In fact, Helfrich has lived in the area for over 50 years and recently got involved in making the Warsaw and Winona Lake area more bicycle friendly. This started after Helfrich went to a couple Kosciusko County Velo Cycling Club meetings and “ran my mouth off,” as Helfrich describes it.
“Alan Alderfer said since I was so passionate about it, that I should do something about it,” said Helfrich.
So Helfrich got involved in the club, of which he has been a member for a couple of years now. Currently, he serves as the club’s advocacy chair, a position he has filled for about a year and a half. Together with fellow club members, Helfrich has helped the Warsaw and the Winona Lake area procure more designated bike routes with the group just setting down stripes on the Smith Street-Winona Avenue corridor project.
“I was just looking for something to get involved with,” said Helfrich.
Helfrich states he is not the most dedicated cyclist and didn’t start seriously bicycling until 15 years ago, and then not so seriously.
“I’ve ridden off and on for 30 years,” said Helfrich. “It’s kept me healthy.”
Helfrich notes that while KCV Cycling Club started as a way to support the racing team, it has since expanded to include all types of cyclists from mountain bikers to recreational cyclists. “We are working on making the area more bicycle friendly,” said Helfrich.
The group recently completed the Bike Friendly Community application process though Warsaw did not receive the title; however, according to Helfrich, they received a lot of good feedback on how to make improvements.
According to Helfrich, cities who receive the title like nearby Goshen have to have the five E’s: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation and planning.
Currently, the club and Helfrich are working on completing a grant for their master plan, which they hope to have completed before the end of the year. Of course, they are always looking for opportunities to become involved with the city’s current street projects to help further a bike friendly city, though Helfrich’s notes there are some streets where it is not possible.
“We are fortunate to have support locally,” said Helfrich.
Helfrich has worked for Sym Financial for many years, something he enjoys immensely and has given him the flexibility to be involved in the KCV Cycling Club.
“I love cycling and love the friends I’ve met and made over the years,” Helfrich said.
Through his part in the club, Helfrich hopes to educate motorist and cyclists that they are all in it together and there is plenty of room on the road for all to share.
Helfrich states, “I just want to make it safe for all.”