Year of Yay!

'Birding' ride recap

Thanks to ride leader Alex Fleschner for his ride leadership and this write-up!

November’s theme was “Birding,” something that I had started to get interested in with my children. I figured if my kids were interested in it, maybe others might be as well! And there were some interesting birds in the area to highlight as well. 

No drop means no drop! Here we stand awaiting a comrade who stayed behind to help someone whose bike broke *right* as we exited the Whole Foods parking lot. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

No drop means no drop! Here we stand awaiting a comrade who stayed behind to help someone whose bike broke *right* as we exited the Whole Foods parking lot. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

We left Easton Whole Foods and got onto the Alum Creek Trail, heading north towards Inniswood Metro Gardens, our first stop. It was cold—the weather only got above freezing in the afternoon—but there was no wind or rain, and the sun came out a few times. Given the weather, we didn’t see many birds, though you could hear them along the trail.

We ride by a nest on the Alum Creek Trail. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

We ride by a nest on the Alum Creek Trail. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

At Inniswood, I discussed how we got started, as well as tips from the National Audubon Society on how to get started birding. I also discussed some of the apps available. One water break later, we were on our way along the Chipmunk Chatter Trail to our next destination, the Hoover Dam Reservoir.

Alec talks about how his family got interested in birding. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Alec talks about how his family got interested in birding. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

At the reservoir, we discussed the bald eagles that nest in the area. Bald eagles are feed mostly on fish and require large, tall trees for their nest, which makes the reservoir a great spot to see them in action. We didn’t get to see any during our quick stop, but the view was still great!

Clear skies! A great day for birds and bikes alike! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Clear skies! A great day for birds and bikes alike! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Our last stop took us to Blendon Woods Metro Park, where naturalist Jamie Kidwell talked turkey to us. The wild turkey flock at Blendon Woods is quite large, measuring in the dozens. A word of caution, though: male turkeys have spurs on their feet. And they can fly, though not far, so don’t be too surprised if one takes to the air if they get scared!

Jamie Kidwell gets us up close and personal with a turkey wing. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Jamie Kidwell gets us up close and personal with a turkey wing. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

With that, we headed down Cherry Bottom Road and back to Whole Foods to warm up and recover. Thank you to everyone who joined us on the ride!

Riding down Cherry Bottom Road. See ya next month! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Riding down Cherry Bottom Road. See ya next month! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

'First Dates' ride recap

Ride leader Aliceanne Inskeep introduces the ride with her sweetie, Ken Cohen. Photo credit: Keith Mayton

Ride leader Aliceanne Inskeep introduces the ride with her sweetie, Ken Cohen. Photo credit: Keith Mayton

A big Yay Bikes! thanks to Aliceanne for a fantastic ride! 

Aliceanne Inskeep put together a lovely ride for October's Year of Yay!, during which we recreated her first date with Ken Cohen. Our group of 20ish traveled 17 miles on a perfect 70-degree day, exploring downtown Westerville together.

22449798_1236212569817755_5081792849313697294_n.jpg

Our group kicked off by rolling through friendly neighborhood roads and making our way towards Westerville. Once we arrived, we dismounted at the Westerville Bike Shop and took the next 40 minutes to explore State Street's shops, cafes and bakeries—and people definitely took advantage! 

Spooky cyclist @ Westerville Bike Shop. Photo credit: Keith Mayton

Spooky cyclist @ Westerville Bike Shop. Photo credit: Keith Mayton

YUM! Photo credit: Keith Mayton

YUM! Photo credit: Keith Mayton

We then took our two-wheelin' selves and made way to Westerville Cemetery (Of course! Because all good first dates include a cemetery visit!). We learned that Benjamin Russell Hanby, a composer in the 1850s who wrote the classic Christmas song "Up on the Housetop", was buried there. After a bit of a history lesson from Aliceanne and a failed attempt singing the song as a group, we headed back to our starting point.

22489681_1236213709817641_3342870921154895428_n.jpg

We made a quick stop to take a group picture at the Alum Creek park amphitheater. The way back was spent mostly on the Alum Creek trail.

