BFK’s Fall Bike Celebration 2020 will be held on the third weekend in September, 2020 (Sept. 18-20, 2020). BLACK FRIDAY/Super Early Bird RIDE Registration for 2020 OPENS November 29, 2019! Go to our BIKEREG site to register for the RIDE, which will be on Sunday Sept. 20, 2020.
In the meantime, most of the information below applies to 2019. This page will be updated in 2020 with a new schedule of events for the entire weekend.
At a Glance
Friday, September 20, 2019
- Fire up for the coming autumnal equinox! (Vicksburg, MI; all day)
- Bring your Frisbie Golf Discs! (7am-10:15pm)
- Vicksburg Historic Village (1-5pm)
- Guided Walking Tour & Presentation: Vicksburg Quilt Trail (2-3:30pm)
- Vicksburg Farmers Market (2-6pm)
- The Mill at Vicksburg Mill Project Self-Guided Tours (4-6pm)
- Pre-Registration Packet Pick-Up (6-8pm)
- Ice Cream Social at Apple Knockers Ice Cream Parlor (6-8pm)
- Enjoy Live Music & Dining
Saturday, September 21, 2019
- Fall Bike Celebration Ride (Many Routes, Vicksburg Middle School; 7:30am-3pm)
- Awards & Recognition Social Hour / Dinner (Creekside Grille, Vicksburg; 6-9pm)
Sunday, September 22, 2019
- Public Bike Art Prize Award Ceremony (Prairie Ronde Art Gallery, Vicksburg; 2pm)
- Vicksburg Historic Village (1-5pm)
Friday, September 20, 2019
Signing up is easy! Register through BikeReg to take advantage of online pricing or pay in person on Ride day or at the door at Dinner (tickets limited).
Fire up for the coming autumnal equinox!
(Vicksburg, MI; all day)
Start your Fall Bike Celebration Weekend in the quaint and friendly Village of Vicksburg, MI. This charming Southwest Michigan community…where everyone seems to know each other and is willing to lend a hand…is offering a warm welcome for bicyclists. The village is generously hosting a number of special activities in addition to its many everyday attractions. Vicksburg is a great place to explore — and will be handing you a passport to a great day and night of good old fashioned enjoyment!
Bring your Frisbie Golf Discs! (7am-10:15pm)
Open Play at Vicksburg’s top-rated Disc Golf Course set in the heart of Vicksburg’s Recreation Area (official address: 12538 S. Sprinkle Road). DG Course Review rated Vicksburg’s Disc Golf course in the top five within a 100 miles* and it has played host to a PDGA amateur national championship. The course offers views of nearby Sunset Lake and provides an amazing opportunity for fun and outdoor adventure with permanent baskets and the thrill of competing on a national course. The course is free and open to the attendees. (*as of June 30, 2019)
Vicksburg Historic Village (1-5pm)
The Vicksburg Historic Village will transport you back in time to the turn of the century (1890-1932). The wonderfully designed village offers period buildings teeming with historic artifacts that tell the story of life in a small rural village. What’s more, it is located right next door to the Farmer’s Market! It has the same hours on Saturday and Sunday … we’re happily featuring it on Friday and Sunday as one of the many special attractions Vicksburg has to offer as it welcomes everyone on this Fall Bike Celebration Weekend. Docents will be on hand from time to time to provide helpful background and answer your questions. Location: 300 N Richardson St, Vicksburg, MI 49097
Guided Walking Tour & Presentation: Vicksburg Quilt Trail (2-3:30pm)
Vicksburg District Library & Downtown Vicksburg
The Quilt Trail movement began in Ohio in 2001 and spread country wide. The Vicksburg Quilt Trail is the only one of its kind in Southwest Michigan, spanning some two dozen large paintings, each telling a unique story. Learn about how the quilts honor Native American spiritual elements, Biblical passages, commemorate inspirational teachings, or even echo a Signal Quilt pattern for slaves escaping north. The presentation will be made in person by Hugh and Kitch Rinehart, passionate and foresighted organizers of the Vicksburg Quilt Trail, who will explain more about how the sites for the Vicksburg Quilt Trail were chosen. You’ll then be led on a tour of quilts painted on the side of downtown historic buildings in the village. Riders interested in learning more about the quilts on Saturday’s routes should make a point of joining this guided tour. Location: 215 S Michigan Ave, Vicksburg, MI 49097
Vicksburg Farmers Market (2-6pm)
The food is farm fresh and the pies and muffins scrumptous. If you aren’t there to grab a bite, mosey by for the live music, which often takes on a lively bluegrass, country and sweet folk flavor. Stop by and you’ll find out what makes this one of the most popular Farmers Markets in the area, set in the Vicksburg Historic Village. The Timber Framers Guild put every one of those 30,000 board feet of lumber to good use in the open air pavilion. Location: 300 N. Richardson St.
