2nd Annual Grand Rapids Bicycle Film Festival

Mark your calendars!  Saturday, February 7th at 7;30pm is the Grand Rapids Bicycle Film Festival at the Wealthy Theater.  The first GRBFF was held in the Dirk-Koning Micro-Cinema, a smaller, 60 seat theatre located within the Wealthy Theater space.  It was a hit and sold out!

This year, the GRBFF is all grown up and is in the big kids theater, the 400 seat Peter Wege Auditorium. (scroll down for the trailers)

Official Website: http://grbff.blogspot.com/

GRBFF on Facebook.

Here’s the flyer (click for larger version):

I’m really looking forward to this year’s movies.   Last year, the highlight was definitely 24 Solo, a professionally produced film about Chris Eatough’s quest to win his 7th World Championship for 24 hour endurance mountain biking.  That film included some interviews with local elite endurance mtn biker Mark Hendershot (pdf).

Here are the trailers I could find for this year’s movies.
We Just Work Here:

ZeroTraction:

Filmed By Bike (a video about the opening night in Portland, OR):

More Than 100 Miles – Riding to Cure Diabetes:

Grand Cycling Classic “is only MOSTLY dead!”

Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do.

Looks like we need Miracle Max from The Princess Bride to make us a chocolate covered miracle pill for the Grand Cycling Classic.

I received a prompt email response from Amy Miller at Priority Health. You can still email her and tell her that you are sad that Priority Health is not sponsoring the race. She tried to put a positive spin on things, emphasizing that pulling their sponsorship “was a really hard decision for Priority Health to make” and that the races were not dead yet if they can find an alternative title sponsor.

While this is true, and I want to be hopeful on this exciting inauguration day, I just have a hard time believing they will be able to find someone to step in. Perhaps if they cannot find someone to put in as much money as Priority Health, they could still get enough to make a smaller scale race happen. The downtown course is just such a fantastic place to watch a race!

I guess I will just console myself that “mostly dead is slightly alive.”

RIP 2009 Priority Health Grand Cycling Classic

In case you hadn’t heard, this two year old criterium through downtown Grand Rapids has been cancelled for 2009.  (EDIT: the ride isn’t cancelled yet, but will likely not be as large.  The Bissell Cycling team is still looking for sponsors to help put on a smaller event.)  According to the story by Grand Rapids Press’ Brian VanOchten (link to story), Priority Health pulled their title sponsorship because of the down economy. This race was a fantastic compliment to the other happenings downtown during Celebration on the Grand in September.

As yet another victim of the recession we are currently dealing with, I am very sad to see it go. However, I can understand Priority Health trimming their “fat” like many other companies are currently doing in anticipation of a slow 2009.  If you enjoyed the race and want to see them bring it back in the future, be sure to email Amy Miller at Priority Health and let her know! If they hear from enough people, it may influence their decision to bring it back in 2010.

Here are a few photos I took from the 2008 event:
IMG_5372 edit

IMG_5362

IMG_5336

You can find more photos on Flickr, both mine and taken by others.

And then there were three…

Two pedestrian bridges cross the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids, MI.   The blue railroad bridge that connects GVSU’s Pew campus to downtown, and the former Interurban train line that used to carry passengers across the Grand River and eventually on to Muskegon (if my history is correct).  I ride over each of them quite often as low traffic alternatives through downtown.

If all goes smoothly, there could be a third in 2010.

pedaglr_butterworth_dump_bridge
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoman311/3192689679/

This retired bridge connects the Black Hills neighborhood with the west side of GR. It creates easy access to the future park to be developed at the Butterworth landfill site (the big brown spots directly to the west of the bridge) and Kent Trails. This trail will connect south to the Plaster Creek trail, and will eventually provide a connection all the way from Wyoming to Kent Trails and Millenium Park. There is the long-term possibility of the riverside trail on the east side connecting south from Fulton all the way through the City of Grand Rapids facilities down to this trail, allowing easy, riverfront access from downtown to the Butterworth Landfill and Kent Trails.

Existing pedestrian bridges in green, the new bridge is in yellow.

pedaglr_butterworth_dump_bridge_map
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoman311/3192689677/

I was told that the city currently has this project out for bid. If the city receives a bid within their budget (this could be a big if, and one of the major roadblocks to the project), they will proceed with the renovation through next year, with project completion likely in the summer of 2010. There are some issues with lead paint on the bridge that will need to be addressed by the contractor.

This project provides an important link across the river in an area that doesn’t have a lot of options for conveniently crossing the river by bicycle or on foot. I can’t wait for it to be done!