By Mike Fletcher
Tribune crime reporter
After a week of cleaning up from the flood, some residents took the streets Saturday on two wheels — some on three — to enjoy a bicycle ride through Kokomo.
With a police escort, about 60 to 70 riders pedaled out of Foster Park at about 11 a.m. on 6-mile ride in the 4th Annual Tour de Kokomo.
The riders young and old took a scenic route through Kokomo on the Walk of Excellence, down Main Street to the Industrial Trial, past the murals and through Highland Park before returning to Foster Park.
“Everyone ride safely and have fun,” Mayor Greg Goodnight said to the group before leaving the park.
Kokomo Police Department motorcycle officers and Howard County Emergency Management Agency officers assisted the riders through the main streets as a safety precaution throughout the ride.
“This kicks off the bicycle season,” Torrey Roe, the city’s recreational manager, said of the event. “It’s a family fun day.”
“It’s about getting the community out and enjoying the trails,” said Kokomo Police Officer Jim Gunlite, who spent his day off enjoying the ride. “It’s a beautiful day to ride.”
Tom Tolen, city development planner, rode along with his 4-year-old daughter, Aggie.
“Great weather for a 6-mile ride,” he said with Aggie on back. “This is our first time riding together. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a good way to get some exercise and just get out and enjoy the trails. After volunteering with the flood cleanup, I’m going to enjoy this beautiful day.”
John Martino, superintendent of the Kokomo Parks & Recreation Department, said the event is a great way to showcase the Walk of Excellence, the Industrial Trail, the murals along the trial and the local parks.
“It’s a family oriented event that gives people a chance to enjoy the improvements in the city,” Martino said.
County Commissioner Paul Wyman is riding in his fourth tour as a way to stay fit and like the others riders enjoy the wonderful weather.
“This is a great quality of life event for the community,” he said before the ride. “And we get to see a lot of the beautiful parts of the community.”
“We have a great turnout despite so many other things going,” said Charlie Skoog riding his modified Giant bicycle.
For Paco Solis and his wife, Wendy, its a chance to get their bikes on the road.
Riding a black Electra Ghost Rider bicycle, which resembled a motorcycle, Solis said it was nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
“We just pick these up from Kokomo Schwinn,” he said.
“This is a marvelous thing to do on a great day,” Wendy said before climbing on her Electra with a colorful flower and skull paint scheme.
“I hope the city does more of these things,” she said. “This is a nice way to spend the day.”
Mike Fletcher, Tribune reporter may be reached at 765-454-8565, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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