'New Americans' ride recap

New Americans was the theme for this Year of Yay! ride, which exposed us to the lives of people who are not from this country. The people we encountered on this day were mostly new to the ways of American tradition and customs. Sometimes in order to understand people, you must jump knee deep in their culture, and that's just what we did. All in all, the ride went beautifully! The route went through various easy-going neighborhoods with kids waving and good vibes.

Who needs Morse Rd?!?! Photo credit: Pete Heiss

Who needs Morse Rd?!?! Photo credit: Pete Heiss

The weather was nice and the riders were ready. The day graced us with temps in the 70s perfectly fitting for the 17.9-mile ride ahead of us. The first stop on our cruise was Global Mall, a marketplace where you can find several different imported goods and gifts. Along the aisles, you could purchase colorful Somali garments, ceramics and even groceries that you wouldn't find in a conventional supermarket.

Perusing the Global Mall. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Perusing the Global Mall. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Ride leader Nancy Niemuth considers a garment. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Ride leader Nancy Niemuth considers a garment. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Next up was Masjid As-Salaamah, a mosque on Cleveland Avenue where Madhi Warsama was nice enough to speak to us about their place of worship, Islam and the daily life of Muslim people. He even let us take a peek in the men's prayer hall! He closed out with giving us info about various CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) Central Ohio activities and programs.

Hearing from Madhi Warsama Masjid at As-Salaamah, a mosque on Cleveland Avenue. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Hearing from Madhi Warsama Masjid at As-Salaamah, a mosque on Cleveland Avenue. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

The last stop on our journey was the Columbus Global Academy, which houses the Columbus City School district's ESL (English as a Second Language) programs, which teach young immigrants to speak English. The principal wasn't available to speak, so our ride leader, Nancy Niemuth, talked to us in-depth about what the program entails and how it impacts the lives of students.

At the Columbus Global Academy to learn about their ESL program. Photo credit: Pete Heiss

At the Columbus Global Academy to learn about their ESL program. Photo credit: Pete Heiss

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the adventure, and especially Keith and Pete, who captured it so beautifully in picture and video, and Nancy for creating such a fascinating experience. See you next month!

'Candy' ride

Thanks to ride leader Daria Hopkins for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

Twenty-five cyclists gathered at Whole Foods for June ‘s Candy ride, which fell on a beautiful sunny day.

Our first stop at Rocket Fizz began with a brief introduction by the store’s friendly owner, Lindsay, who allowed for us to indulge in complimentary salt water taffy samples. We were also able to explore the store’s diverse soda collection, consisting of over 600 types of soda imported from hundreds of microbreweries throughout the world!

The group then ventured over to German Village to visit Schmidt’s Fudge Haus. Their friendly chocolate maker, Nathaniel, provided us with a demonstration regarding the chocolate making process. The chocolate and sweets at this store were so tasty that many of us had to be coaxed out of the store, as we went well past our allotted visit time.

Fudge demo! 

Fudge demo! 

The group then headed over to Northern Lights to visit Clown Cone and Confections. Our timing was perfect, as the store had just celebrated its 41st anniversary. The owner, Mark, whipped up one of the store’s well known specialties for us to see, the Clown Cone sundae. We were also able to see the store’s clown collection, which consists of approximately 875 clowns.

41 years of clown cones! 

41 years of clown cones! 

875 clowns?!?!!?!

875 clowns?!?!!?!

Mmmmmm.....

Mmmmmm.....

Oh yeah: MORE CANDY!

Oh yeah: MORE CANDY!

After many of us enjoyed a frozen treat at Clown Cone, the group returned to Whole Foods to socialize and recap the morning’s adventures.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the ride! See you next month!  

