My husband got interested in triathlons two years ago. Before his first triathlon last summer, he had to get all the equipment—the wetsuit, the running shoes, and the bike. I’ve always loved biking, but since we’ve been adults, neither he nor I have owned a decent bike. So we bit the bullet and bought ourselves some nice new shiny grown-up street bikes.
We are very lucky to live where we live. While it’s technically not within city limits, it is very close to three great biking trails. One trail we can take all the way into the next town, giving us about a 20-mile trip there and back.
It’s one of my favorite workouts, riding outside with him. It feels more like fun outdoor playtime than it does a workout. The constant breeze cools me down as I push hard and fast on the pedals. We race each other on the straightaways and joke and talk and laugh throughout. I almost forget that it’s exercise.
Grand Rapids is definitely the place for bikers. Over the five years, the city has really been making an effort to install useable bike lanes on a lot of downtown streets and constructing good quality bike trails in the outskirts. There are a ton of bike events and group rides that happen in the city.
There are lots of great resources for bike riders in Grand Rapids. Central District Cyclery is right downtown and offers bike repair services. The Spoke Folks educates riders about bike maintenance and the rules of the road; they allow members to come use their tools and fix their bikes on their own.
This summer Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. installed bike repair stands throughout the city. If city bikers get a flat or need to tweak something, they have the resources available right there along their bike route to fix such issues for free.
The newest addition to Grand Rapids’ bike scene is a bike share program. On one of my many recent walks downtown, I noticed bikes parked with the Spokefly logo on them. Using the Spokefly app, people can get the lock combination, pay, and borrow bikes to ride around the city.
I don't see our love for biking dying out anytime soon. And lucky for us, Grand Rapids will give us the support we need to keep biking safely.