2022 has been a watershed year for Kosciusko County Velo (KCV) and our ability to deliver on our mission to improve our community through bicycling. We’ve been able to expand our initiatives to new capabilities while continuing to deliver on our core programs.
We continue to build on our three strategic pillars of Advocacy, Access, and Activities for all bicyclists in our county.
2022 Key Highlights
Launched our Phase 1 fundraising for the Winona Lake Bike Park.
Expanded our League Certified Instructors from two to ten to deliver more safe bicycling skills instruction.
Brought back the full Fat & Skinny Tire Fest weekend.
Launched a new fall festival, the Winona Lake Trail Fest.
Strengthened partnerships with our community, local businesses, and civic leaders.
Improved sustainability of the Winona Lake Trails.
Winona Lake Bike Park Plans
Purchasing the land to build the future Winona Lake Bike Park at Hauth Trailhead was a significant change in how Kosciusko County Velo operates but positions us well to deliver on our goals for the community.
Our plans are to build a world-class bike park to develop bicycling skills and confidence for riders of all ages. The bike park will be a go-to destination that will attract riders from all over the five-state midwest region.
Since the land is adjacent to the Winona Lake Trails, plans include adding an additional one to two miles of dirt trails and eventually expanding the paved Heritage Trail Greenway through the property to access neighborhoods south of Cherry Creek.
We are currently about 30% of the Phase 1 land purchase goal and are excited about the interest and support our community has already shown for the future Winona Lake Bike Park.
Tracey’s Trailer Mobile Education Project
One of our core education initiatives has been achieved through our Tracey’s Trailer Mobile Education Project. Through this program, we deliver in-classroom and on-the-bike bike safety and skills instruction, with a bonus gift of either a helmet or lights.
We currently have a significant focus on educating third-grade students within Warsaw Community Schools and at Sacred Heart Elementary School.
Up to this year, we’ve had two League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors, but through grants from K21 Health Foundation and the Tracey’s Trails Fund through Kosciusko County Community Foundation, we’ve added eight more educators.
With ten certified bicycling instructors in our county, not only will we be able to grow Tracey’s Trailer program, but we will also deliver consistent bicycling education for more students, adults, and other community partners.
Our goal for Tracey’s Trailer is to reach more elementary schools in Kosciusko County over the next few years and provide regular adult safe bicycling skills instruction, but we need to expand our volunteer base and funding to do so.
After classroom instruction, each on-the-bike clinic requires about 20 volunteers and $2,000 in donations to cover costs. We always welcome more partners, volunteers, and donations for this incredible program! In 2022, we proudly provided instruction to 371 students.
Fat & Skinny Tire Fest
In 2020 and 2021, we paused the full Fat & Skinny Tire Fest due to the pandemic. We were excited to bring back the festival in 2022 and had a record number of 300+ volunteers along with more than 2000 very happy bikers and thousands more spectators glad to be back in action.
First Annual Trail Fest
Then in late summer, we decided we wanted to accelerate our fundraising for the future Bike Park by hosting the first Winona Lake Trail Fest in mid-October.
We ended up with perfect weather and a high level of participation from 5k trail runners, mountain bike racers, and many young riders for the kid’s programs and races. It was a huge success and we look forward to bringing it back next year!
The Winona Lake Trails
The Winona Lake Trails continue to be a much revered off-road trail system in the midwest and the efforts of our dedicated trail volunteers were nothing short of incredible again this year.
Highlighted by the ongoing maintenance of over 10 miles of trail, including emergency weather damage repairs, followed by preparing for four different racing events during the year, the building of a new access path to the Hauth Trailhead land, and multiple re-routes to repair erosion damage, we’re incredibly grateful for the responsibility we have in maintaining, sustaining, and fundraising for the Winona Lake Trails.
We found out during the pandemic just how important having amenities like the woods and trails were to the physical and social health of our community and we only see their popularity and usage increasing in 2023.
In addition to our primary programs, we’re proud of the advocacy partnerships we have within our communities and with civic leaders. KCV’s leadership dedicates significant time and resources to advocate for safe transportation routes for bicyclists and pedestrians.
In 2022, we were grateful to represent bicyclists in multiple city, county, and state initiatives to develop safe active transportation and recreational infrastructure planning in Kosciusko County and the Michiana region for all bicyclists and pedestrians now and for future generations.
KCV can only deliver on these initiatives through the generosity of volunteers, donors, and our all-volunteer board. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and all donations go directly to our programs and may be tax deductible.
Donations may be earmarked to support KCV overall, or directly to Education/Tracey’s Trailer or the Winona Lake Bike Park.
On behalf of our dedicated board and passionate volunteers, we thank you for your continued support of Kosciusko County Velo – together we’ve achieved much in nearly 20 years as an organization, but we look forward to where we’re going and what we can do for our communities in the future!