Home > Editorial, The Playground, Visual Stimulus > How Do We Strengthen Our Communities?

How Do We Strengthen Our Communities?


How do we strengthen our communities?


We do what we love, unapologetically…And, we do it more often. 

“Reclaiming the Streets,” Traverse City’s Front St. During the Tweed Ride.

More images of Saturday’s casual can be seen here, here and here.

A group photo on the steps of the courthouse can be grabbed from the MyWHaT Flikr site and this image of bikes scattered throughout the lawn in front of the Governmental Center makes my heart sing.

More, like this, please.

  1. Greg
    May 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I could be wrong, but confused by a few of these pictures. In the first picture, I was thinking the law stated bikes cannot ride more than two abreast and stay as close to curb as possible. In the second picture it appears the bikes parked on the sidewalk would be impeding foot traffic or worse someone in a wheel chair.

  2. HiThere
    May 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    That’s not nearly the worst of it, Greg! This ride also went the wrong way on a one way street (7th), used a driveway/parking lot (Hagerty) as a cut-through from one street to another, had individual riders riding in the wrong lane on a two way street (Washington), and quite possibly had some intoxicated riders after stopping mid-ride at a wine bar.

  3. May 23, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    First of all, my girlfriend says the above comments are funny; perhaps that was the intent. Either way, I for one don’t apologize for being part of this dangerous group of well-dressed, two-wheeled scofflaws.

    For the vast majority of our daily lives motor vehicles dominate not only our public spaces, but also dominate adjacent private spaces in the form of consequential noise and air pollution. Our dependence on motor vehicles also dominates in terms of financial costs to society, both public and private, as we provide and mitigate for the automobile and its economy. I accept that; that is where we are. We, as drivers make that political statement on a daily basis.

    With that reality, however, it needs to be expected that every so often a group of positive-minded, community orientated people will gather in celebration of public space, self-reliance and freedom of assembly in a way that counters the norm.

    This was a ride called to order, given a route and then left to operate how the group naturally felt comfortable. People were responsible, orderly and very respectful of both ourselves and the people that we passed. At intersections, lead riders would often stop to talk with people in cars as the small band of tweed riders went through; typically, it was simply a reciprocal wave and a smile. I rarely see such a concentration of civility and community on our streets.

    This was an event to enjoy and enjoyed it was.

  4. May 23, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    My Heavens… it’s a miracle these people made it it around town armed with only with double barrels filled only with “please” and “thank you”.

  5. Todd
    May 23, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Bicycles are becoming widely used as a mode of transportation, especially considering this economy. A result of this event, intended or not, is greater awareness of the bicyclist in the mind of the automobilist. It would be nice to make it one summer without getting hit.

  6. May 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Well, I’ve several times seen an automobile driver stopped at the light at Front and State, in the wrong lane headed north towards the bay, accidentally thinking that State headed north was one way. Other drivers, walkers, bikers, whomever, we all accomodated, understanding the confusion. No one got angry, we all got along. Not that we should all take traffic laws with a grain of salt as suits our needs at the time, but it’s not always worth getting upset at harmless, well-intentioned human error. Choose your battles, people.

  7. May 24, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Great example Wendy.

    The reality is we all “massage” and “bend” traffic laws for various reasons, typically with wide community support: Are we going to ticket vehicles driving down the center of Front Street during the Cherry Festival parade? How about snowplows that roll stop signs? Or snowplows (public and private) that back-up into crossing traffic or drive the wrong way in order to move the snow off streets or sidewalks or private driveways? How about funeral processions staying together through red lights? Or the technically-illegally-parked city vehicles that stop to water the flowers in the traffic circles near my home? Or extra-wide farm equipment driving down a county road? Semis and delivery trucks requiring wide turns that put them over the center line? Cars that drive down the center of two-way streets in neighborhoods (rather than staying only on the right 50% of the pavement)?

    As a driver and a cyclist, I become aggravated with adults cyclists that ride on the sidewalks, run red lights, ride unpredictably etc. But the nature of the Tweed Ride does not fit into the “cyclist-as-a-scofflaw” window…let’s keep some perspective here.

  8. HiThere
    May 24, 2011 at 9:13 am

    You should listen to your gf and lighten your mood, good sir. We all know laws were broken that day, no one and nothing was harmed because of it, everyone was polite and had fun, even the motorists we came across. If someone had come along in a wheelchair there were about 100 people just outside that photo who I’m sure would have cleared the sidewalk within seconds. No harm, no foul. And we’re looking forward to doing it again next year. Til then, cheerio, me old china.

  9. May 24, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Great points, Mike. Well said.

  10. Greg
    May 24, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Thank You for the clarifications, it is ok to break the law (even teach the children to break the law) as long as the law breakers are having fun. I get it….

  11. May 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I’m feeling a sense of sarcasm in the air here on this thread, and in all seriousness, I think we need to take a look at the big picture here…

    Weather you are a cyclist, driver, walker, wheelchair user, or a mix of the above, you need to use (what I consider,…and welcome criticism) common sense of what happened with this ride through town. Mike C stated it well above, and I will reiterate much of what he said.

    This was a friendly procession of a group of bicycles through our downtown area. There was no harm intended, no hidden agendas about bicycles vs. cars, or law-abiding citizens vs. law-breakers. No, we are not saying “if we are having fun we can break the law”. No we are not saying “it’s ok to teach our children to break the law”. What we are saying is “embrace our community”.

    I consider us lucky that we can even think of doing something like this (Tweed Ride). It often wouldn’t work as easily in a big city. We are blessed to have a community like Traverse City.

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