By Evan Bevins
Special to the Times
PARKERSBURG -There won't always be donuts and refreshments waiting at the end, but bicycling to work does have other advantages.
"It's healthier. It's important to get people moving," said Rickie Yeager, Parkersburg development director.
A dozen riders Friday morning participated in the city's annual Bike to Work Day ride. They enjoyed refreshments at the Point Park Marketplace.
There's also an economic development component, Yeager said.
"If you can shrink your transportation costs, then you have more disposable income," he said.
The goal of the ride, part of the League of American Cyclists' nationwide Bike to Work Day, is to encourage people to give it a try alongside experienced riders.
"We can put bike lanes on the streets, but if people don't feel comfortable with biking in general, they won't do it," Yeager said.
The 12 participants was fewer than in previous years, said Parkersburg Bicycle Advisory Board President Greg Garrett, who attributed the light turnout to Thursday's rain and Friday morning's cooler temperatures.
Among those who joined in the ride was Parkersburg resident Sarah Friend, who said taking her bicycle is a change of pace from her work as a cytotechnologist at Camden Clark Medical Center, where she is sitting a lot most days.
"It's a nice way to wake up, start your day," she said.
Parkersburg resident Steve Simonton sometimes rode his bike to work before he retired. He participated in Friday's ride to show others it's a viable option.
"(I) just enjoy being out with fellow (riders) and letting people know that cycling is an enjoyable activity and good for you," Simonton said.
The group rode 3.9 miles from City Park to the marketplace along portions of two city trails - the north-south Cross Town Bikeway and the east-west Little Kanawha Connector.
Yeager said that with these and other trails, the city needs to serve both recreational riders and those who want to use a bicycle to commute or go shopping.
"The goal of the city's bike route is to connect neighborhoods to destinations," he said. "If you have just recreational paths, that's just one type of use."