Posted in News on

Grand Rapids Sets New Record for 2017 Active Commute Week Participation

Active Commute Week

More Greater Grand Rapids employers and individuals than ever before have signed up to participate in the sixth annual Active Commute Week that begins Monday, June 12 and continues through Friday, June 16, The Rapid and the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition (GGRBC) announced today.

Whether it’s cruising on a bicycle or hopping on the bus, The Rapid is urging riders to give active commuting a try for this weeklong challenge, which offers individual participants and teams to earn points for using active transportation, including bicycling, walking, riding The Rapid, carpooling, running, long-boarding or inline skating.

“We congratulate all of the participants and volunteers who have helped make our 2017 Active Commute Week one of the most successful events we’ve enjoyed to date,” said Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid.

“One of our priorities is to raise awareness about the health, economic and environmental benefits of active travel,” Varga said. “Grand Rapids is a more vibrant community when we have a strong, connected network of transportation options.”

Currently, a new record of at least 44 employers and 380 individuals have enrolled to participate in Greater Grand Rapids’ 2017 Commute Week. At least 230 of the individuals who have registered are first-time participants. The organization list includes The Rapid, Steelcase, Grand Valley State University, Kent District Library, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Mobile GR and the City of Grand Rapids, and many more.

“The Grand Rapids Public Museum is thrilled to participate in Active Commute Week again in 2017,” said Kate Moore, VP of Marketing and PR. “The Museum is excited to take part in a community event that promotes an active lifestyle and sustainability to our visitors, employees and the community at large.”

The Metro Health System and the City’s Mobile GR are entering teams for the first time in Active Commute Week.

“Metro Health – University of Michigan Health is proud to support programs that are rooted in wellness,” said Michael Faas, chief executive officer of Metro Health. “Through our hospital, outpatient centers, and community clinic, we are proud to serve as a resource to the community and support programs like Active Commute Week which emphasize a healthy lifestyle and good stewardship of our environment.”

“This year, City workers are competing as a large organization; bring it on KDL! We’ll also be working (during the Challenge),” says Amanda Moore, a Mobile GR and Parking Services analyst. “For people unable to commit to the full work commute, we’re encouraging them to active commute to meetings or errands using the DASH, a free shuttle service that conveniently gets people around the downtown area.”

The Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition’s (GGRBC) Active Commute Week is the city’s version of National Bike to Work Week, which is part of National Bike Month that is recognized annually during May across the United States. GGRBC, The Rapid and city leaders rescheduled the event in Grand Rapids to June last year for the first time, and the hope that warmer weather would increase participation produced record-setting results.

In 2016, 35 businesses and organizations registered for the event, setting new records for participation. The 314 individuals who logged at least one commute through an online tracking system administered by The Rapid also set a new enrollment record last year. In addition, the more than 17,000 travel miles logged by the individual commuters set a new Active Commute Week standard. In all, 1,935 active commutes were logged during the weeklong event last year.

“Active transportation is perfect for any age, fitness level, commute length or occupation,” says Amy Duggan, GGRBC board member and chair of the Active Commute Week committee.

“That’s why we’re happy to promote an event that improves our quality of life in Grand Rapids as well as to help build a more respectful culture between bicyclists, motorists and active commuters,” Duggan says.

It’s fast, easy and free to register by completing the individual form. Please note the organization when signing up if applicable. Participants will be notified by The Rapid when their account is ready. Participants can track active transportation trips on the West Michigan RideShare site.

The deadline for logging trips is at 12:00 p.m. Friday, June 16, so results can be tabulated. Participants also have the opportunity to log their intended evening trips by noon Friday as well.

There’s more to this week than simply logging trips. Don’t miss these awesome Active Commute Week events:

Bicycle Fever presentation at The Pyramid Scheme: June 14, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Join Grand Rapids Public Library‘s Colleen Alles as she discusses the culture and climate of Furniture City’s obsession with bicycles at the turn of the 19th Century. View historic, one-of-a-kind primary documents such as photographs, publications, and newspaper articles. This event is free and open to the public.

