This ride was my favorite PedalGR ride yet. Perfect weather, great turnout, great route, great orchard tour host. Except for a flat that refused to be fixed at the beginning of the orchard tour, this ride couldn’t have gone better! (and there are lots of pictures to prove it)
As usual, Amy and I rode up in the contraption 10 minutes early with a large group already gathering in front of Founders. We rolled out with 24 in our group and two more to catch up with us in a bit. We headed down Wealthy towards Kent Trail with our gang in tow. Got one of my favorite photos at the stoplight at Market.
Westward toward Millennium Park, we hit up the Kent Trail just past the Coca-Cola bottling plant. I’ve ridden that trail hundreds of times (it was on my daily commute for 5 months ), but it still is great fun nearly every time. The seasons are different and the flowers are different or the river is at a different level.
Every time I visit Millennium Park I think, “This place is awesome! and beautiful. I should really come here more often.” But, I still don’t get out there nearly enough. The photos speak for themselves. We stopped for our first short break on a deck overlooking one of the lakes.
We left the park and headed north to meet Nate Versluis at his house across from the orchard and sweet corn field. The climb up out of the Grand Valley on Maynard to O’Brien is one of the longer continuous hills in the area that I know of.
Nate and his wife Sherry and their kids were there to greet us when we arrived. Two of his daughters were going to join us for our tour. We headed a short way down the road before turning onto a the dirt/gravel/sand road that would take us through the orchard. Unfortunately, it was a little more sand than I had anticipated and a few of us on skinny tire road bicycles had to walk. Nate then explained to us that we should visit his family’s fruit stand on Lake Michigan Dr. in a few weeks to enjoy the super sweet and delicious “better than sex” sweet corn we were going to ride by.
After an extended break to fix a flat (the initial patch attempt failed), we headed on the original Versluis homestead on Maynard. TO THE PEACHES!
We then headed back toward Founder’s via Bridge St. But instead of going straight down the big hill, we went through the pedestrian tunnel on Sibley accessed from Ball Park Blvd. We headed down Lake Michigan Dr. and then across the blue pedestrian bridge with a beautiful view of the riverfront skyline.
On the outskirts of Blues on the Mall, we had pedicab and parrot sightings before the final stretch to Founders.
A big thanks to everyone that came and to the Versluis family for sharing their orchard and their peaches with us. This was my favorite PedalGR ride, yet! Keep showing up and bring your friends, especially those who might not get out on their bicycles without a good excuse.