The inaugural PedalGR went off without a hitch! I wasn’t sure how many people to really expect, since I had only publicized the ride through the Rapid Wheelmen ride calendar, the internet, and word of mouth. Plus, there just happened to be a giant Obama rally and some chilly, cloudy weather.
Happily, people did show up. Mary, who recognized me from a WMMBA (West Michigan Mtn. Biking Assoc.) meeting was the first. Then my wife Amy, Becky and her son Logan, and Paul slowly trickled in by around 6:20. Paul was having dérailleur issues, and wasn’t able to join us for the ride.
We headed off around 6:30 (I’m planning to start on time for future rides) and headed up the hill for our first big climb. The first major site was the recently restored former D.A. Blodgett Home for Children. This is far and away one of my favorite buildings in the city. They did a FANTASTIC job restoring it.
We then wandered through Ottawa Hills, admiring all the beautiful brick houses. The route looped back on itself to go past the Iroquois School (on sale for only $3 million), so it didn’t just SEEM like we were going in circles, we actually were.
Approaching the halfway point, we went down the big hill on the gravel section of Reeds Lake Blvd, passing by the infamous Dr. Stokes’ 10,000 sq. ft mansion. Other highlights included passing GR Christian High, the former Catholic Archdiocese building, and rolling down Buchanan with the downtown skyline, and Founder’s off in the distance. The sun had finally come out and the light on the buildings was beautiful.
I’m sorry that I don’t have any photos. I will make this a priority for the next ride. Feel free to bring your small cameras as well to take on bike shots.
Thanks to everyone who showed up and/or has expressed an interest in the ride. Please spread the word and bring a friend. This is a slow ride, made to get the people who say “I don’t want to do a group ride because I’ll just hold them up” out on their bicycles. The more the merrier and I will make sure that no one gets dropped and left on their own.
I’ll post the next route by Monday or Tuesday. The May 28th route is NE Grand Rapids and includes a cobblestone road, a giant earth sculpture, and a couple short sets of stairs (going down of course).