Healthy Dearborn Walk and Roll program starts May 3

Photo courtesy of the city of Dearborn
The weekly Healthy Dearborn Walk and Roll program begins May 3, encouraging people of all ages to enjoy moving at a social pace, either with a 1.5-mile walk or 5-mile bike ride. Participants also get to see Dearborn’s many different neighborhoods.

Weekly events offered through October

DEARBORN – Who’s ready to Walk and Roll?

The second annual Healthy Dearborn walking and biking program kicks off on May 3, as the first in a weekly series planned through October.

Every Wednesday evening, friends, families and community members are invited to meet at a different park for a 1.5-mile walk or a 5- or 6-mile bike ride around the neighborhood.

The schedule of Walk and Rolls and other Healthy Dearborn events can be found at: www.cityofdearborn.org/community/healthydearborn.

The free walks and rides are family friendly, and the speed is set at a casual pace, so participants will be able to chat with friends and take in the sights of the neighborhood around them.

“These walking and biking events help to foster community socialization and cohesion and connect people to Dearborn’s plethora of beautiful parks,” said Sara Gleicher, who is the project manager for Healthy Dearborn, which is a coalition led by Beaumont, in partnership with the city and Dearborn Public Schools.

Routes are not usually planned out, but the walks tend to stay near the starting park.

This year, Healthy Dearborn hopes to have most walks led by community leaders.
The developing schedule for walk leaders so far is:

• May 3, Levagood Park: City Council President Susan Dabaja.

• May 31, Martha Myrtle Park: 19th District Chief Judge Sam Salemey.

• June 23, Pine-Linden Park: Fire Chief Joseph Murray.

• July 19, Rosalie-Hubbard Park, Dearborn Public Schools Supt. Glenn Maleyko.

• July 26, Pocket Park on Michigan Avenue between Mason and Monroe Streets in downtown west Dearborn: Beaumont-Dearborn CEO Kelly Smith.

Bike routes are usually more adventurous than the walks, but still move at a comfortable, social speed.

“We live in such a diverse city,” said Walk and Roll Founder Tracy Besek. “Each week and each neighborhood brings such a unique look at Dearborn.”

“Both walking and biking are great ways to start healthy habits,” Besek said.

Start times will be at 7 p.m. for events May through August. Start times for September and October will be earlier in the evening.

Meeting times are a half hour before the official start in order to go over rules and safety instructions.

“The more people that are out riding, the safer our city becomes for cyclists of all levels as bicyclists are more visible and readily accepted by motorists,” Besek said.

Walk and Roll is one piece of the Healthy Dearborn initiative, which was launched in 2015 by Beaumont Health.

A Community Health Needs Assessment was conducted by Wayne County and determined that there are four areas in the county that need to improve, health-wise: heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and access to care.

“More and more research shows the importance of physical activity to individual and community health,” Gleicher said. “Healthy Dearborn was launched to prevent chronic disease through promoting healthy eating and active living.”

Some of the other Healthy Dearborn activities for this year include Transformation Tuesday workouts in City Hall Park, blood pressure screenings and healthy food tastings.

For more information on the benefits of walking and other healthy activity, go to www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/walking-and-walkable-communities/index.html.

More about Walk and Roll

Walk and Roll was conceptualized by Besek, a Dearborn resident and photographer who has a passion for biking. For about a year before the beginning of Walk and Roll, she had wanted to start a weekly bike ride, and she knew people that wanted to ride but that were intimidated, and she wasn’t sure how to get started. The Healthy Dearborn Coalition held its first Family Bike Ride in October 2015, and she met people through that event that helped her get Walk and Roll up and running.

“The Walks and Rolls are perfect for families to enjoy active time together exploring our parks and neighborhoods, whether they walk or roll,” Besek said.

She is looking forward to this year’s event and all the possibilities.

“Last year, near Lapeer Park in the South End, we had an entire boys’ soccer team jog behind us,” Besek said. “And then from Canterbury Park, also in the South End, we rode over on the other side of the cemetery into southwest Detroit and visited The Alley Project.”