Bike to Work Day Pit Stops: June 16, 7 a.m. – 9a.m.

Make your morning bike commute more enjoyable by visiting pit stops all over town welcoming featuring refreshments and giveaways. Check out the list of pit stops to visit for your Friday commute. Leave early enough and visit them all!

Handlebar Happy Hour: June 16, 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Long Road Distillers
Meet up with other active commuters to wrap up West Michigan’s sixth annual Active Commute Week! Door prizes will be up for grabs and Active Commute Week Challenge and Pit Stop winners will be announced.

If the reward of physical fitness and a chance to get out and enjoy the spring weather doesn’t have you sold, we hope we can sweeten the deal with some awesome prizes. Individuals and employer teams will be awarded for their active commutes based on who logs the highest number of total trips and the highest number of total miles for walking, cycling, riding the bus and carpooling. Prizes include $100 Meijer gift cards, bus passes, bike helmets and more!

Register here as an individual or employer and starting planning your commutes now.

The 2017 list of participating organizations includes:

—  Trinity United Methodist Church
—  Calvin College
—  Williams & Works
—  mLive
—  St. Thomas Church
—  Fulton Street Farmers Market
—  Kent County Parks Foundation
—  Balance First Fitness
—  Advantage Benefits Group
—  Mobile GR and Parking Services
—  Moosejaw Mountaineering
—  The Rapid
—  Catalyst Partners
—  Local First
—  Founders Brewing Co.
—  Long Road Distillers
—  Meijer
—  The Pyramid Scheme
—  BOXBoom Creative
Rapid Wheelmen
Grand Rapids Bicycle Co
Grand Valley State University
—  Priority Health
—  Metro Health University of Michigan Health Hospital
—  Kent District Library
—  Boston Square Community Bikes / Oakdale Neighbors
—  Disability Advocates of Kent County
—  GR Center for Community Transformation
—  Grand Rapids Community Foundation
—  Velocity USA INC
—  Brewery Vivant
—  Custer
—  Tower Pinkster
—  OST
—  Grand Rapids Public Museum
—  Rockford Construction
—  Spectrum Health
—  The Mitten Brewing Company
—  Great Lakes Coca-Cola
—  Health Plan Advocate
—  Thinkbox Creative
—  Carpe Diem GR
—  West Michigan Environmental Action Council


Posted in Places to Go on

Stay Cool This Summer at Grand Rapids Pools & Water Playgrounds

Grand Rapids Pool

Summer is almost here, which means that warm weather is sticking around. Stay cool during the last days of spring and all summer long by visiting the City of Grand Rapids pools and water playgrounds, which open this Friday, June 9, 2017. Too hot to walk or bike? Get on board one of The Rapid’s air-conditioned vehicles and we’ll get you where you need to go.

The city’s pools are located at Briggs Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Richmond Park. There are also a number of water playgrounds/splash pads scattered around the city. Adult residents will be charged $2 for open swim at pools. Children between the age of one and 17 can enter for $1. For nonresidents, it’s $4 for both adults and children. All babies under the age of one get in free. For those seeking to visit the pool regularly throughout the summer, for just $80 a family pool pass for up to six people will allow for unlimited swimming during open hours.

Swim hours, lessons and splash pad locations can be found on the city’s website. So grab your swimsuit, towel, and let us take you and your family to these swimming destinations:



Briggs Park is located at Lafayette and Knapp NE.
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 12:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 12:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Ride Route 11 to get there.


Located at Martin Luther King Jr. Park at Fuller and Franklin SE
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 12:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Routes 2, 5 & 19 can get you there.


This pool is located at Richmond Park at Richmond and Tamarack NW.
Hours: Monday – 12:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday – Saturday: 12:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Get on board Routes 7 and 9.













