Split the Mitt For Less Cancer

by Up.Bike

Bicycles are meant to take you places, but they are also incredibly useful in making change. 

A few weeks back, our pals at Keen Technical Solutions got a hold of us. They had big plans of bring a contingent of riders down from Traverse City to join the Split the Mitt Ride in Flint. They needed a way to get 15-20 bikes down tot the start at Michigan State University's campus there, and wondered if we could possible help. Well, of course we could! 

Dan and Rob spent an hour or so on Thursday stripping out our normal set-up, which was geared around transporting five bikes and a lot of gear, into what we'd call a more 'high volume' cargo. We decided on a mix of mounts that could handle both quick release and thru-axles, as well as plenty of Wheelie mounts so we could load and unload quickly. Speed was a factor, too. We were leaving the Norte Clubhouse Saturday morning at 6 am sharp to make the ride start around 9:30. The faster we could load and unload, the better. 

We had everything set-up and ready to rock, and ended up loading in just twenty minutes. 

It was smooth ride south, and we parked, unloaded, and rolled out in about fifteen minutes. While the legs didn't necessarily handle the transition incredibly well, the Team Bicycle Hauler sure did! 

From then on, the Hauler became our rolling service course; small parts, repairs, tires, tu

The LessCancer.org mission is something we learned a lot about over the course of the ride. Its founder, Bill Couzens, spent the whole day helping run aid stations, and talking about what they do every single day. In over 40 countries around the world, Less Cancer informs families, health care professionals, and legislators on ways that we can reduce cancer in diet, materials, and many other ways. While a cure is needed, we can save so many lives by addressing environmental factors that can reduce cancer rates right now. bes, and everything else we needed was mounted up for quick tweaks at aid stations. The first day was 134 miles from Flint to Merrill Lake Campground, and even though rain was expected all week, we never saw a rain drop. The riders were relieved to roll into camp and see a picturesque lake and the trailer waiting for them, dinner already started! 

Saturday night's dinner and games were relaxing and restful way to end a big day, especially as we made our way to our tents filled to the brim with homemade paella and some pie. It took a lot of help to make the food and the ride possible, and the same guys who worked all afternoon to cook Saturday were some of the first up Sunday to get seven pounds of bacon and a few dozen pancakes ready for the riders. 

Just after breakfast, the rain that had held off so long finally came down, and the first hour or so of the ride was soggy. With the wet roads, we suffered five flats tires before we passed through Cadillac, which meant the trailer was a hive of activity. Keen's Ted Shaw was brilliant behind the wheel, hopping part of the White Pine Trail to meet us at intersections and make sure we could make repairs as quickly as possible. 

Just north of Cadillac, we broke through the clouds and saw brilliant sunshine all the way home. The roads between Cadillac and Traverse City were incredible; hardly any traffic, some rolling hills, and plenty of beautiful farms and barns to break up the horizon. We were joined for the second day by the evening's entertainment; three of the five members of The Steel Wheels, who drove through the night from Ohio to start with us Sunday, were saddled up and taking some pulls on the front. Now that's a new way to warm-up for a show! 

The ride ended at the perfect setting on an incredible weekend. After 108 miles, our group rolled into the Cowell Family Cancer Center on the Munson Medical Center Campus with the 31st Annual Cancer Survivor's and Prevention Picnic. Friends and family cheered us into a delicious picnic, and we got to spend some time with people who have survived cancer, stared it dead in the face, and came out smiling. 

We want to thank Less CancerKeen Technical Solutions, and all the volunteers for letting us be a part of the very special event, and we'll be back in 2019!