That’s Weird, This Peach Tastes Like a Plum

Last Wednesday’s PedalGR ride kept a grin on my face the whole evening. We had a record crowd of over 70 bicyclists (too many to get an exact count) leave with us from Founder’s to tour the new Meijer Millennium Park Trail and Versluis Orchards.

The whole Versluis family, led by Nate and Shari, took us on a tour and we got to eat yellow plums, instead of peaches, right off the trees. Nate also shared some of the history of his family farm and told us about the special sweet corn they grow, nicknamed “Better than Sex” sweet corn.

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Molly Versluis

I’ll let the photos do the talking. To view a larger version of a photo, click the photo and then click the “All Sizes” icon above the picture.

Click for LOTS of photos!

PedalGR 8/20/08 teaser cadence

Yesterday’s ride was absolutely awesome! AWESOME! I’m so happy that so many people continue to show up to ride with us and have a great time! We had a record 36 riders.  Please continue to spread the word and bring your friends.

And a big thanks to Eric for the tacos. They were delicious! I’ll be going back to Tacos El Moroleon (on Grandville Ave, a bit south of Hall)  at a future date.

Thanks are also due to Duane and Thomas at the Motion Initiative Bike Co-op for a tour of their facility.  If you are looking to volunteer, this could be your place.  More info at: http://www.mibike.org.

Here are a few photos. I’ll post more info later. Click on a photo to view a larger version on Flickr.

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PedalGR 8/6/08 cadence

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PedalGR at La Grande Vitesse

Approximately 24 riders trickled in to the parking lot at Founder’s for last week’s PedalGR ride. The weather was looking great in the mid 70s and partly cloudy with a decent wind coming out of the west. We headed off through downtown, passing the Blues on the Mall festivities on our way to the Fish Ladder.

Continue reading “PedalGR 8/6/08 cadence”

PedalGR 7/23/08 cadence

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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On the outskirts of Blues on the Mall, we had pedicab and parrot sightings before the final stretch to Founders.

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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.

6/25/08 – PedalGR Cadence

For a ride that almost wasn’t, the 6/25/08 PedalGR ride went quite well. Amy and I arrived on the Contraption about 6:20 and were happy to see that a few people had showed. At 6:30 it started raining lightly, so we decided to get going. Better to be riding in light rain than standing around. At least the ground was dry. Pretty amazing considering the heavy afternoon rain we’d gotten.

The Blues on the Mall crowd was unsurpisingly smaller than normal as we passed by on Louis, headed north on Monroe. We headed north on Monroe, bypassing the much needed construction starting north of Leonard. We passed by Boardwalk Condos and the future home of the Beerstone Draft House, which I’m quite excited about.


Flickr.com photo by Major Clanger via Creative Commons license

We did have a crash while crossing some RR tracks on Taylor Ave that cross very parallel to the road. Just a reminder: cross all railroad tracks at as perpendicular an angle as possible. Luckily, no bodies or bicycles sustained more than minor scrapes.

After traveling northwards through Riverside Park, we headed past N Park St. into less treaded territory, riding through what seemed like a big floodplain with lots of trees and a few houses that seem to be in the news every couple of years when their residents get trapped by flood waters. We then turned northwards, going through many of the neighborhoods NW of the Cheshire business district. Many of the canopied streets are lined with large sycamores, beautiful trees and there are many interesting brick houses to view.

Heading back south we touched on the Creston business district and passed the Briggs Park pool, full of kids despite the cool, questionable weather. As we neared DeVos Place, it started to rain again as we passed Calder Plaza.

As we arrived at the Green Grand Rapids community meeting, we locked our bikes to the reasonably full temporary bicycle parking. Some had to leave for other obligations, but 6 of us headed inside to participate in the end of the meeting. We spoke for a short time with Suzanne Schulz, Planning Director for the City of Grand Rapids, and also met Clare Wade, a PR consultant helping the city with the Green Grand Rapids project.

photo courtesy Clare Wade

Photo courtesy of Clare Wade, http://www.clarewade.com/

Afterwards we headed back to Founder’s for the usual drinks, food, and fun.