Red Cedar Cyclocross Park

Cyclocross in Michigan Let’s face it – sometimes, in their crusade to share their love of bicycles with the rest of the world, espousing cyclists tend to exaggerate the ability of bikes to solve all the world’s problems. Fortunately, I often also see examples of cyclists doing things simply for the sake of cycling that positively impact our community in very real ways, ways that serve as a reminder that the über-advocates are in it for all the right reasons.

Take, for example, the recent efforts of one Michael Babcock to give the Lansing cyclocross scene a much needed shot to the heart. Before this season it’d been over a half decade since the capital area had played host to a ‘cross race, and clearly the Lansing cycling community hadn’t been capitalizing (get it?) on the rapid growth in the discipline to promote the sport locally. This year, however, that would change.

Seeing the missed opportunity, Michael took it upon himself to organize a pair of Lansing races as a part of the new Stomach Of Anger CX series. He chose the old municipal golf course for the venue, a public space which had fallen into years of disuse situated along the Michigan Avenue corridor in the heart of the greater Lansing area. Upon hearing about the races I went to check out the location and was amazed at what had been sitting under my nose for years.

Cyclocross in Michigan In spite of riding by the former golf course every day of the week, I’d never before taken much notice of it. Yet here were several acres of gently rolling, plain-like natural space bordered by one of the main city corridors one one side and the wooded bank of the Red Cedar river on the other. It was begging to have a cyclocross course taped off and to be filled with the clamor of heckling spectators and ringing cowbells.

The first race was awesome. The course was excellent and Michael said that the turnout surpassed his most optimistic expectations. From there, it’d only get better. Over the next couple months before the second race, the course served as a rallying point for the local ‘cross scene. Lansing riders quickly organized online to put together group rides and report on course conditions. I’d go ride it a few times a week for training and regularly encounter other cyclists I’d otherwise likely never have met.

Red Cedar Cyclocross Park It also wasn’t just us ‘cross racers that were getting use out of the course, either. It seemed like the whole city was rediscovering the park, and I’d just as often see dog owners, joggers (once a whole high school cross country team), and more casual cyclists enjoying the course. Maybe I’m over-attributing, but it seemed like the visibility afforded the park by being right off Michigan Ave combined with the increased use from cyclists had a snowballing effect as more citizens saw others using the park, they realized that it was there for them to enjoy as well.

Recently, the City of Lansing announced plans to develop sections of the park for commercial use in attempts to ease municipal budget woes. Hopefully with two successful city-approved races under the belt and the increased use the park has been seeing, locals will get involved to make sure planners consider their interests as the future of the park unfolds.

For all this, we here at Tree Fort Bikes would like to give a tip of the hat to you, Michael Babcock, and to all the local riders who rallied around you to make the unofficially dubbed Red Cedar Cyclocross Park a reality. Here’s to hoping it becomes a mainstay in the local community and the Michigan cyclocross scene for years to come.

Related Link:

Offical Page
Stomach of Anger on Facebook
Course Info on FB

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