PedalGR Rides Again.

Tacos? Did somebody say tacos? A  PedalGR Taco Ride.

Tacos? Did somebody say tacos? A PedalGR Taco Ride.

For 11 years now, Joshua Duggan has hosted a bi-weekly bicycle ride during the summer called PedalGR. It’s an easy, conversation paced social ride that meanders through unique and unusual places in and around Grand Rapids. Typically 12-17 miles, it’s a no-drop ride that starts and ends at Founders Brewery. Destinations en-route have included inner city gardens, City and County Parks, Blandford Nature Center, farms/orchards, ice cream stands, taquerias and last year even a memorable tour of the Grand Rapids Wastewater Treatment Plant. Little known pathways and iconic landmarks are sprinkled in wherever possible. It’s fun, you meet people and learn things about our city as well as a bit of bicycling knowledge. PedalGR is a ride of the Rapid Wheelmen Bicycle Club but membership is not required to participate. Helmets however are required and lights are encouraged as some rides go just beyond twilight. PedalGR rides follow all traffic laws and encourage riders to ride safely. Maybe the best part, it always ends at Founders Brewery for hydration, food and friendship. Some of the riders have been riding along since the ride was started 11 years ago.

The first ride of this season is already planned for Wednesday, April 24. The rides happen every other Wednesday throughout the summer and leave Founders at 6:30pm for a couple hours riding. To find out more, you can like PedalGR on Facebook or visit pedalgr.com, and get a brief preview of each ride beforehand. Nobody gets left behind, they’re free, friendly and fun to ride.

Riding to and through the Grand Rapids Bike Park on the SW side.

Riding to and through the Grand Rapids Bike Park on the SW side.

A Versluis Farms visit in August usually includes a few sample tastings.

A Versluis Farms visit in August usually includes a few sample tastings.







Grand Rapids 5 Foot Passing Ordinance - Reminder.

Radar measuring equipment and video recorder used to document passing motorists.

Radar measuring equipment and video recorder used to document passing motorists.

In 2015 Grand Rapids passed a city ordinance requiring motorists to leave a minimum of 5 feet between cars and cyclists when cars pass on streets. In years since, it’s been accompanied by media programs to inform the public, using billboards, city bus graphics, social networks and news media. Motorists and cyclists have both benefitted from those programs. Good stuff and a great city.

In the spring of 2018, a study was initiated to measure passing clearances between cars and bicycles so results of the latest media program might be evaluated. 6 riders were part of the study and they used distance measuring radar on their bicycles as they rode city streets in all 3 wards. Findings of the study were regularly published on signs around town and noted anywhere from 69-83% compliance with the 5 foot passing distance by motorists. The study period ran from June 2018 through January 2019.

During nearly the same time as the study, the Grand Rapids Police Department used their own riders and assisting officers in police cruisers to measure and begin enforcement of passing clearances. They pulled over 146 motorists and issued warnings about the new ordinance. 3 motorists were ticketed when the officers sensed it was appropriate for the situation. On several occasions the GRPD actually pulled motorists over by catching up to them on bicycles. That’s an interesting concept.

All in all, last years media program and study results were interpreted as positive for cyclist-motorist interactions. During 2018, car-bicycle accidents were the lowest since 2008 and we had zero fatalities of cyclists in the city. So if you’re in a car, here’s a reminder to please leave 5 feet minimum clearance when passing cyclists. If you’re on a bike, please obey traffic laws like motorists and be careful out there. If we all do that, maybe we can get even better results this year.

Test equipment in use. Police use a similar setup.

Test equipment in use. Police use a similar setup.


30 Days of Biking Pledge

A really nice April ride.

A really nice April ride.

Maybe you’ve done this before - it’s a great way to kick start your cycling season. The idea: Make a pledge to ride your bike every day in April and share your experience on social media with the hashtag #30daysofbiking. Maybe #bikeGR too.

To quote from the 30 days of biking website: “There’s no minimum distance - down hill and around your garage count just like a 20 mile commute or 350 mile charity ride. If you miss a day, no worries. Just keep riding and don’t give up! It’s all for giggles, or as serious as you want it to be. What matters is that we’re all in this together. And yep, spin class counts!”

I really like that this is easy to do and it motivates me. Confession time: I’ve simply ridden around the block once on a miserable wet day. OK. I maybe did that twice but I made it out every day of the month. Rumor has it that one of the GGRBC board members even rode in their pajamas when they’d almost forgotten and it was nearly bedtime. No matter - it’s fun and nobody will check up on you. It feels so good to get back outside on a bike - maybe even in shorts on a nice sunny day. The hardest part is getting started and out the door. An added bonus I found out this year - those rainy day spin classes count too! YES!

You can enter and make a pledge officially at www.30daysofbiking.com. Or just share your experience informally on social media. Challenge your friends to pledge too. Double dog dare them. Triple dog dare them. Take photos. Write stories. Pump up those tires and have fun. Start your season off with a smile and make sure to tag whatever you share with #30daysofbiking and #bikeGR. Happy riding.

It might be warm and sunny with a friend.

It might be warm and sunny with a friend.

Or maybe like April 15, 2018 at Too Tall’s Ice Cream.

Or maybe like April 15, 2018 at Too Tall’s Ice Cream.