'April Showers, May Flowers' ride recap

The long boardwalk approaching Innis Park—part of the Alum Creek North greenway. Photo credit: Pete Heiss

The long boardwalk approaching Innis Park—part of the Alum Creek North greenway. Photo credit: Pete Heiss

Thanks to ride leader Gloria Hendricks for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

On May 13th, we had 45+ riders for the April Showers Bring May Flowers ride. The ride was 17 miles and took us out to Clintonville for Flowers and Bread, then back to Easton for Oberer's Flowers. This was my first time leading a Yay Bikes! ride and I was really nervous, but we had great weather and I was with great people. 

A Cooke Rd processional. Photo credit: Pete Heiss

A Cooke Rd processional. Photo credit: Pete Heiss

Flower and Bread is located on High st. and is very unique to Columbus. This shop serves flowers, bread, and coffee all in one, but that is not the best part. All of the flowers come from local flower nurseries on that day. You can also take arrangements classes there. Flower and Bread works with all local businesses for all of the products they use.

What a cute new place in Clintonville! Photo credit: Pete Heiss

What a cute new place in Clintonville! Photo credit: Pete Heiss

Yummy samples! Photo credit: Pete Heiss

Yummy samples! Photo credit: Pete Heiss

Hearing about flowers (or was it 'flour'??) and bread. Photo credit: Pete Heiss

Hearing about flowers (or was it 'flour'??) and bread. Photo credit: Pete Heiss

The last stop was Oberer's Flowers on Morse Crossing at Easton, a unique flower shop that allow customers to walk into the cooler and pick out their own flowers. This flower shop has a long history with Ohio—it has been family owned since 1890. They used to sell vegetables, and in 1922 they started selling flowers. Now they have six shops and four of them are in Ohio. The Easton store welcomed us with open arms during one of the busiest times of the year for them (Mother's Day weekend) and we are grateful.

Descending upon Oberer's. Photo credit: Pete Heiss

Descending upon Oberer's. Photo credit: Pete Heiss

Boom! Flowers! Photo credit: Pete Heiss

Boom! Flowers! Photo credit: Pete Heiss

After the ride we had a big surprise from Jeff Goves—donuts and cookies waiting for us at Whole Foods! Thanks, Jeff!

Donut-buying goof! Selfie courtesy Jeff Gove

Donut-buying goof! Selfie courtesy Jeff Gove

Thanks to everyone who came out for this ride. See you next month!

'Healthy Earth' ride recap

Riding the Lane Ave bridge on a beautiful day. Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

Riding the Lane Ave bridge on a beautiful day. Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

Thanks to ride leader Rahel Babb for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

For April’s Year of Yay ride, we celebrated a Healthy Earth by joining our friends at FLOW (Friends of Lower Olentangy Watershed) to plant trees along the banks of the Olentangy River at the OSU Fawcett Center! It was a beautiful day spring day and everyone was excited to get on the road. For some, this was their first big ride of the year.

Ride leader Rahel Babb (in green) greets people as they arrive to Whole Foods Market. Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

Ride leader Rahel Babb (in green) greets people as they arrive to Whole Foods Market. Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

Because the FLOW event had already started by the time we departed, we took the most direct route to get there, which meant tackling 5 miles on Morse Road. Some riders were a little nervous about this part of the route, but our experienced leads and sweeps were there to make sure everyone felt comfortable and confident with the ride. 

A long ride down Morse Road is better with friends. Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

A long ride down Morse Road is better with friends. Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

We made it to the Fawcett Center ready to work. FLOW provided all of the tools: gloves, shovels, clippers, etc. Not realizing this, one of the riders brought his own shovel!

An extra shovel is never a bad thing! Photo credit: Rahel Babb

An extra shovel is never a bad thing! Photo credit: Rahel Babb

FLOW had a goal to plant 2,100 trees along an Olentangy River floodplain, and we were excited to help them meet that goal. However, because of a large volunteer turnout, by the time we got there, most of the trees had been planted. Instead of planting trees, we were tasked with removing honeysuckle (a very invasive shrub). Armed with saws and clippers, the group was led to an area overrun with the invasive plant. After a brief instruction on what to cut, the group got to work! It wasn’t long after we got going that a FLOW volunteer showed up with a bucket of tree saplings that had been overlooked, so some of us got to plant trees, too.

