Bikers inspire interest

Austin Irwin

Local bike group Kitchi-Mi-Kana Cycling is holding an interest meeting this month to prepare local Marquette-area bikers for the upcoming 2012 riding season.

Kitchi-Mi-Kana is Chippewa for “good roads” and was founded in 1895 as a cycling club for men and women.

“We support all kinds of cycling,” said Miriam Moeller, KMK secretary and NMU international programs specialist. “We want people to leave their cars at home and bring their bicycles. Biking is a very healthy, green way of transportation.”

The interest night will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 29 at the Vierling Restaurant on Front Street. The event is free and open to the public.

“Even if we just get two people, that’s two more people we have,” Moeller said. “We hope to get more students on board. It would be great if students would join the club and join our rides.”

Moeller said KMK offers a bunch of volunteer opportunities, including one in June for Grant Fondo’s Bike Jam.

With organizations such as Superior Edge on campus, Moeller said students could volunteer at KMK events and earn a lot of Superior Edge hours that would help both Marquette and the bicycling community.

Christina Bennett, NMU graduate and KMK member, said her first experience with KMK was on a Tuesday night ride. She said she came a bit unprepared, going for a road cruise on a mountain bike, but since then it has been a great way to get a little more experience in riding.

“I saw there was a bike meeting, and I eventually got in touch with KMK,” Bennett said. “It’s fantastic. I’ve met so many people through that group.”

Cyclists can begin or renew their KMK membership for $10 as an individual, or $15 to register an entire family.

The membership includes a discount card that gives members discounts to places like Lakeshore Bike, Jasper Ridge Brewery, Sports Rack Limited, Down Wind Sports and many others who help support KMK.

“There is a sense of a bicycling community in this area,” said Evan Simula, general manager of Sports Rack Limited. “It gets people out enjoying the outdoors, and it inspires a healthier lifestyle.”

Simula said one group ride he participated in was the Ride of Silence, a nation-wide event held annually that commemorates those who have fallen because of automotive related deaths, where cyclists ride in silence to honor them.

KMK will be reviewing various events on its 2012 schedule at the interest meeting.

KMK will also be selling its KMK cycling gear at the event, including arm warmers, jackets, socks, gloves, shoe covers and other gear.

For more information about KMK and this event, visit NMU students interested in participating in volunteer opportunities can call Moeller at (906) 227-2464.