After the bike boom: Butler County cycling and running league keeps residents active in winter

Otto Bohn, owner of Spoken Bicycles on Central Avenue in Middletown, offers a full range of bikes, repair services and parts along with beers on tap at the bike shop. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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Otto Bohn, owner of Spoken Bicycles on Central Avenue in Middletown, offers a full range of bikes, repair services and parts along with beers on tap at the bike shop. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

A group of committed people is seeking to improve fitness during the winter months and follow up on the bike boom that the economy experience in the spring and summer because of coronavirus precautions.

Otto Bohn, owner of Spoken Bicycles, said depending on the weather, there are 10 to 15 people going on organized bike rides or maybe about five people or so if weather is really cold.

“It gets really colder being on a bike in 30-degree weather,” he said. “That’s when the really cold die-hards come out.”

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Bohn said a similar number run a 5K on Tuesday nights and on Saturday mornings, and people go on longer runs as they are training for half-marathons or full marathons. The organized road rides are on Saturday mornings. Riders are required to have helmets and lights are encouraged.

The rides and runs are free and open to anyone and all ability levels.

“It’s just fun to get together for fitness and catch up with friends,” he said.

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More information about the organized runs and rides can be found on the Spoken Wheels website and social media pages.

Bohn said the fitness groups now have a rewards program with a ‘rewards punch card’. He said participants can get their card punched for every run or ride attended and redeem for fun rewards like patches, T-shirts, gift cards, etc.

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Spoken Bicycles is a full service bicycle shop and craft beer bar located in historic downtown Middletown, offering high quality bicycle sales, service, gear and beer.

After the gyms were closed at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, Bohn said people were looking for ways to stay in shape, causing a run on bicycle purchases. However, he said there still are shortages of bicycles and parts and that could continue into late this spring.

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As for the craft beer bar, Bohn said it suffered during the various closures and curfews, but are finding creative ways to encourage sales such as six-pack specials and growler refills.

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