You can purchase passes for riding The Rapid on our website, at Central Station, TVM locations and at local retailers. Use The Rapid’s Trip Planning tool to find out the nearest stop and route to your chosen Grand Rapids water park destination.

Posted in Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille for Year-Round Military Discounts

Brann's Steakhouse and Grille

Delicious meals and great hospitality aren’t the only things Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille serves up daily. Memorial Day may be over but veterans and active U.S. Military members can receive discounts every day when dining at Brann’s.

Sizzling sirloin steaks, huge burgers and racks of ribs are just a few of the most loved item menus at Brann’s. And with four locations within our service area, Brann’s is the perfect transit and wallet-friendly destination for the whole family.

Discount We Love

Every Monday, Brann’s offers a 25 percent discount to veterans and active military members. Tuesday through Sunday, the discount for veterans and active military is 15 percent.

In order to qualify for the discount, veterans or active military members must show their veteran’s identification card, administration card, or another form of military identification while dining at any Brann’s location.

Transit-Friendly Brann’s Locations

—  Brann’s Leonard
401 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
—  Tommy Brann’s 
4157 Division Ave S, Wyoming, MI 49548
—  Brann’s Grandville
3475 Fairlanes Ave SW. Grandville, MI 49418
—  Brann’s Cascade
5510 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512

Plan your trip! 

We partner with FOX 17 to bring you budget-friendly destinations located steps away from Rapid bus stops. For more information on Brann’s menu items and locations, visit

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to Go: Festivals, Street Party and More this June

Local First Street Party Crowd

June is the month for festivals! Whether it’s a festival celebrating local art, Asian culture or just a street party, downtown Grand Rapids has it covered in the upcoming weeks.

Warm weather is here to stay. This month, keep your calendar full with a variety of outdoor activities and festivals with excitement for the whole family. Whether it’s exploring local art, rocking out to your favorite bands or catching a movie — The Rapid can get you there!

Festival of the Arts

Celebrate art and kick-off the summer with Festival of the Arts June 2-4! This free, three-day community event takes place in downtown Grand Rapids at Calder Plaza and features several stages of performances, a juried Regional Arts Exhibition and dozens of food booths run by nonprofit organizations. Plus, creative activities for children and adults to make their own art as well as purchasing art from West Michigan artists.  

BONUS: Every purchase at Festival from food to art to t-shirts and posters gives back to the West Michigan community.

Ride the Silver Line, 11, 13 and 50 to get there.

Local First Street Party

Ride with us for some fun in the street just a short walk away from Rapid Central Station. The14th Annual Local First Street Party takes place Saturday, June 3 from 3 p.m. to midnight outside of Bistro Bella Vita and is free to attend! Join us in celebrating the best of West Michigan’s local music, local food, local beer and local entertainment. This year you can expect a bubble and craft table, photo booth, henna tattoos and more.

Routes 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12 + can get you there.

Movies in the Park

Grab your blankets and chairs because the fifth season of Movies in the Park kicks off on Friday, June 2! This free outdoor movie event returns this year with a new LED screen and earlier start times, which means every night will feature two movies.

June’s movies include Zootopia and Star Trek on June 2 and Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and Pan’s Labyrinth on June 16. Just catch a ride to Ah-Nab-Awen Park. Free programming starts at 6 p.m. With DJ Adrian Butler and Gabriella de la Vega of WYCE’s El Mundo Musical. Local food vendors will also be available onsite.

Routes 7, 9 can get you there.

Opening of Pools & Water Playgrounds

Cool off at Grand Rapids pools and water playgrounds beginning on Friday, June 9. The city’s pools are located at Briggs Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Richmond Park. There are also a number of splash pads scattered around the city. Adult residents will be charged $2 for open swim at pools. Children between the age of one and 17 can enter for $1. For nonresidents, it’s $4 for both adults and children. All babies under the age of one get in free. For those seeking to visit the pool regularly throughout the summer, for just $80 a family pool pass for up to six people will allow for unlimited swimming during open hours.

