Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bike Ypsi--Cycling and Community

Cyclists gather at Recreation Park Pavilion in Ypsilanti, Michigan

Over the last couple of months a small group of Ypsilanti residents have been meeting regarding bicycle awareness in our sweet city. We came together because the police had announced that they would start enforcing the "NO BICYCLING ON SIDEWALKS RULE" in our two downtown areas. Well, in this town a lot of motorists don't know what a bicycle is, so shout outs like, "get on the sidewalk" are normal.

Since the police announced their enforcement intentions, it seemed like a perfect time to come together to raise awareness about where bicycles are meant to be--the road! By the way, the toughen up on enforcement came about cause drug dealing folks have been engaging in "criminal" behaviors via bicycles.

Our first step in making Ypsi a more bicycle friendly place was to plan a fall ride in order to have a fantastic time in this fair city of ours and to get a solid list of people who are interested in cycling in and around Ypsi. The culmination of this planning took place on Sunday, October 21 at 2:10 in the afternoon.

And the people they listen hard and contemplate it all

10/21 @ 2:10--Bike Ypsi(the ypsilanti bicycling coalition) Bike Ypsi's website--this constitutes people who are interested in all things bicycle related in Ypsilanti--put on our first ride. About 62 people turned out which was more than double what we expected. I cannot begin to tell you how amazed and happy I was as more and more people, of all ages, pulled up to the pavilion on bicycles of all shapes, sizes, designs, and kinds.

We broke into 3 very large groups (probably too large--but next time--there is always a next time) and we rode 17 miles entirely in the City of Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township.

Riding along a path by Ford Lake--yes there is a "Lake" in Ypsilanti

This was such a good example of community coming together. A small group of citizens pitching in their time, energy, creativity, and a bit of cash--no sponsors (not this time); simple, old fashion posting of fliers; word of mouth; use of email/myspace/and excellent local bloggers; and one brief article in the ann arbor news and we doubled our expected turn out. Of course, the weather was fucking amazing (super windy, but warm, sunny, blue skies at the end of October in MI). A little group came together and now we have fifty emails and more snail mail/phone contacts...

And we rode. And then we drank beer at the Corner Brewery, and socialized and thought about the next ride, and the next event, and the next time we could all come together as people enjoying one another's company.

At the Corner...

Okay, now I am teary eyed...this is the kind of place where i want to raise a wee sugarpatch into a kindhearted human.

Thanks, people of ypsi; you always come through...

For more reflections see:
Mark Maynard's Blog
Fine Bike Ypsi Organizer Georgina's Blog

Oh, the people...


birdy.j said...

yay bicyling! yay ypsilanti!

amanda said...

This is awesome! i hate it when folks thing i belong on the sidewalk!

Noya said...

Good for people to know.