Explore eastside art, culture and community by bike


Inspired by the number and variety of summer festivals detailed in a recent City Pulse issue, I am prompted to add just one more unique event to your jam-packed calendar: the inaugural Eastside Read and Ride Tour.

Its organizer, neighborhood leader Jennie Grau, describes it as “an arts, culture and community festival on wheels."

The event happens at 11:30 a.m. Saturday (June 8), rain or shine.

Biking through the lively eastside neighborhood, participants will make frequent stops to enjoy hidden gems that include 12 murals, five sculptures, three gardens, three artistic bus stops, two parks and an urban farm. Stops are scheduled at four food businesses “with interesting origin stories,” Grau said. The free, leisurely 6.2-mile ride will take place within one mostly flat square mile of the east side. And this is just the biking part.

Along the ride, David King, the Chicago-based journalist and author of “America on Two Wheels: Biking Coast to Coast in Search of Human Stories,” will read excerpts from his book. You will hear stories about the memorable places he peddled and the cast of characters he met over the course of his four-month ride, the hugely varied terrain he crossed on his 3,000-mile journey from San Diego to Miami and the important life lessons he learned along the way.

Grau met King through the International Listening Association. As she describes it, they discovered a common interest in collaborative conflict resolution, non-violent communication, a passion for words and, of course, listening. They also both hail from New York, though each has settled in the Midwest. Grau had hoped to invite King to Michigan at some point.

“After reading his book and realizing his appreciation for people and community, and the hidden joys of small things, the idea to put together this event started to percolate,” Grau told me. “It started to become real when Scott Harris, owner of Everybody Reads bookstore, agreed to host a book signing.”

Appropriate for all skill levels, the Eastside Read and Ride Tour will start at at the Lansing Bike Co-op and end around 2 p.m. at Everybody Reads, 2019 E. Michigan Ave.

Partners and supporters in the Eastside Read and Ride Tour include Lansing Bike Co-op, Everybody Reads, Allen Neighborhood Center with its Rathbun Accelerator Kitchen and Hunter Park urban gardening operations, the Lansing Bike Party and Half Barn Farm.

The box on this page features a condensed version of a much longer and more detailed site list. The full list, along with the route, will be posted on partners’ social media for those unhappy folks who miss the tour but might want to do a self-guided version.

Some of the listings are stops with readings, some are stops with story-telling, while others are pointed out or passed along the way. Invite a friend, or better yet, someone new to the east side, and treat them to a unique introduction to the abundant, accessible art and other assets of this dynamic neighborhood.


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