For the past several weeks I've been helping out with the Ypsilanti Bycycling Coalition in our plan for a spring bike festival, which happened today. In a single word, it was completely Awesmoe.
The crummy weather we've been having lately cleared up, and we enjoyed an absolutely gorgeous day — sunny, warm, a perfect spring day. So I was happy as I biked from my apartment over to Recreation Park around 8:30 this morning. There were three rides: the long ride (30 miles), which has about 20 - 25 riders, the middle ride (15 miles) which had 40 or 50 riders, and then the community ride, a threeish or so mile loop through downtown Ypsi, which had to have had over a hundred riders. It was amazing watching this massive throng of people leaving Recreation Park heading down Congress towards downtown. One of the Ypsi PD bike patrol officers stopped by as the ride started and he just said "Wow". Afterwards we had booths with about a dozen organizations and local bike shops on hand, some grilling — hot dogs and veggie dogs, chips, fruit, water, snack mix (to give you an idea of how many people showed up, we started with 150 hot dogs and had to run for more). The mayor stopped by and said a few words. One of the Bike Ypsi people did a rodeo for little kids, taking them through an obstacle course. One of the more fun parts was doing the bike polo demonstration, and then having this throng of neighborhood kids all join in (Andy and I half-joked afterwards about forming a youth bike polo league).
All in all, a completely amazing day. We had close to 200 people show up, including people from neighboring towns and a couple that came up from Columbus to take part in the long ride. The day simply could not have been better (as I mentioned to a couple of the other Bike Ypsi people, next time we have to top this). An amazing about of thanks goes to all the folks to volunteered at booths, who donated food for the cookout, and to everyone who showed up. And I can't say enough about the Bike Ypsi folks — we did an amazing thing today, and I only wish I had started helping out even earlier. It is events like this, and the people who make them happen and who come out and support them, that make me absolutely love Ypsilanti.
Photos can be found here.
Post-script: so I don't forget (and as a way of publicly shaming us into doing it), Luke and I discussed organizing an alley cat in Ypsi this summer (I've always wanted to do one here, and Luke said he's promised himself to make one happen this summer). So, here's our reminder, and your hint to keep bugging us until it happens.