The crew clears invasive plants. Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

The crew clears invasive plants. Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

...a LOT of invasive plants! Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

...a LOT of invasive plants! Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

Snip, snip! Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

Snip, snip! Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

Not to be messed with! Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

Not to be messed with! Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

Unlike the ride to the site, our route back was much more leisurely and laid back. We meandered our way through North Linden over to Stelzer Road. After the ride, some of us gathered around the fire at Whole Foods and continued to enjoy each other’s company and the beautiful day. 

Mmmm...post-ride beverage, fire, friends! Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

Mmmm...post-ride beverage, fire, friends! Photo credit: Keith 'Lugs' Mayton

Thanks to everyone who rode with us this month! For more information on our ride partner and invasive species, check out Friends of Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) and Ohio Invasive Plants. Cheers!

'Prohibition' ride recap

Thanks to ride leader David Curran for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

The Prohibition-themed Year of Yay! ride on March 11 started out on a sunny, brisk 23-degree morning from Whole Foods. 

Hi there! Photo credit: Deo Martinez

Hi there! Photo credit: Deo Martinez

The 20-or so riders braved the cold all the way up the Alum Creek Trail to downtown Westerville to visit the main library and the Anti-Salon League Museum contained within. Nina Thomas of the museum gave us an introduction to it, and a great history lesson about Westerville's place in the Prohibition era.

Nina Thomas, welcoming and educating our group. 

Nina Thomas, welcoming and educating our group. 

Next, on a quick tour into downtown Westerville, we saw a couple of locations of significant events that heralded the beginning and the end of the city's long prohibition of alcohol. We saw where it all ended in 2006, at Michael's Pizza (now closed). We then saw where the original Corbin's Tavern stood, which was bombed by angry Temperance supporters at the beginning of Westerville's Whiskey Wars in the late 1800s.

Michael's Pizza, celebrating the end of Westerville's long dry spell in 2006.

Michael's Pizza, celebrating the end of Westerville's long dry spell in 2006.

Corbin's Tavern, upon being bombed by Temperance supporters. 

Corbin's Tavern, upon being bombed by Temperance supporters. 

We then returned south via the Alum Creek Trail and a quick spin through Easton Town Center. Since we all had our cold-weather gear already on, we relaxed afterwards around the outdoor fire pit at Whole Foods and celebrated with legal and well-deserved libations of choice.

Socializin'. As we do. Photo credit: David Curran

Socializin'. As we do. Photo credit: David Curran

Total mileage for the ride was about 17-miles. A big thank you to everyone who helped make the ride possible.

'Heartwarming' ride recap

Thanks to ride leader Mark Spurgeon for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

Seventeen adventurous cyclists departed Whole Foods at Easton for the final Year of Yay! ride of 2016. Despite the 22 degree temperatures, smiles and good cheer were in evidence throughout the group. Perhaps it was Jeff Gove’s twinkling holiday lights that set the mood, or the anticipation of our stop at the Ohio Herb Education Center and Geroux Herb Gardens, a resource center in Gahanna—Ohio's Herb Capital (who knew!?). 

Jeff Gove, festive as always! Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

Jeff Gove, festive as always! Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

The Nafzger-Miller house, in which the Herb Center is located, was a welcome respite at the halfway point on our 10-mile route. The house is on the National Register of Historical Places, but the more exciting thing about it to us that day was its holiday ambiance and, frankly, its well-functioning furnace! The Center was humming with activity, as little ones awaited their audience with Santa Claus, eager to share their holiday wish lists.

We peeked in but ultimately left Santa to the kids! Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

We peeked in but ultimately left Santa to the kids! Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

Learnin' all about HERBS! Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

Learnin' all about HERBS! Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

Several riders took advantage of the close proximity of Bicycle One to fortify their winter-riding attire before embarking on the second leg of our ride. An unanticipated highlight of the final leg was the picturesque view along Olde Ridenour Rd, the park and golf course lightly dusted with snow, as we traveled north after departing Creekside Gahanna. 