Routes 2, 5, 9, 11 +  can get you there.

Active Commute Week

Challenge yourself to think actively about how you get around from June 12-16. During this one week challenge, compete as an individual or as part of an Employer Challenge Team. Awards and Prizes will be given to winning participants for commuting actively. The following forms of active transportation are acceptable and encouraged: cycling, walking, riding the bus, carpooling, running, longboarding and skating. Don’t limit yourself–use these forms of transportation for daily errands–not just going to and from work or school. Register now!

Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 + can get you there.

Uptown Grand Rapids Eat, Shop, Rock

Ride The Rapid to Uptown each Thursday throughout the month of June for four exciting fun-filled evenings. Uptown’s Eat Shop Rock will feature free entertainment in each of the four business districts from 6-9 p.m. Walk around, enjoy the live music, dig into delicious food, head to your favorite shop and explore all that Uptown has to offer.

Dates & Live Music Venues

– June 1: East Hills (ICCF- 920 Cherry)

– June 8: Eastown (Eastown Veterinary Clinic parking lot – 1350 Lake Dr. SE)

– June 15: Wealthy Street (The Winchester – 648 Wealthy)

– June 22: East Fulton (900 Block of East Fulton)

Routes 4, 5, 6, 14 + can get you there.

Thoroughly Modern Millie

From June 2-18, don’t miss the production of Thoroughly Modern Millie at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. The 2002 winner of six Tony® Awards including Best Musical, this musical will transport you to 1922 New York City. Millie Dillmount is searching for a new life and the draw of all things modern: bobbed hair, short hemlines, jazz music, and women entering the workforce. This musical is recommended for teens/adult audiences.

Routes 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15 can get you there.

2017 Grand Rapids Asian Festival

On Saturday, June 10, head to Rosa Parks Circle for Grand Rapids’ very first Asian Festival. This inaugural one-day event will showcase the different cultures, food, arts, music and more that Asia has to offer.

Join origami and chopsticks workshops as well as interactive dance performances representing cultures from Bollywood to Laos! Participating restaurants will be serving food from their regular menus with some exciting exclusive festival-only additions. There will be a large variety of entertainment from lion dances, martial arts demonstrations, singers, a local celebrity hairstylist, and a live Asian band.  This is a free, public event with fun for all ages.

Routes 6, 9, 11, 13 and the Silver Line can get you there.


Dust off your bike and put some miles on it this summer. You can  PedalGR meets on June 14 and June 21 for a casual-paced group social ride beginning at Founders Brewing Company. The rides average 9-11mph and are accessible to almost all rider skill levels. Routes change for each ride but there is often a stop planned somewhere along the ride.

Since Founders is located across the street from Rapid Central Station, this ride is very accessible. Just use our bike racks to bring your bike with you to Founders.

Baby & Me Tour

On Tuesday, June 27, the Grand Rapids Art Museum is inviting mothers, fathers, caregivers and grandparents in for an interactive tour and discussion inspired by the latest exhibitions and permanent collection. Expect a special kind of outing where no one minds if the baby lends their opinion with a coo or a cry. Strollers are permitted and carrying or babywearing is encouraged from patrons. This tour is free; visitors enjoy free admission every Tuesday at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Baby & Me Tours are perfect for children age 0 – 18 months. The tour will meet at the Visitor Services desk in the lobby. Reserve your spot online or by calling Visitor Services at 616.831.1000.

Routes 6, 9, 11, 13 can get you there.

Posted in News on

The Rapid + WGVU Morning Show: Walk, Ride + Roll for Active Commute Week 2017

Active Commute Week 2017

On May 15, we sat down with Shelley Irwin on the WGVU Morning Show to talk about Active Commute Week taking place June 12 – 16! Michael Bulthuis of The Rapid and Johannah Jelks of She Rides Her Own Way talked about the benefits of walking, riding and rolling for commuting.

