Become a Fan of PedalGR on Facebook

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Now you can become a fan of PedalGR on Facebook! Just visit the new PedalGR Facebook page, or click on “Become a Fan” in the Facebook Widget in the right hand toolbar.

Previously, PedalGR had a group on Facebook, but this new page format will make it easier for me to share news and information about PedalGR with everyone. So, even if you are a member of the Facebook group, please also Become a Fan on the new page.

9/2/09 – The Motion Initiative & Taco Ride

PedalGR, meeting at 6:30pm on Wednesday, 9/2/2009 at Founder’s Brewing Company, 235 Grandville Ave SW.

IMG_0766 (by fotoman311)
The Motion Initiative Bicycle Co-op

This week we’ll be doing the route scheduled for 7/22/09 that was rained out.  The ride will tour some of the Hispanic neighborhoods of GR on the SW side and also visit Marquette Park, Battjes Park, and Pinery Park in Wyoming. Marquette Park is notable because it has what may be one of the only outdoor R/C car racetracks in the Grand Rapids area.  You’ll have a chance to ride a lap or two on this unique track with banked curves.

We’ll be stopping for tour of The Motion Initiative, a bicycle co-op focusing on youth programs in the Black Hills area. (Check out their used bikes for sale!)  The tour will be brief because we’ll be fighting to finish the ride before twilight.  Later we’ll plan to stop at a El Kiosko at Grandville Ave and Godfrey to get an authentic taco. Be sure to bring $2 to purchase your taco if you want one. Last year, we stopped at a great little taqueria called Tacos El Moroleon, but unfortunately they are no longer in business.

The Route:

View PedalGR – 9/2/09 route in a larger map

Need to Know:

  • This is a no-drop ride. Nobody in the group will be left behind.
  • Ride is about 12 miles and will take about 2 hours (PedalGR is not a race).
  • Please bring WATER!
  • HELMETS ARE REQUIRED on Rapid Wheelmen Club rides. (The insurance company’s lawyers insist) Please email or comment if you need to borrow one and we will try to accommodate you.

A few highlights include:

Upcoming PedalGR rides:

View from Hillmount Condos rooftop deck - a stop on the Summer's End Party/Ride!  photo courtesy of Jason Bowers
View from Hillmount Condos rooftop deck - a stop on the Summer's End Party/Ride! photo courtesy of Jason Bowers

September 16 – Summer’s End Party/Ride – To celebrate the end of the summer and the PedalGR season, I am putting together a HUGE party with tons of prizes donated by local businesses. We’ll be stopping for a bit at the rooftop deck to enjoy root beer donated by Martha’s Vineyard and I’ll give away lots of prizes. I’ll have more information coming soon. But, here is the list of businesses that have donated prizes so far, with a few more still in the works:

  • Green Life Market
  • Rowster Coffee
  • MadCap Coffee
  • Douglas J
  • Vertigo Records
  • Commute Bicycle Shop
  • Art of the Table
  • Brick Road Pizza
  • Winchester on Wealthy
  • The Sparrows Coffee, Tea, and Newstand
  • Global Infusion
  • Martha’s Vineyard
  • Founders Brewing

HUGE THANKS go to all these businesses that have donated prizes. You are all fantastic!!!

Also, become a fan of PedalGR on Facebook to get updates about upcoming rides!
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Ride Safe and see you Wednesday!

PS: Photos from the 8/19/09 ride are here.

An Ode to Volunteers

IMG_8387 (by fotoman311)Volunteers really do run the world.   Yesterday was the 2009 Michigan State Criterium Championships at the Tour de Gaslight race in East Grand Rapids.  It was an awesome event with tons of talented racers from all different levels competing in 10 different race for $5000 in prize money.

A lot of things go into a great event: sponsors, a good cause, skilled participants, and much more.  But, what really makes the difference between a smooth, efficient day of competition and chaos is all the volunteers.  The Tour de Gaslight volunteer corps was headed up by Rapid Wheelmen Vice President Kim Kordecki and David DeJong.  So this goes out to the volunteers!  If you haven’t volunteered for anything lately, DO IT!  It’s so satisfying to help out!

And if you really want to make my wife happy (God knows I think you should 🙂 ) you’d volunteer for the Colorburst Bicycle Tour on October 10th.  Email Amy at: amylynne (AT) gmail.com if you are interested.  Volunteers ride for free, but we have many opportunities for non-riders as well!

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Some volunteers are more useful than others. 🙂
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"What is this? A bicycle race?" -- volunteers = public relations

Click for more photos of the volunteers in action!

