There’s no two ways about it. PALM rocks.
I returned Friday from my second-annual week-long bicycling adventure across central Michigan. This year’s route began in South Haven, and made overnight stops in Ostego, Hastings, Eaton Rapids, Grass Lake, and Milan before concluding in Gibraltar. I thought all of the towns were great, but Hastings and Grass Lake deserve special mention for the fantastic job they did of welcoming the tour to their fair cities.
Realizing that a full, written report would bore you to tears, and that I’d never do the trip justice anyway, here’s the highlight reel in color glossies.
For those interested, the full set of pics is available in my flickr photostream (see the link to the right). Sorry there aren’t more. I intended to take three or four times as many, but, well, in short, I’m a loser.
So what was the best part? Six days with nothing to do but ride a bicycle? Getting an up close and personal look at the beautiful scenery and all the cool, little, old towns across central Michigan? Sleeping in a tent? The tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, accompanied by torrential rainfall and high winds, not once but twice? The century? The powdered eggs breakfast and the chafing? The countless pretty bikes? All the conversations with new acquaintances and fellow bicycle enthusiasts? The deepening of friendships with those you already knew before the ride? The watermelon stops and the licorice lady? The ice cream every single night? The über-yummy microbrews at the pub in Hastings? The five-dollar repairs from the tour mechanics? Nope, none of the above.
The best part of this year’s ride, in my humble opinion, is this: I’m all but certain that two or three, perhaps four, maybe even five of the riders in our gang, many of which were first-timers, have caught the cycling bug. Time will tell for sure. Unfortunately, there is as yet no known cure for this disease. The best one can do is manage the symptoms by riding as far and as often as possible.
As a community of riders, I’m calling on you to help them in whatever way you can. Notify them of group rides and other cycling events. Send them notices of sales at the local bike shop and links to online discount vendors. Discuss the things you’re reading about on blogs and in bicycling magazines within earshot of them. You know the drill. It’s imperative that they get their fix and that you feed their growing addiction nurture and support them as much as possible. Their fate might well be in your hands.
Now, back to work, so-called real life, and whatnot.