Whether it’s by your own two feet, on two wheels or on the bus, active commuting isn’t just good for your health, it’s good for the community and the environment. Active Commute Week is all about encouraging individuals and organizations to challenge themselves to try an active commute for a week. There’s a trip challenge with exciting prizes, pit stops for Bike to Work Day and a final happy hour celebration at Long Road Distillers to close out the event.


It’s fast, easy and free to register by completing the individual form. Don’t forget to note your organization when you sign up if it’s applicable. You will be notified by The Rapid when your account is ready. Participants can track trips on theWest Michigan RideShare site. The deadline for logging trips is at 12:00 p.m. Friday, June 16, so we can tabulate results. Participants also have the opportunity to log their intended evening trips by noon on Friday.

Listen here for more details and benefits of Active Commute Week!

Posted in Events on

The Rapid Holds Job Fair to Recruit Bus Operators, Diesel Technicians and Administrative Staff

Rapid Central Station

Help keep your community moving! The Rapid is recruiting for several different job positions. We’re hosting a job fair to find exceptional candidates to join our award-winning team as bus operators, diesel technicians, tire technician and administrative assistant.

The job fair will take place on Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Rapid Central Station’s Community Room on the second floor, which is located at 250 Grandville SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

We offer competitive pay, great benefits, and the opportunity to work with a group of people who take pleasure and pride in making an important difference in the lives of others.


–  Starting wage is $17.91/hour
–  No experience necessary
–  No CDL necessary
–  Paid training
–  Valid Michigan Driver’s License
– Must have knowledge of the street and road system of the city.
–  Less than 4 pts on your license
–  Fluent in English


–  Starting wage is $20.56 + .45 shift premium
–  Second and third shift availability
–  One-year minimum experience
–  Electrical
–  Engine
–  Transmission
–  Brakes
–  Suspension, etc.


–  Starting wage is $20.56 + .45 shift premium
–  Third shift
–  One-year minimum experience
–  Wheel & tire inventory control
–  Wheel & tire inspections
–  Repair suspension components
–  Wheel bearing adjustments
–  Mounting tires, etc.


–  Starting Wage is $13.69 (26-32 hours/week)
–  One-year minimum experience
–  Microsoft Office Suites experience
–  Strong organizational skills
–  Excellent communication skills
–  Responsible for a high volume of filing & scanning
–  Highly confidential environment


Date: Saturday, June 3, 2017
Time:  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: Rapid Central Station, Second Floor Community Room
250 Grandville Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

More information on these positions is available online at If you can’t make it to these job fairs but are still interested in applying, applications are accepted Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at our Administrative offices located at 300 Ellsworth Avenue SW in Grand Rapids.

The Rapid is an equal opportunity employer and encourages minorities and women to apply.

Posted in News on

Uber + Transit Collaborate to Benefit Rapid Riders

Uber App

Good news for Android Transit app users! Ride-sharing app Uber and real-time public transportation app Transit have collaborated to launch a new feature to benefit Rapid riders.

Uber noticed many of its users are using the service in conjunction with public transportation.On Tuesday, May 16, Uber and Transit launched their collaborative effort to benefit those who appreciate a variety of mobility options in the 47 cities throughout the U.S. Uber now automatically recognizes whenever a rider’s end destination is at or near a public transit stop and displays upcoming departure times.

Get Started

Make sure you have both Uber and the Transit app downloaded on your Android smartphone. Once installed,  tap on the display to open the public transit navigational app for directions, service disruption updates and more.

The hope for this collaboration is to make it easier for people to get from A to B and to eliminate the need to shuffle between various different apps, according to a blog post from Andrew Salzberg, Uber’s head of transportation policy and research.

“At both Uber and Transit, we envision a future in which every journey is shared using a combination of transit options,” Salzberg writes.

The ultimate goal, he writes, is to create better-connected cities, a viable alternative to car ownership and reduced traffic and parking concerns.

