ODH Bicycle Training Inspires Advocacy for Bicycling in Ross County

Chillicothe, OH – A trio of Ross County Health District and Chillicothe City Planning employees represented Ross County in the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) bicycle ride leader training, “Train the Trainer”, event from September 11-13 in Delaware, Ohio. The 30-hour “wheels-on-the-ground” training (masterfully facilitated by a team of four from Toole Design led by Catherine Girves) bonded a diverse group ranging from Creating Healthy Communities Program (CHC) coordinators to experienced road biking enthusiasts. Catherine’s warm leadership quickly established an inclusive, positive, and safe learning environment that fostered vibrant group discussions while welcoming any question.

The Ross County team participated in skill development exercises for leading/planning educational and recreational rides and were given real-time opportunities to increase personal competence of riding in new situations by biking in Delaware rush-hour traffic. Indoor training segments consisted of instruction, discussion, route-planning, and role-playing of common ride scenarios. Outdoor exercises like single-file group rides effectively simulated how a rider would feel traveling the same route without a group, while fostering confidence to attempt similar rides. Each group member also coordinated and led a group bicycle ride through town, complete with a safety brief introduction and stops throughout the city to use as teaching points.

Time was also allotted for breakout brainstorming sessions by region to discuss implementing ideas from the training in respective home communities. The local participants hope to ride momentum back from the training, infusing it into educational and recreational group bike rides in Ross County for bicyclists of all backgrounds and levels of experience. The cost of training was covered by ODH.

“We are so excited to invest everything our team has learned from the Train the Trainer event back into our local communities,” said Kim Hardesty, Ross County Health District’s Director of Health Promotions and Quality Improvement. Hardesty further expressed, “Bicycling is a key component of active transportation (an umbrella term for all the ways an individual can travel without using an automobile) – and is one of CHC’s centers of focus. This training experience will pay dividends as we continue to plan upcoming biking events and educational opportunities in Chillicothe and throughout Ross County.” Active transportation can provide many community benefits beyond personal mobility including public health, economic development, quality of life, and environmental quality.

The City of Chillicothe has developed a citywide comprehensive plan, Choose Chillicothe, to guide the community and decision-makers over the course of the next decade. The 73-item action plan includes safe and comprehensive mobility options that serve all user groups and abilities, with neighborhood connections for people biking, driving, and walking. Obtaining Bicycle Friendly Community Status is also a priority action for Chillicothe City Planning to make bike transportation safer in the city and encourage a multimodal tourism experience.

For more information on RCHD’s Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) Program visit the link below:

Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) Program – Ross County Health District

Visit the link below for more information on Chillicothe’s Active Transportation Plan:


Choose Chillicothe – Citywide Comprehensive Plan:

Choose Chillicothe – Create a vision and plan for our future.

Chillicothe & Ross County Public Library Book-A-Bike Program:

Book-A-Bike – Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library (crcpl.org)