4/21/10 – SE Side Kickoff Ride

PedalGR, meeting at 6:30pm on Wednesday, 4/21/2010 at Founder’s Brewing Company, 235 Grandville Ave SW.  PedalGR is a ride of the Rapid Wheelmen Bicycle Club.

2009 Summer's End Party/Ride

It’s a new year!  Time to start riding, again (assuming you stopped).   It’s time for PedalGR!!

I’m super excited about all the things bicycle related happening in Grand Rapids.  It seems that each year I see more people just getting out on their bikes for fun and to get around.  Last fall, we earned a bronze Bicycle Friendly Community designation from the League of American Bicyclists.  This spring, Bicycling Magazine named GR the 36th most bicycle friendly city in the US.  Things have a long way to go–you may have noticed a dearth of bicycle lanes–but we have a great foundation to build upon!

For the first two years of PedalGR, the opening ride has been a tour of the SE side of GR.  I see no reason to change that.  We’ll be visiting at least a few neighborhoods that PedalGR has never been to.

The Route:

View PedalGR – 4/21/10 – Kickoff Ride in a larger map

Need to Know:

  • This is a no-drop ride. Nobody in the group will be left behind.
  • Ride is about 15 miles and will take about 2 hours (PedalGR is not a race).
  • 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.

    Upcoming PedalGR rides:

    May 5 – Huff Park – We’ll get a guided tour of Huff Park from Heather Kaweck of Friends of Grand Rapids Park.  We’ll discover what spring has blooming in the park and see some other sites on the NE side.  You won’t want to miss it!!

    Save The Date:

    July 17 – BikeStock returns! – Bands, Beers, and Bikes will all come together on this Saturday at Rosa Parks Circle!  The 2009 BikeStock at Ah-Nab-Awen park was a big success, but this event is coming back bigger and better for this year.  Mark your calendar!

    Also, become a fan of PedalGR on Facebook to get updates about upcoming rides!


    Ride Safe and see you Wednesday!

    Michigan Bicycle Summit Recap

    Andy Clarke, Exec. Director of the League of American Bicyclists, and some guy with bike pins.

    “There’s no better place than Michigan to show by example that things are changing.” — Andy Clarke, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists

    Andy Clarke speaks with an English accent that gets your attention right away.  How did this short British chap get the primo bicycling job in America?  He is paid to speak on behalf of all cyclists in America and get people excited about creating change in American culture to create increased opportunities for bicycling.  He was the keynote speaker at this year’s Michigan Bicycle Summit on March 27th in Lansing.

    His stump speech is a mix of positive examples from Portland, Europe, and elsewhere, mixed with the realization that change of this magnitude is like trying to change the direction of a glacier.  It’s going to take awhile.  But, he was quick to highlight the positive steps in this direction, such as the recent announcement by Ray LaHood, Secretary of the US Dept. of Transportation, that “This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.” (google search: “ray lahood bicycle”)

    LMB merchandise for sale

    Andy Clarke was not the only draw of the Michigan Bicycle Summit.  While at a session led by the charismatic Jean Doss on lobbying your legislature, I learned the importance of timing, that successful advocates are patient, persistent, and planful in their approach, and that the most important phrase working with politicians is, “I’m sorry that we disagree, but I look forward to working with you in the future.”   At a panel on the Complete Streets movement, we heard from the the bicycle and pedestrian advocates who played a key role in Lansing becoming the 100th city in the US to pass a Complete Streets ordinance.

    In addition to the seminars, there was a Friday evening reception at the downtown Radisson where the League of Michigan Bicyclists handed out awards to some of the most active and inspiring volunteers promoting bicycling in Michigan.  Some of the other sessions that followed Andy Clarke’s keynote speech included:

    In 2009, I attended my first National Bike Summit, and this was my first Michigan Bike Summit.  There are lots of opportunities to hear about all the great things that others are doing, but I think the best part is being around so many other people who “get it”.  They know how much fun bicycling is and they want to spread those feelings of joy and happiness to others, just like I do.

    Bike parking at the summit

    I invite you experience that same feeling on May 26th at the 2010 Lucinda Means Bicycle Advocacy Day in Lansing.  Join the League of Michigan Bicyclists, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, and the Michigan Mountain Biking Association for a day of lobbying your state legislators and fun (yes, those two things can go together).  It kicks off with a rally on the north lawn of the Capitol at 8:30am.  Visit http://www.lmb.org for more information.

    I’ll end with another quote from Andy Clarke, via the League of Michigan Bicyclists’ eNewsletter.  When asked how to respond to people who ask why we should build bicycling facilities in places where people don’t ride their bicycles, he said “how many cars crossed the river before you built the bridge.”