“While there’s still much more work to do, we’re excited that our integration with Transit can help us get one step closer to this reality,” Salzberg writes.

Outside of Grand Rapids

The Transit app works with a number of different public transit options in each participating city.

Here in Grand Rapids, it provides real-time data from The Rapid. In Detroit, the app draws information from the Detroit Department of Transportation and Transit Windsor. In Ann Arbor, the app draws its information from The Ride transit service and from U-M Transit.

Though further expansion is expected in the future, Uber’s new service is currently only available on Android devices and only in 47 U.S. metropolitan areas.


Posted in Rider Stories on

There’s More to the Ride: Brad’s Story

Brad at the Grand Rapids Ballet

“The Rapid means freedom, independence, self-possession. It gives me the ability to get out in the community, meet other people, be involved and to do the things that I enjoy doing.”

We recognize people know The Rapid as Grand Rapids public transportation system. But there’s more to The Rapid than buses on the street or the bus stops and shelters you see in your neighborhood.

Last year, we provided 11.5 million rides. That’s a big number. It’s easy to forget that every ride is taken by a person, a person with a story. Through our new educational campaign, we are providing glimpses into the lives of a few of our riders. We asked them to share – in their own words – how The Rapid is a part of their lives and a part of the fabric of our community, and now we want to share those stories with you.

Meet Brad, a Grand Rapids citizen, and rider. He uses The Rapid’s fixed-route buses and GO!Bus service to get where he needs to go. When Brad learned that he had a degenerative eye disease, he began looking for a community with a strong public transportation system that could allow him to remain independent. He found that, and so much more, in Grand Rapids.

When Brad learned that he had a degenerative eye disease, he began looking for a community with a strong public transportation system that could allow him to remain independent. He found that, and so much more, in Grand Rapids.

Posted in News on

Bus Operator of the Month: April 2017

Each month, we have the opportunity of honoring a Rapid Bus Operator who has gone above and beyond in their job to keep the community moving. These bus operators are nominated by their peers and awarded by the Transportation Department for their hard work and dedication.

Bus Operator Maggie H.



I started my driving career in 1979/80 with the public schools. However, I just celebrated 10 years this past January with The Rapid. That’s a total of 38 years as a driver!


I like the passengers best–young, old, rich poor–I have love for them all.


Music of all types is a great backdrop to my life as I grew up in a musical family. I like to sing and play my saxophone when I have the time. Aside from music, I’m an idealist. I’m passionate about imagining a world where people treat each other right, where love prevails.

Congratulations, Maggie! Thank you for all you do.

Posted in Rider Stories on

Rider Stories: I Didn’t Choose the Bike Life. The Bike Life Chose Me.


The following is written by Ken Miguel Cipriano, a Grand Rapids citizen and Rapid rider.

From biking around Burton Heights with my brother and neighbor in the late 90’s to present day bombing down Division heading downtown on my way to work, biking around town was my first form of alternate mobility. What’s the saying about your first love? You never forget them?

I’ve made it a part of my life to walk, bike, and ride public transit. Sure it saves me a ton, and I mean a ton of money, but that’s not the main reason I do it. I do it in part to relate to my father. Wherever I go I try and retrace my father’s footsteps when he first came to this country, all alone. Whether it’s walking all of Grand Rapids (my father used to walk past 44th street) or walking all of Manhattan. I do it to connect to how my father felt in a foreign land with no money or transportation. I do it to connect to my surroundings.

That’s exactly how it feels when you walk, bike, or take public transit! You see your city with new eyes. You notice the street level features of your block, you notice the different smells certain neighborhoods have, you notice which neighbor is the bravest to start grilling on a 40-degree day in early spring. You start to realize how large your city can be if you literally stop to smell the roses.

