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The Dam to Dam Ride (D2D) committee and Parkview Wabash Hospital (PWB) began this year’s series at the start of the month.

COVID-19 stopped so many regular events in their tracks over the past year and change, but the annual “Liking for Biking” riding series has not been one of them.

The Dam to Dam Ride (D2D) committee and Parkview Wabash Hospital (PWB) began this year’s series at the start of the month, said Visit Wabash County marketing manager Whitney Millspaugh.

Millspaugh said through Saturday, Aug. 28, anyone of any age or skill level who is interested in a free, family-friendly hour-long bike ride is invited to meet at 8:45 a.m. each Saturday at Paradise Spring Historical Park’s upper pavilion, 351 W. Market St. Helmets are required.

“Volunteers from the Spikes and Bikes Bike Club and the Rock City Bike Club have offered to lead the weekly rides in a fun and engaging atmosphere,” said Millspaugh.

On Monday, May 24, Visit Wabash County executive director Christine Flohr said despite the pandemic, “attendance has been strong.”

“We continue to see 15 to 20 riders,” said Flohr. “There are no requirements other than following the guidelines recommended by the (Centers for Disease Control) and the city of Wabash.”

Millspaugh said free health assessments are provided by Parkview Wabash Hospital for the first and last ride to help measure the impact of a healthy lifestyle in a community. The next health assessment will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 inside of door 10 at Parkview Wabash Hospital, 10 John Kissinger Drive, while the rest of the rides will start at Paradise Spring Historical Park with wheels rolling at 9 a.m. Masks are required inside Parkview Wabash Hospital for health assessments.

“Last year we did not offer health assessments executed by Parkview Wabash Hospital due to the pandemic,” said Flohr. “This year, the health assessment returned for the first ride of the season and will be conducted again before the last ride of the season.”

Millspaugh said Parkview Wabash Hospital has been a community health partner for the program since its inception in 2017.

Millspaugh said participation incentives for the riding series are based on attendance and include gift cards to Poole’s Performance Market, Modoc’s Market, Dunham’s and numerous other local businesses. Anyone who rides one of the Saturdays in May will receive a free Liking for Biking T-shirt.

“Liking for Biking is a program of Visit Wabash County and centers itself around the grassroots movement that started the annual Dam to Dam ride,” said Millspaugh. “In 2010, Dr. William Rauh gathered a handful of his friends to ride the Wabash County Bike Route in celebration of his milestone birthday. The group of friends enjoyed the leisure of riding bikes together throughout Wabash County so much that they chose to continue to make the ride an annual event. Organically, the event grew by word of mouth until 2014 when the local organizers partnered with Visit Wabash County to grow participation in what is now known as the Dam to Dam Wabash County Century Ride.”

Millspaugh said the program is made possible in partnership with Parkview Wabash Hospital, Spikes and Bikes Bike Club, Rock City Bike Club and Visit Wabash County.

Millspaugh said Sunday, Sept. 12 will mark the 12th anniversary of the Dam to Dam Wabash County Century Ride sponsored by INGUARD Health which is “organized by a group of volunteers dedicated to the advancement of health and wellness initiatives throughout Wabash County.”

For more information, www.visitwabashcounty.com/adventure-series or call 260-563-7171.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com.