BY KATHY KANE
When it comes to cycling, David Nall, president of the Downriver cycling club, is a picture of health and contentment. A Riverview resident but active member on the Healthy Trenton coalition, Nall has been instrumental in his ideas for bike lane and bike safety in Trenton. He led the first Memorial Day ride in May of last year and has led Downriver Cycling club for the last five years.
The cycling group has been around since 1978 and currently has 90 members. Their biggest event is The Metro Grand Spring Tour, which riders can cycle up to 100 miles and raises money for their various charities. Members also get a club banquet, ice cream ride, and an end of the year ride included in their dues.
Members also look forward to weekly rides all seasons at a variety of skill levels. There is also an annual camping trip to Traverse City.
“I just did the ‘Vitamin Donut Ride’ in January which is an 80 mile tour in Birmingham. Ann Arbor hosts the worst day of the year ride, which is five to 12 miles in the snow.” Nall said. “Five hundred people showed up this year since there was no snow and it was 40 degrees.”
They ride on cobble stone, gravel, dirt paths and are one club of thousands of clubs nationwide. Safety is the No. 1 priority and Nall hopes to educate automobile drivers to share the road as bikes are considered a vehicle that are allowed on the same streets as autos and motorcycles. Their speed riders always train single file and stay visible, requiring lights and helmets of all participants.
Interestingly, bike paths actually don’t work for high speed bikers as they ride too fast and the most collisions actually have happened on a bike path or sidewalk.
Nall’s favorite road is the strip of street on Hamilton Road from Highland Park to the New Center Area in Detroit. It is a seven lane highway, but really a road less traveled and recently paved.
“We find really cool things along the way, every time we ride,” said Nall. “We have found Motown named streets and a ‘street of dresses’ – not to be confused with a street of addresses.”
Nall estimates he puts on about 5,000 miles a year as he bikes almost every day and participates in events every weekend year round. In 2016 he actually tracked 5,525 miles.
“My wife indulges me as I collect biking gear like auto enthusiasts collect cars. But it’s a healthy outlet for both of us.” Nall said.
For information on national biking news, visit lmb.org or how to join the Downriver club at http://www.downrivercycling.org; there is also a Downriver Cycling Facebook page.