OTTAWA — A group of cyclists meets on Mondays and Wednesdays in Putnam County to experience camaraderie and get physical exercise.
Putnam County Cyclists was started 10 years ago by Ottawa cycle enthusiasts Lisa Langhals and Ray Maxson. Cyclists are from Putnam County in addition to Findlay and Lima.
Cyclists of all ages meet Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 p.m. outside the Putnam County YMCA and do an hour and a half ride totaling 25 miles around the county. The community is invited to participate in the rides that began in May and end in October. In addition to participating in the rides some of the cyclists compete in races in Ohio to raise funds for causes.
“I was riding with friends and we started coming up with and marking routes and the group grew,” Langhals said. Each participant wears a brightly colored jersey and is required to wear a helmet.
The group will participate in the Tour de Putnam on Aug. 24 that is open to the community. Registration begins at Putnam County YMCA at 7 a.m. and there will be 22 to 28-mile loops totaling 100 miles. A free kids fun ride around a 3/4 mile track also will take place with an award for each participant.
On Wednesday night, a group of male and female cyclists gathered at the YMCA to participate in a ride. Their bicycles were equipped with Garmin navigators that track their speed, location and provides a map as well as safety lights on the front and back of their bicycles.
Terry Rigg, 58, of Columbus Grove, has been cycling for nine years and is thankful for the friends he has made in the group.
“I was doing a lot of running and my feet started hurting so I heard about this group and I’ve been hooked ever since,” Rigg said.
Rigg said he loves the freedom, exercise and challenge of bicycling and the longest ride he has taken was a 162-mile bike ride with group participant Barney Beckman in 2015 across the state of Indiana.
Beckman, 59, of Ottawa, was 5 when his dad, James, taught him how to ride a bicycle.
“I like the exercise and getting outside and the challenge. It’s a flat ride in Putnam County and the roads aren’t too busy where you can get out,” Beckman said.
Jeanna Wiswasser, 59, of Barnesville, is one of the original members of the group.
“I like the camaraderie and I have developed some great friendships,” Wiswasser said. She said she rides three times a week and on weekends.
“You see things on a bicycle you wouldn’t see in a car like old barns and landscaping.”
Lori Painter, 55, of Pandora, also was an original member of the group and said cycling keeps her in shape.
Painter and Wiswasser planned to participate in Pelotonia in Columbus Saturday, a fundraiser for cancer research.
For more information about Putnam County Cyclists visit them on Facebook.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.