The Mill at Vicksburg Mill Project Self-Guided Tours (4-6pm)
View plans at the site of one of the most ambitious renovation projects around, inspired by a former resident with deep roots in Vicksburg. The $80 million renovation project includes a multiple breweries, residential and office facilities, a 2,500 seat indoor concert venue, plus beautiful grounds that will eventually play host to outdoor events for 10,000 or more people. You will be welcome to view the plans and stroll a path to get a sense of a seven acre pollinator garden habitat. Birds love it. We are told the sunflowers will be looking fantastic. Location: 300 W Hwy St, Vicksburg, MI 49097; look for signs once parked
Pre-Registration Packet Pick-Up (6-8pm)
2019 may be our inaugural year, but by gosh we are going first class by giving our pre-registered participants (that is, for the Fall Bike Celebration Ride and/or Awards & Recognition Dinner) a way to pick up their information on Friday, at the Ice Cream Social at Apple Knockers Ice Cream Parlor. Enjoy your view of Sunset Lake, your ice cream and avoid the rush on Saturday. Location: 220 W Prairie St, Vicksburg, MI 49097
Ice Cream Social at Apple Knockers Ice Cream Parlor (6-8pm)
Registration for the Bike Ride Event on Saturday includes an Ice Cream Social on Friday night at one of the best ice cream parlors/waterfront restaurants around. So, enjoy a delicious ice cream cone served at Apple Knockers Ice Cream Parlor on the shores of Sunset Lake. Meet and greet at the event and pick up information about biking, bike camps and related programs. Hmmm. It would be great if you could pick up your pre-registration packet there, wouldn’t it? Yes, but our lips are sealed, even if yours won’t be when you are enjoying a good old-fashioned Ice Cream Social. Bring your camera — we hear thar’s a ship that’s ready to sail out of the Apple Knocker wharf that you won’t want to miss. Location: 220 W Prairie St, Vicksburg, MI 49097
Enjoy Live Music & Dining
You’ll be able to enjoy live musical entertainment during the day at the Farmers Market and also throughout Vicksburg on Friday night. Local venues will offer live entertainment, with their food and beverage items on the side. Or is it the other way around? Or could the entertainment be your server, owner, or your ride buddies? If you are riding a more leisurely route on Saturday, might we suggest a stroll through Vicksburg, perhaps catching some views of Sunset Lake, as a pleasant way to top off the night before your Fall Bike Celebration Ride on Saturday? Location(s): Distant Whistle Brewhouse; 118 S Main St, Vicksburg, MI 49097
Saturday, September 21, 2019
Fall Bike Celebration Ride (7:30am-3pm)
All routes start & finish at Vicksburg Middle School
Registration Opens: 7:30am Closes: Noon Ride/Area Clean Up & Close: 3pm
Routes & Suggested Start Times Below; Approximate Distances
Your Fall Bike Celebration Ride registration includes the Friday evening Ice Cream Social and Saturday’s Fall Bike Celebration Ride, with water, food, snacks and treats at key locations. Camaraderie and smiles all around are a sure thing. Route maps and cue sheets will be provided; look for links to Ride With GPS on the Routes page.
