By Sue Moore
Paul Selden has hit Vicksburg in a whirlwind of activity, planning a Fall Bicycle Celebration the weekend of September 20-22, Friday through Sunday. The Portage resident wants more people to discover the charms of the small town of Vicksburg. He is doing so by promoting the area to cyclists like nobody else has ever done.
He is deeply committed to bicycle safety. With a committee of leaders of civic and bicycling groups, Selden is organizing the event to promote that cause. He is confident of the many attributes Vicksburg has to offer. He has combined them with plans for the three-day event which he hopes will attract anywhere from 15, 50 or 150. “If we offer whoever signs up a great experience, next year it will be more and even more after that. Our goal is to grow the Fall Bike Celebration into a ride event that attracts thousands of riders,” Selden said.
The Historic Village, the Farmers’ Market, Mill tours and the Quilt Trail are a big part of the activities on Friday, Sept. 20, ending with registration packet pickup at Apple Knockers that encourages people to stay for dinner and enjoy live music. A Bike Art Prize is being planned on Sunday for art works with bike-related themes. An awards and recognition dinner is being planned for Saturday, Sept. 21 at The Fountains Center in Parchment.
There are five bike trails of various lengths for the Saturday ride. All routes start and finish at Vicksburg Middle School. Registration opens at 7 a.m. and closes at noon. Routes with approximate distances are: Shipshewana, 75 miles; Climax, 38 miles; Scotts Mill, 24 miles; Vicksburg Quilt Trail with north and south loops, 16 miles each; family trail, five miles; and bike parade at noon at the Middle School. The Fall Bike Celebration ride registration includes a Friday evening Ice Cream Social and Saturday’s ride with water, food, snacks and treats at key locations. Route maps and roving support will be provided.
The goals of Selden’s community-oriented project are to increase support for bicycling, reduce divisive encounters with motorists and teach proper road etiquette. All of this planning is accomplished through Bike Friendly Kalamazoo (BKI) which was founded in 2011 and is now a 501c3 organization.
A life-long business owner, Selden started Performance Management, Inc. in 1978. PMI provides user support for large-scale corporate computer systems. He sold it in 2016 to his key employees.
Proceeds from the ride will be shared with local agencies such as Generous Hands, Inc., South County Community Services, charitable groups and bike-related causes such as maintaining the Chain Gang Memorial, the League of Michigan Bicyclists and to support bike safety and education. The website is http://www.fallbikecelebration.org.