So let me drop some knowledge you may or may not know about going carless. When going straight home after work, a rarity, I average about 17 minutes on my bike. That’s Center City to the southside, about three miles in rush hour traffic. Jealous yet? The other nights I have meetings or events to attend I pull out my phone and check the ETA on the bus routes. If I’m going to the westside I like to hop on the DASH and either walk, if I have time, or bring my bike and pedal. Going east is easy so I just hop on the Route 6. Southbound is my favorite because if I miss the Silver Line, I just walk over to the Route 1 and it usually arrives right as I walk up.

Zoning out on the bus is possibly my second favorite thing to do when I’m commuting. Listening to music and just looking out the window or people watching helps me to just unwind and be present. Then there’s jumping on two wheels and going fast!

So you might be thinking to yourself, but Ken how do you bike to work, go to meetings, and do activities? Check the pictures below for my must carry when riding my bike. There is work mode, chill mode, and soccer-mom mode. Also, I’m the captain of a local team for the Grand Rapids Champs League, so I haul all the goodies!

Ken's Bike Bag for Work

Work mode:

   – Converse Chuck’s keep my feet breathing and feel best in my bike’s toe cages.

   – Backpack to keep my laptop, portfolio, and work clothes.

   – Waterproof bag, because getting caught in a downpour really sucks for your gadgets.

   – Boombotix Bluetooth stereo for blasting vibes

   – Gloves to save me from getting road rash again. Never again…never again.

   – Phone holder for checking my phone when friends change plans and send me to the other side of town, thanks, guys…

   – Wallet with my ID, credit card, and 31- day pass, because Division has so much glass that you’re bound to catch flats. Nothing is worse than catching a flat and realizing you either forgot your bus pass or it expired.


Ken's Bike Bag
Chill mode:

   – Converse Chuck’s not getting paid to say this they’re just extra comfortable for riding

   – Backpack usually for a sweatshirt and an extra tee

   – Boombotix for playing better music at the light than the car next to me. People don’t play enough 2pac.

   – Gloves

   – Wallet

   – Phone holder

Ken's Soccer Bike Bag

Soccer Mom mode:

   – 150 Liter Base camp waterproof bag

   – Soccer ball, futsal ball, ball pump

   – Futsal shoes, Soft ground cleats, turf shoes, socks

   – 2 one-gallon Gatorade jugs, because we drink at least that much.

   – First aid kit, cones, extra jerseys

   – Gloves

   – Wallet

   – Phone holder

So now you know why you should ride your bike, and I just let you know what you should bring while on your bike, all that’s left is to tell you how to ride your bike around the city. Spoiler alert…go fast.

You can find two kinds of cyclists, one who usually bikes on trails and country roads or the ones who stick to the city. Since I stay away from all the SUV madness on country roads, here are a few tips for riding in the city:

   1. Say goodbye to Midwest Nice: Your safety is of the utmost importance. So be loud and be seen. If you’re driving recklessly around me you’ll hear a loud and long “AAAAYYYYOOOOO!” or “ YO YO YO”. Either way, I try to make sure to be heard, and I’m not afraid to give a car a love tap when they inch over too much.

   2. Move fast. This one might feel counterintuitive but once you’re out on Fulton or Division and you’re pedaling at 5 mph it feels scarier as cars zoom past you because of your relative speed to them. 

   3. Helmet and gloves. You don’t want to gash your head or hands up

If you see me and my 150L bag zipping by in the city be sure not to honk, just roll down your window and give me an “AYO” We need to keep these streets friendly, it’s always good to have another friend and set of eyes out there.

See you on the blacktop.


Ken Miguel Cipriano has lived in Grand Rapids since 1990. He works for Silicon Valley-based startup but holds his office here in downtown Grand Rapids. He likes to pull weeds, practice Muay Thai, watch Indie Films, and get in arguments. Ken has slept on a park bench overnight in Boston in the fall and has walked NYC all night because he didn’t have enough money for a hotel. You can see Ken riding down Division on his bike, running around the Southside, or on every bus line across the city.

Learn more about bicycles on The Rapid here.