Photo credit: Linda LaNoue, 2015

Ride, Ride, Ride! Community bike rides offer recreation, camaraderie

It’s biking season Michiganders, and there’s no better way to get out on your bikes than with your fellow townies.

Regularly scheduled community rides bring folks together to exercise, make new friends, connect with old friends, and often encourage the next generation of bike riders to get pedaling.

Depending on the size, group rides typically have leaders and “corkers” that watch for traffic, direct the ride, and keep everyone safe and together. Rides vary in length, difficulty and number of cyclists, but most are focused on leisure activity and fun – and are not intended to be hardcore workouts.

Here’s a round-up of Mode Shift favorites:

TC Rides, Traverse City Wednesdays, June 1 – August 31, 2016 Gather: F and M Park (ends at The Little Fleet on Front St.) Meet: 5:45 p.m. Depart: 6:00 p.m. Average Ride: one hour Photo credit: Norte!

TC Rides, Traverse City
Norte! is a nonprofit that’s all about making Traverse City bikeable and getting more kids on bikes. The group’s summertime community ride, TC Rides, revolves around fellowship, fun and being active on two wheels. Peddling through old neighborhoods and along West Grand Traverse Bay and Boardman Lake, the group follows the same weekly route, so folks can join up anywhere along the way. Ending at The Little Fleet, a bar with food trucks on the periphery, riders can enjoy snacks and drinks, with a dollar of each purchase going to support Norte’s youth programs.


Community Bike Ride Program, Albion Saturdays, June 4 – October 1, 2016 (bi-weekly) Gather: City Hall (ends at Stoffer Market Plaza) Meet: 8:45 a.m. Depart: 9:00 a.m. Average Ride: 45 minutes to an hour Photo credit: Linda LaNoue, 2015

Community Bike Ride Program, Albion
A 2015 bike awareness program – along with a push for a healthy community through healthy living – triggered the start of this community ride late last year. The program is free and was designed to be inclusive of all residents – from families to individuals wanting exercise or hoping to meet new people. Routes vary by week, often passing by parks, rolling along the Albion River Trail that skirts the Kalamazoo River, and cruising by historic sites, through neighborhoods, and around the Albion College campus.

Palmer Park Ride, Detroit Thursdays, April 7 – October 27, 2016 Gather: Splash Park parking lot off Merrill Plaisance Meet: 6:30 p.m. Depart: 7:00 p.m. Average Ride: 1 hour Photo credit: Henry Ford II

Palmer Park Ride, Detroit
People for Palmer Park volunteers orchestrate this ride, which started in 2012 with just eight riders. Today, it attracts up to 300 – older adults, school-aged children, singles, couples, and families. The group circles the park, cruising through surrounding Detroit neighborhoods, including the Palmer Woods, New Center, and Boston Edison. Hoots and hollers, bell-ringing, and a brisk clip keep this group charged up.


B.A.R.S. (Bicycling Awesome Riding Society) of Bay City Thursdays, May 5 – late October, 2016 Gather: Wenonah Park Meet: 7:15 p.m. Depart: 7:30 p.m. Average Ride Length: 1.5 hours (includes midway stop at local business) Photo credit: B.A.R.S. of Bay City

B.A.R.S. (Bicycling Awesome Riding Society) of Bay City
Started last spring with a 25-rider turnout, the B.A.R.S. of Bay City community ride drew 300 people by the end of the season. The popular ride has a different route every week, but always starts in the same park alongside the Saginaw River. A food/beverage stop at a local restaurant or bar midway through the ride offers additional time for socializing – and refueling.


Whether started by bike-loving individuals, bike organizations, or local governments, community rides offer a stress-free way for both casual and experienced riders to enjoy fresh air and exercise. And, they are a natural platform for making friends – all in the name of recreation and fun.

Take Action jpg

TAKE ACTION: Join a community ride in your city or town. Can’t find one? Mode Shift will be sharing tips for organizing your own community ride next week.



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