Participants will be biking through two historical sites including Oak Hill Cemetery and Fulton Street Cemetery to learn about the notable women of Grand Rapids who helped to make the city what it is.
Both organizations are also teaming up with the Grand Rapids Public Library as part of it’s 2018 GR Reads selection. This event has a connection with the book, “From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death” by Caitlin Doughty.
“In the book, Doughty travels the world researching the burial traditions of many different cultures,” said Melissa Fox, president of the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council. “In this program, we replicate that on a local scale with attendees traveling on bicycle to two city cemeteries to learn about the individual histories of some of the women buried there.”
Johannah Jelks, founder of She Rides Her Own Way, said she was researching new social rides for the organization and always had a fascination with New Orleans graveyard tours.
“I thought it would be great to learn the history of our Grand Rapids cemeteries,” said Jelks. “This is the very first time She Rides Her Own Way has hosted this event and we would like for it to be an annual event.”
Both organizations are expecting a fair amount of people to show up.
“Because this is our first time putting together this tour we are excited to have a nice turnout of 25-50 participants for both tours,” said Jelks. “Our goal is to to use our social bike rides and create an educational opportunity for learning.”
This tour will include brief histories of 10-15 notable women from Grand Rapids including Lucy Ball, Clara Comstock Russell, Anna Sutherland Bissell and Grace Van Hoesen, said Fox.
This will be an all ages event and will have two different dates to give anyone the chance to join this unique bike tour. The first date is Tuesday, Aug. 14 starting at 6 p.m. and the second date is Saturday, Aug. 18 starting at 11 a.m., both meeting at the main library, at 111 Library Street NE. No registration is required but you can RSVP on the Facebook event if you want.
About the Organizations
She Rides Her Own Way began in the spring of 2014 as an initial campaign designed to build self-esteem and bring health awareness to women through biking. She Rides Her Own Way has since grown into a full urban biking campaign inspiring and encouraging women through their daily life.
The Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council, founded 30 years ago, is dedicated to educating the community and celebrating the legacies of local women, preserving knowledge of their past and inspiring visions for their future. This is accomplished through programs and presentations, attendance at local and national conferences, and via our website, social media and newsletters.
*Main photo courtesy of She Rides Her Own Way