a variety of wellness activities. As the start time arrived yesterday, a long line of eager participants snaked out from the gymnasium through the reception area, and outside along the walkways.
(Eager participants crowded the gym for the orientation hour)
BicycleHaywoodNC members answered questions and encouraged participants to consider cycling for fitness and transportation needs. The most often heard comment from consumers was “these roads are to scary to ride on. I see these crazy drivers with their cell phones.” Assurances were provided and education offered about steps being taken to make cycling safer for Haywood County residents and guests. Thanks to the support of RoadID and the League of American Bicyclists, literature and materials were made available to the participants.
As the event progressed, the cycling booth became busier with more folks demonstrating an interest to participate in the upcoming group training rides provided by BicycleHaywoodNC for new and newly returning riders. The Thursday evening rides focus on safe riding skills among traffic with goals of increased fitness and encouraging folks to leave the car at home for that 2 mile journey to the grocery store.
(The BicycleHaywoodNC display drew lots of interest!)
Shown above are BicycleHaywoodNC members Joyce Martin and Jennifer Jacobson. Martin, a former road rider in flat Florida, was especially helpful and encouraging to consumers as she shared her personal story of joining BicycleHaywoodNC last summer and improving her fitness to include climbing local hills. Her goal this summer is to commute to and from her employment several times per week.
In other news…
The Haywood County Bike plan is one step closer to actual development as the developer for the plan has been selected and notified. TranspoGroup with Stantec was the nominee of the selection committee. They have been cleared by NC DOT as an approved developer. The next step is to review and sign the contract and then seek final approval from the Haywood County Board of Education. This should be accomplished by April 4th.
BicycleHaywoodNC members are eagerly anticipating that new land development standards within the Town of Waynesville will include requirements for bike parking and accommodations for all new development and remodels. Rumor has it that the local Ingles Grocery store has included plans for bike parking in their upcoming redevelopment of their Waynesville Russ Avenue property.
BicycleHaywoodNC is applying for a Healthy Haywood grant to purchase a number of bikes for the Haywood County School system. These bikes will be used by the 4th grade Physical Education teachers to teach safe riding skills to their pupils. The program has been in existence for a period of time and the existing bicycles have about run out of life. Thanks to the support of BicycleHaywoodNC member John Mudge, owner of Rolls Rite Bicycle Shop in Waynesville, new and improved cycles may soon be available to the 4th graders!
It was inspiring to see so many people out yesterday looking for ways to improve their health and the quality of their lives. The warm spring weather has certainly brought out the “winter blues” driven desires to get out and about. Here’s hoping we can all maintain the dedication required to develop the habit of living healthier!