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Motorcycle event gets a thumbs up in West Michigan

Motorcycles coming to West Michigan this summer
Ped Saunders
Creative Commons
Motorcycles coming to West Michigan this summer

Grand Rapids City Commission gave their support to a big motorcycle event scheduled to take place this summer. Organizers of a new big motorcycle rally were able to coax commissioners into supporting a shortened version of the original event.

Organizers of "River City Bike Week" originally wanted a seven day event that was to attract up to 60,000 bikers. But concerns over noise, traffic and disruption of business forced a compromise of shrinking the event to 3 days in the downtown area.

Today, the city commission said, 'how about something more like a "River City Bike Weekend" event?'

They approved a three-day event scheduled to take place July 22nd through the 24th.

Special traffic routes to reduce noise and running the event on only one business day – Friday – was key to the compromise. So was clear communication on what exactly the event would be, co-founder Mark Mensch said.

"The stigma of the bikers is still out there. You know those shows on TV don’t represent what the motorcycle enthusiast really is nationwide in the last 5 years and how that demographic has changed dramatically."

Organizers say the biker event will attract tens of thousands of bikers to Grand Rapids and concerts will be held at the Van Andel Arena over the weekend.

Muskegon will hold a biker event the weekend before the Grand Rapids event (MuskegonBike Time), and Martin, Michigan plays host to Michigan Chopperfest the same weekend; so West Michigan will likely be revving with motorcycles for a week in July

Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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