Riders hit the streets for the Crim Fitness Foundation's annual bicycle race. This year the event is being transformed into Flint Cycle Fest with different distances and routes. Courtesy photo
FLINT, Michigan — A new community festival is coming to Flint — showcasing the reach of bicycling in Vehicle City while also celebrating the area’s trails, social rides and bike culture≥
The first Flint Cycle Fest is set for 2 p.m. June 9 in downtown Flint.
The Crim Fitness Foundation is partnering with Recycle Bike Shop, Social Cycling Flint, Flint River Watershed Coalition and mixed-use transportation advocates to host the event, which includes a bicycle tour around the city.
The event replaces the Tour de Crim, the Crim Fitness Foundation's annual bike race that featured a fun ride and optional obstacle courses along the 10-mile Crim road race route.
“The strong cycling culture that continues to grow throughout Flint and Genesee County,” said Theresa Roach, active community manager for the Crim Fitness Foundation. “Whether people ride bicycles for fun or as a primary mode of transportation, the number of riders is increasing. … We’re eager to encourage cycling as a sustainable and effective way for people to get around, to have fun and be active.”
Flint Cycle Fest will feature rides of 3 miles, 10 miles, or 20 miles — along “some of Flint’s most interesting and beautiful areas,” said Andy Younger, Crim race director. The routes include portions of the Genesee Valley Trail and the Flint River Trail.
The festival highlights the need for and community’s support for non-motorized mobility options, Roach said. She sees cycling a social opportunity and social justice issue. Owning a vehicle is simply not possible for many families living in poverty, Roach noted, “so having a safe option to get where you need to go is important.”
The rides will begin at General Motors historic Factory One and end with a party in Carriage Town Neighborhood Square with drinks supplied by Tenacity brewing.
The event is bringing together Flint’s leaders in bicycling culture, all to highlight the benefits of two-wheeled transportation.
“My top thing about biking is that it puts me in a higher space. I like the way my synapses connect,” said Angela Stamps, program coordinator of Berston Bicycle Club. “Cycling is spiritual for me, you know the physical benefits are an added bonus. I just think of all the people I’ve met, the places I’ve gone, and think of the experience,” she said. “In a car I wouldn’t have necessarily met all of these people.”
Founder of Social Cycling Flint, Danny Moilanen says biking brings people together and highlights our community in a special way. “At the end of the day, you get a totally different perspective exploring neighborhoods on a bicycle than you do in a car,” he said.
Moilanen started Social Cycling Flint in May 2012 as a way to have fun and have Flint’s own version of popular party rides in other Michigan cities. “You see the city at a much different pace, you notice the subtle details, the little nooks and crannies that exist in our community.”
Recycle Bike Shop will be on hand during Flint Cycle Fest to handle any maintenance and repair needs. Kassy Mason, co-owner of Recycle Bike Shop, sees bicycling as a piece of economic development.
“Cycling can help you grow a whole community,” she said. “Adding bike racks and better infrastructure for safe transportation can help local businesses … When you have a quick an easy option to get from point A to B and bike rack to park, you explore and invest in your community.”
For more information visit www.crimraces.org. Registration is $15, proceeds will go to benefit safe cycling initiatives in the city. All rides start at 2 p.m. on Water Street in Carriage Town.