On any given day these routes can be hauntingly beautiful, offer stunning photo ops and are best experienced at a bicyclist’s pace. Sharp-eyed riders should be able to find at least one of the Vicksburg Quilt Trail paintings on every route. No other community in Southwest Michigan has such a trail. Location: 348 E Prairie St, Vicksburg, MI 49097
Five Road Routes
– Shipshewana – Climax – Scotts Mill Park – Vicksburg Quilt Trail North & South –
Don’t see your “favorite” distance? Notta problem. Mix and match (keeping in mind Latest Starts and Ride Close at 3pm) to reach it!
Shipshewana* (115km; 71 miles; Latest Start: 8:00am)
Land O Goshen! What should we even call a Fall Bike Celebration route that: a) crosses State lines; b) take riders into another world; and, c) suggests the possibilities of time transport?* Can a bicyclist actually ride farther than a metric century route and get back in one day? Well, the answer is yes, for some of us. It could be you! If you try it you’ll find out for yourself. [Here’s a word to the wise: preparation. Most bicyclists can’t ride that far in a day without training for it. Those who can tend to think of themselves as cyclists and kit up in padded shorts. If you are starting from scratch after not being on a bike for a while, it helps to learn how to ride the roads beginning (say, in May with KBC’s Bike Camp), build up to riding an intermediate distance (say, 30-50 miles at KBC’s KalTour at the end of June), then keep training until you can ride 50 or 60 miles before trying this route.] The Shipshewana route is not a randonneuring (long distance, self-supporting) event, but the route has been ridden by many a randonnuer (and TriKat). If we are in a good mood and get some extra time, we will include cue sheets and mock-up “control cards” that may make you feel like you are a rando-rider. On this route please keep in mind that towns and shops will be few and far between. You may want to take an extra water bottle and learn how to change a flat, just in case.
Climax* (38 miles; Latest Start: 9:30am)
Yep, it is true that the delightful Village of Climax is listed as #1 in WKFR’s (103.3 FM) list of “5 Bizarre Michigan Town Names Explained.” Those who make it to scenic Scotts Mill Park where our rest stop is planned, may want to continue on to make it all the way to Climax. Or, you can stop by Scotts Mill Park on the way back to Vicksburg. Heck, you stop and catch your breath in both direction before heading back for a lunch if there is anything left for you at the Middle School. Just kidding. We’d like to know if you intend to reach Climax because we’ll have a special surprise waiting (only for those so registering) when you swing through this truly charming village of around 780 souls. By the time you get to the Fall Celebration Ride, we will expect you to know how the village got its real name. We are not kidding.
Scotts Mill Park* (25 miles; Latest Start: 10am)
The stop at Scotts Mill Park turns your ride from Vicksburg (former home of the Simpson Paper Mill into a journey from a revitalized former paper mill town back in time to an 1870’s flour mill, complete with a water wheel and mill pond. The setting is picture perfect — many a couple has been happily wed in this gem of a Kalamazoo County Park. Hmm. Play your cards right and maybe you and your true love can pledge your troth while enjoying snacks and refilling your water bottle in the picnic shelter. If you feel the earth move on this route we guess it might be true love…but it could be due to an earthquake. The epicenter of a 4.2 magnitude quake in 2015 was only a mile from nearby Scotts, an unincorporated community of about 3,600 people. This route will take you through it. Be sure to wave to everybody to let them know bicyclists are a friendly bunch!
*Help us find nicknames for these three routes!
BFK is led by folks who believe in “Government of the People, by the People, and for the People.” Our committees and volunteers are helping to shape this weekend and these routes, but we want the community and our riders to help us give nicknames or taglines for the Shipshewana, Climax and Scotts Mill routes.
