Hundreds Bicycle Together Each Week with Oak Park E-Z Roll Bike Rides
(Lara Mossa, July 21, 2019)
OAK PARK – Every week during the summer, hundreds of people come together for a family-friendly bike ride through the streets of Oak Park and beyond. These are the Oak Park E-Z Roll rides.
“I just love bike riding,” said Beth Snider, who has been a member since the group started four years ago. “It’s the camaraderie of all my friends and neighbors who are biking with me. We see the beautiful city and get fresh air and exercise.”
The group meets every Tuesday and rides bicycles for eight miles, which takes roughly and hour and a half. The riders meet at 6:30 p.m. behind the Oak Park Library on Oak Park Boulevard and leave at 7 p.m.
Sometimes the club also has special events. Last year the bicyclists visited art installations placed throughout the city on loan from the Detroit Institute of Arts. The members also ride in the Fourth of July parade.
Among the E-Z Rollers are people of different races, faiths, professions, body sizes, abilities, and ages. There are even toddlers and babies on the rides, towed along behind or strapped safely into child seats. The group continues to grow as cycling becomes more popular and communities in SE Michigan make investments in infrastructure like bike lanes, bike racks, and bike repair stations.
Organizers are hoping that the upcoming MoGo bike rentals will also add to the volume of riders. MoGo is a bike rental program that is expanding from Detroit to the suburbs, beginning with Berkley, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, and Royal Oak. This expansion is made possible through a $495,380 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant awarded by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG). The program is expected to be fully rolled out by fall. And E-Z Roll is ready to welcome more riders.
But although it’s fun, the riders also want to be safe. Whether it’s lack of awareness or affordability, several of the members don’t have helmets, Snider said. That’s why founder Aaron Tobin approached one of the local businesses about supplying helmets. Warren-based Emergency Response Services Inc. ordered more than 400 bike helmets in all sizes and colors to be given to riders whose craniums need protection.
“I wanted to encourage safety and the importance of wearing a bike helmet,” said Linda Klein, Director of Marketing and Business Development for Emergency Response Services. “I personally wear one. As a mother I know the importance of safety as well. I would like to see other children and adults wear a helmet.”
Klein, who lives in Oak Park, has three children and has been a member of the cycling club for years. She will be on hand when the company delivers the helmets during a special event in August.
Emergency Response Services Inc. is a property restoration company that provides full-service property mitigation, restoration and reconstruction services for floods, fire, water and storm damage recovery as well as mold remediation. In addition, the business has a carpet cleaning company called One Stop Carpet Care and Repair. The donation fit with the core values of the business, because the company’s priority is the safety and well being of the community, Klein said.
“I know the biking club promotes community and encourages everybody to be out there and to get involved in exercise,” she added. “It cultivates a friendly, supportive and fun environment through biking.”
Snyder and other riders are grateful for the gift. “This is really exciting,” she said. “And we really appreciate the donation of the helmets. I think it will be very helpful to the people and much appreciated.”
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