How This City Manager Is Staying Active in His Town During COVID-19

Elizabeth Millard
by Elizabeth Millard
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How This City Manager Is Staying Active in His Town During COVID-19

With the coronavirus pandemic causing the closures of businesses, schools, gyms and countless other establishments, people across the globe have been working, learning and working out at home. Like many fitness-minded individuals, Steve Schoeny had been trying to come up with a way to stay active while still maintaining social distancing during his state’s stay-at-home order. As he began to ride his bike more often and try new routes, he had a flash of insight: What if he tried to ride on every single street of his town of Upper Arlington, Ohio? And what if he could encourage others to do the same?

As the city manager, Schoeny had access to a key resource for the effort: the public service department. Those are the folks who snowplow and perform other road maintenance work, which means they keep detailed maps and routes that make their plows more efficient. With their guidance — and a wager with the department — he decided to give it a try, and set a goal of 30 days to bike on all 154 centerline miles of Upper Arlington.

Although he had the public service maps, Schoeny also wanted a way to track his progress, and share it with the community to inspire people to follow along with him — and maybe even start giving it a try on their own.

He downloaded MapMyRide for the effort, and quickly came to appreciate how easily he could use the public service and MapMyRide maps to determine his routes, get directions while riding and share the information on the city’s website.

“If you went to a city map and tried to create a route that way, it’s not so easy,” says Schoeny. “In order to ride on literally every street, it’s a more complex undertaking than I’d thought. But that makes it more fun, because it’s challenging.”

The creation of a deadline and a goal has helped him appreciate his rides more, he adds. Instead of simply riding around without any direction, he likely wouldn’t put in as many miles or explore as many parts of Upper Arlington as he has.

For example, before starting this project, he wouldn’t have considered doing a route that took him over a street called Bridgeview, because he would have assumed it was similar to other parts of town. But the street is well named, since it passes bridge after bridge, offering lovely views.

“Because we’re a suburban community, people tend to think we don’t have much diversity in terms of our landscape and housing,” he says. “But when you’re on the bike, you see so many interesting details and unexpected sights. It’s a great way to explore.”

Also, by sharing his routes and experiences online, Schoeny is picking up more interest and followers. He says it’s one more way for people in the city to feel like they’re together, and part of a community, even when they can’t physically gather.

“We’re all feeling cooped up right now, which makes it even more important to get outside and get some fresh air, while still being mindful of proper distancing,” he says. “MapMyRide is a great tool because it gives you a sense of progress and purpose; you don’t feel like you’re just meandering around. Staying healthy and staying active are really fantastic ways to care for ourselves and our families, and resources like this can help.”

*Please click here for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest updates on COVID-19. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

About the Author

Elizabeth Millard
Elizabeth Millard

Elizabeth is a freelance journalist specializing in health and fitness, as well as an ACE certified personal trainer and Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher. Her work has appeared in SELF, Runner’s World, Women’s Health and CNN.

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