Oct 3, 2017

Supporting Ken

Ken smiles on his yellow bicycle. His riding partners Kayla and Peter are to the right and left of Ken, respectively. The left side features a white circle with a blue outline, and the words Supporting Ken and thousands of adults in the community.
We partnered with the other County Boards of DD in Southwest Ohio to buy billboards to support Developmental Disabilities Awareness around our region. One design features Ken Oster, an avid cyclist who lives in South Cumminsville, along with Kayla Stone and Peter Smith, two of his riding partners.

Ken’s an adventurous man who likes to travel despite mobility difficulties caused by a childhood traumatic brain injury. He would ride hundreds of miles each year around his neighborhood, Cincinnati and anywhere he could. “Honestly, that was when I felt most alive,” he wrote. “It’s been this way well over forty years, getting where I want to go on my own power.”

Unfortunately, in 2016, he crashed after hitting an unexpected hazard. After recovering from surgery to heal multiple fractures, Ken was eager to get back to riding but he “lost confidence that two wheels would keep me upright.” So, with help from the community, he raised more than $4,100 in less than a month and two local bike shops built him a custom trike. But in early April he made the decision to return to two wheels.

"In six months of practice and after a couple functional tweaks to the trike, I couldn't shake the feeling that this was unsafe for the type of riding I want to do," he said.

Ken is still a little road shy, but loves leaning into a turn and feeling the torque. There's "a unique pleasure of being on two wheels I didn't really notice until the trike," he said. "I try to ride daily, even if only tooling around the neighborhood. On those days I get four to 12 miles, and about once or twice a month Kayla and I will go to a trail where we'll do 20-30 miles."

He documents his adventures on his Smile, Wave, Ride Facebook page. The billboards featuring Ken are located on Central Parkway, south of the Western Hills viaduct, and on Beechmont Avenue, headed east from Columbia Parkway.

You can also see billboards throughout October and November in Butler, Clermont, Greene, Montgomery and Warren counties.
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