Just calling a route, say, “the Climax route” isn’t bad, but it isn’t that much fun and may not say enough. It might not sell any T-Shirts, doggone it! Anyway, we said we were going to announce a FLASH survey after we get rolling…and HERE IT IS! Your answers could help shape the destiny of, well, the route taglines or nicknames, anyway. Survey Monkey’s stats say it take about 30 seconds to complete. Check it out while the checking’s good!
Vicksburg Quilt Trail North and South** (Loops; 16 miles each; Start: 9am; Latest Start: noon)
The Vicksburg Quilt Trail is a collection of 24 large colorful quilt patterns, most of which have been painted on the sides of barns located throughout the Vicksburg area. For these routes, the founders of the Trail have designed two separate loops for you to admire the artist-owners’ creative works along the way… . Riding it, we think you will come to agree that the Vicksburg Quilt Trail must be seen in person to be fully appreciated, because the idyllic settings for the evocative quilt paintings — many set against a magnificent rural backdrop — frame an image in your brain that can pretty much only be taken in by stopping to admire the views. The North and South loops are short enough so that your rest, munch and sip stop is back at the Middle School. Full color and special maps will guide you to each of the featured quilts, most of which are painted on barns. The quilts on the Vicksburg Quilt Trail and their locations were selected for their unique character. You never know whether the owners will offer you cookies when you stop to take a photo, but all will be welcoming and expecting that you will stop a moment to admire the view. These special routes touch a large sample of what the Vicksburg Quilt Trail has to offer with a chance to capture the moment. By the way, please step off the road when you dismount, and always be mindful of traffic. The owners have graciously all agreed to allow you to stop in their driveways. **The full South route has a stretch of about 1 mile of gravel.
Pssst … There is some scuttlebutt floating around about a scavenger hunt or other fun seek and find type of activity related to the Vicksburg Quilt Trail. Will these whispered notions take root? Will we keep mixing metaphors? Will we rely on the input you, dear reader, give us about pulling off a “benchmarking, trigpointing, orienteering, treasure-hunting, letterboxing, waymarking and Munzee” type of activity? Will our Chair throw chairs if it doesn’t happen? Who knows? Sounds too complicated to pull for 2019, and filled with drama. Maybe next year?
By the way, on any of the routes please step off the road when you dismount, and always be mindful of traffic. Be sure to signal your intentions.
Vicksburg Trailway Route
Biking is fun for the whole family. It’s a great physical activity, offers a chance for adults to teach children a skill they can enjoy their whole life and provides stay-cation and vacation travel adventure as well. On Saturday, shortly after noon there will be escorts for two of the routes. You can enjoy them without an escort on your own earlier in the day. You are also welcome to add them on to your morning’s Fall Bike Celebration routes. Or, you can make these two (escorted) routes the center of your Fall Bike Celebration Ride!
Remember, as part of your Family Registration fees, children (and their families) will get a free cone at the Ice Cream Social and may ride any of the other routes they can squeeze in, earlier in the day!
Family Trail Route (4-6 miles; Suggested unescorted route timing: 11a-noon)
The Vicksburg Trail will be open all day to Individual and Family registered riders. We suggest riders who are riding this popular trail make their way back to the start around noon to grab a bite to eat. After the children ride the Escorted Bike Parade route, an escort will assemble and lead families who wish to ride the Vicksburg Trail together, leaving as a group around 2pm. To ride the Trail, crossing road without an escort will be necessary.
Bike Friendly Kalamazoo is an advocate for safety. We also care a great deal about the Golden Rule. We are all in world this together, and motorists and bicyclists alike owe each other common courtesy as we share the road and try to make this world a better place. Follow the law, be predictable, be conspicuous, think ahead and ride ready sez the League of American Bicyclists, and we do too. Waivers of liability are required for participants 18 and over, adult escorts are required for children under the age of 18. Helmets are required. Education and mutual respect are key, so you might see us stress these points more than once, in more than one way.
Additional details about SAG stops, roving SAG support, emergency phone numbers, etc., will be communicated every once in a while, around August 21. Ride registration is on our Registration page.
