I believe this was Michigan's first Tweed ride, at least in the last 90 years or so. As we rolled into Grand Rapids the picture was bleak, with periods of downpour and rain showers. Nonetheless, we mounted our bikes and rode over to the Winchester to meet whoever was brave enough to show up. The rain began to lessen as we neared the pub, giving us a bit of hope.
It turned out that a couple of guys from the British Bicycles of Chicago (BBC) came out to support the ride. The rain had scared off some of the less committed, but we still had a solid 10 well-dressed riders. The Winchester provided the warmth we needed for the ride, and the Sun came out to provide a beautiful backdrop at last.
We set off on a light cruise around downtown Grand Rapids, and I was struck by just how nice the city is. It's small, but the buildings are an interesting mix of old and new, the streets are in decent shape, there is bike parking, and the current Artprize contest has brought a lot of interesting art to the downtown area. Just riding around the city was a great way to spend the afternoon.
As expected, our group drew a lot of attention from curious onlookers. Many people stopped us to ask if we were part of Artprize, or what we were riding for. One of them lectured us about how none of us were wearing helmets, telling a story about how she had once hurt herself pretty badly while wearing a helmet. We smiled, nodded, and continued on our way.
Eventually we ended up at the Ritz Koney Island, a bar/ Coney combo. Amanda, the organizer, tried to prepare us by saying how it was a bit of a dump, and kind of dull. Turns out it's a great spacious pub with a good jukebox that just happens to serve delicious hot dogs and brats. She really undersold it. After copious libations we packed it in, and headed home. Despite the small turnout we had a great time, and can't wait to do it again.
Rainbow Falls on the Black River
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