On Hauling Large Items with a Bicycle

IMG_7915 (by fotoman311)
Yesterday, I went to the Coca-Cola plant on Butterworth to pick up some 50 gallon plastic barrels that will be turned into rain barrels. Monday I will have a rain barrel workshop at my house. Eight rain barrels will be built after a pleasant potluck with some of my neighbors. The rain barrel program is sponsored by the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and is part of their efforts to reduce stormwater runoff into the Grand River. One inch of rain onto 1000 sq. ft. of roof creates 623 gallons of runoff. By capturing some of that water from our roofs, collecting it in the rain barrels, and releasing it at a later time onto our garden or lawn, we can work to reduce the overflow events when sewage floods into the Grand River. One fifty gallon rain barrel won’t make much difference. But hundreds of them, installed all over the city, can have a significant impact!

IMG_7893 (by fotoman311)
But, that wasn’t the cool part of my day yesterday. The fun part was carrying four of the 50 gallon barrels back to my house using my Xtracycle and my Burley trailer. When I first told Kristi, the program coordinator, that I was going to use my bicycle to carry them, she acted with a bit of disbelief. But, once at the Coke plant, she patiently helped me use the bungee cords and rope to secure them to my bicycle. I got a lot of looks and attention on the way home and it was a ton of fun. I even modeled the loaded bike back at the WMEAC offices and heard that my photo will be featured in the next WMEAC newsletter! Awesome!

People often underestimate what you can carry on a bicycle with some simple tools like a rack, panniers, and with some extra investment, an Xtracycle or trailer. It would certainly have been a bit easier to borrow my in-laws’ SUV and put them in the back of that, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun!

For more inspiration, check out the “I Carried This on My Bicycle” community on Flickr.

Here are a few more photos of my load, or view my set on Flickr.com.

IMG_7906 (by fotoman311)

IMG_7887 (by fotoman311)

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IMG_7875 (by fotoman311)

8/19/09 – Grand Rapids Home for Veterans

PedalGR, meeting at 6:30pm on Wednesday, 8/19/2009 at Founder’s Brewing Company, 235 Grandville Ave SW.

IMG_1221 (by fotoman311)
Grand Rapids Home for Veterans' cemetery

August is over half gone.  Only three PedalGR rides left.  Where did the summer go?   This week, PedalGR will visit the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.  We’ll get a short tour of the main grounds and also see some of cemetery, which holds the remains of 2,413 Civil War veterans along with veterans of many other US wars since then.  The GRHV complex is a haunted site according to the Encylopedia of Haunted Places, so you’ll want to be on the lookout for weird noises and apparitions if you’re into that sort of thing.

We’ll also be headed further north than any PedalGR ride has ever been.  You’ll be able to glimpse 5/3rd Park across the river from Willow Dr.  We’ll also pass the house where GR Press sports columnist David Mayo grew marijuana in his basement, if you’re into THAT sort of thing. 🙂  On our way back to Founders, we may stop at Calder Plaza for a group photo if it’s not getting too dark.

The Route:

View PedalGR 8-19-09 in a larger map

Need to Know:

  • This is a no-drop ride. Nobody in the group will be left behind.
  • Ride is about 16 miles and will take about 2 hours (PedalGR is not a race).
  • Please bring WATER!
  • HELMETS ARE REQUIRED on Rapid Wheelmen Club rides. (The insurance company’s lawyers insist) Please email or comment if you need to borrow one and we will try to accommodate you.

A few highlights include:

Upcoming PedalGR rides:

IMG_0795 (by fotoman311)
Tacos El Moroleon on 8/20/08

9/2/09 – Taco Ride Do-Over

We will attempt to do the Taco Ride that was rained out on 7/22.  We’ll tour some SW GR and Wyoming neighborhoods and parks.  You’ll even have the opportunity to take a lap on the banked curves of an abandoned R/C car track in Marquette Park.  We’ll also stop at El Kiosko for a taco, so be sure to bring your $2 if you want one.

9/16/09 – End of Year Party/Green Grand Rapids Ride

The plans have yet to be finalized, but we’ll have another party to end the PedalGR season.  We’ll also be taking part in a week of activities celebrating the end of Green Grand Rapids, an 18 month process to update the City and Parks and Rec master plans based on citizen input.  I’ll announce more details of the party as I figure them out, but it is sure to be a blast!

Just Chillin' (by fotoman311)
Tour de Gaslight in EGR

Other Events:
Do not miss the Tour de Gaslight Criterium race coming up on Sunday, 8/23/09.  This year’s race is the State Criterium championships so the best professional and amateurs in the state of Michigan will be racing the streets of East Grand Rapids for bragging rights and more than $5000 in prize money.

Ride Safe and see you Wednesday!

PS: Photos from the 8/5/09 ride are here.  I also posted a cadence for the ride here that contains a couple dozen of my favorite photos.

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