BFK’s Fall Bike Celebration Ride will sorta be like going to Disneyland — more to do than can be started and finished in a day — so register early & plan ahead to avoid the lines.
Saturday Evening, September 21, 2019
Awards & Recognition Social Hour / Dinner (6-9pm; Creekside Grille at Angels Crossing)
Honored Guests include Mayor Patricia Randall and City Manager Larry Shaffer of the City of Portage, President Bill Adams and Village Manager Jim Mallery of the Village of Vicksburg, City of Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell, and Kalamazoo County Government Board of Commissioners Chair Julie Rogers. Show your appreciation for those who have helped cyclists, just by joining them for dinner! This will be one of the last chances cyclists will have to chat with Bobby Hopewell and Larry Shaffer before they leave their current positions in November. Location: 3600 East W Ave, Vicksburg, MI 49097 – follow the winding drive through the golf course at W Avenue to the beautiful clubhouse
The Fall Bike Celebration Awards & Recognition Social Hour / Dinner will feature an informal style to facilitate plenty of camaraderie, buffet dining & dessert, with beer and wine served* as well. We will offer a round of thanks to honor individuals and groups who have helped make our greater community event more bike friendly. We’ll celebrate the impact and power of a biking community that believes sharing the road needs to be a priority and that bicycling in all its forms helps make our area even more livable. The event requires separate registration to offset costs for the room, food and beverages. Please register online before Sept. 17 to help ensure there’s enough food and drink for all.
By way of background, the BFK Fall Bike Celebration started out with the simple idea that we wanted a way to properly thank the volunteers, organizers and sponsors of Kalamazoo (Area) Bike Beek 2019. It could have been done with a hearty handshake and a slice of pizza, and everyone would have been happy. But then we realized that for Bike Week to be sustainable, we had to find a way to fund it on into the future. Doh! Aha! Hmmm… The great ideas just kept coming, and led to the Fall Bike Celebration Weekend, with a Ride and Dinner as a way to raise funds — not just to keep Bike Week going, but to support many other great bicycling and community causes as well.
Sunday, September 22
Public Bike Art Prize Award Ceremony (2pm, Prairie Ronde Art Gallery)
During this ceremony more than $1,750 in cash prizes will be awarded, in the competition that was officially opened for entry on August 15, and the deadline for submissions is September 5, per the official Rules.
John Kern, Director of the pioneering Prairie Ronde Artist Residency, is chairing BFK’s Public Bike Art Prize sub-committee.
Art is to be submitted digitally, but will be rendered by Bike Friendly Kalamazoo in the form of durable outdoor banners suitable for mounting on public lamp poles. Consort Display Group has made a very generous in-kind donation of materials to make this possible.
We are challenging local philanthropic sources and civic leaders to match and sponsor the awards. The greater community’s most respected artist councils and institutions are being asked to participate in creating an Art Prize we all can celebrate! Location: 101 E. Prairie St.; Vicksburg, MI 49097
BFK has long been a champion of all the positive values that are embodied in bicycling. We are a champion of the arts and creative, soul lifting endeavors that add even more joy and interest to the bicycling experience. In the future Bike Art Prize Awards may be presented for artistic enhancement to local bike trails and other concepts.
Vicksburg Historic Village (1-5pm)
The Vicksburg Historic Village will transport you back in time to the turn of the century (1890-1932). The wonderfully designed village offers period buildings teeming with historic artifacts that tell the story of life in a small rural village. What’s more, it is located right next door to the Farmer’s Market! It has the same hours on Saturday … we’re happily featuring it on Friday and Sunday as one of the many special attractions Vicksburg has to offer as it welcomes everyone on this Fall Bike Celebration Weekend! Location: 300 N Richardson St; Vicksburg MI 49097
There will be more to BFK’s Fall Bike Celebration Weekend in the years to come, if the fantastic citizens of our greater community have anything to say about it. We hope you can join us in our inaugural year!
Register online through BikeReg to take advantage of online pricing or pay in person on Ride day or at the door at Dinner (limited dinner tickets).