Among the more experienced riders were several novice and first-time Year of Yay! participants, myself included! This was a very congenial group, as the new riders were made to feel welcome and supported. Tips and tricks for beating the cold, and for making winter-riding pleasurable and safe were a favorite topic. Overheard were a number of spirited discussions about the merits of merino wool vs. lycra as we tackled some brief, but challenging sections on Granville St. and Morse Rd. Despite the freezing temperatures, and holiday shoppers in the throes of gift-giving fervor, the Heartwarming ride was deemed a success! 

As usual, the crew enjoyed food & beverage aplenty at Whole Foods Market after the ride. Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

As usual, the crew enjoyed food & beverage aplenty at Whole Foods Market after the ride. Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

'The 70s' ride recap

Thanks to ride leader Grant Summers for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

October’s “70s ride” was a great ride punctuated with 3 unique stops that our group really enjoyed! It was the first ride that I have led since joining Yay Bikes! last year, and it was also the first ride since Fall started. We were greeted with a cool, sunny morning, and our route covered approximately 21 miles. 

Someone was READY for this one!

Someone was READY for this one!

After leaving the Whole Foods at Easton, we rolled east through through several Northeast Columbus neighborhoods until we arrived at our first stop, Musicol Recording. This record studio, at its current location on Oakland Park since 1971, also features a vinyl pressing operation in the basement. It is one of only two businesses currently in Ohio that press vinyl records. Warren Hull graciously gave our group a tour of the recording studio, cozily packed with analog recording equipment and instruments, and the vinyl pressing area. We had a lot of fun at this stop!

And just like that, a new supergroup was formed!

And just like that, a new supergroup was formed!

Our next was was only a short three mile ride north, mostly on Maize road, until we reached Skate Zone 71, which you can see off I-71. Dan Merzke, the operations manager, greeted our group and gave us a brief tour of this skating rink plus a rundown of the various skating sessions they hold. Perhaps we might have a Yay Bikes! Adult Skate party here?!?!?

Operations Manager Dan Merzke shares about Skate Zone 71. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Operations Manager Dan Merzke shares about Skate Zone 71. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

From Skate Zone 71, we rode northeast through the winding, tree lined streets of the Forest Park neighborhood, until we reached our final stop, Starbase Columbus. The staff was excited to see our group! Each of our riders received a bag with some snacks, and Lori told us stories about meeting the actors/actresses involved with Star Trek. She also demonstrated some Star Trek themed toys, such as a Bluetooth communicator, and a remote control fashioned to like like a phaser. This was quite a memorable stop.

After that it was time to head back to our home base. We were able to pick up the Alum Creek Multi-Use trail at James Casto Park, which is near the Alum Creek shopping center off route 3. We rode this trail until we reached the Strawberry Farms neighborhood. From their it was a short uphill incline until we safely reached Sunbury Road and eventually Whole Foods. 

I want to thank each of our hosts for taking the time to speak with us during this ride. 

Happy Cycling…………

Seeking 2017's Year of Yay! button artist

Five years of Year of Yay! buttons by local artists Ryan Brinkerhoff (2012), Rich Schneider (2013) Jessica Seyfang (2014). Devin Carothers (2015) and Thom Glick (2016). 

Five years of Year of Yay! buttons by local artists Ryan Brinkerhoff (2012), Rich Schneider (2013) Jessica Seyfang (2014). Devin Carothers (2015) and Thom Glick (2016). 

Year of Yay! is 12 monthly rides that each feature a unique theme—which could be something tangible like "Chocolate", or more abstract, like "Resilience". All 12 rides provide participants with a 1.25" button that reflects the theme and connects it somehow to bicycling. 

We are now accepting applications for a button artist to design the 2017 Year of Yay! ride buttons. This is a paid gig! All styles are welcome! To apply, design one button on the theme "Organized Labor" and submit a jpg, png, eps or pdf version of the image to Meredith by October 26. A decision will be made by October 31; all buttons will be due by January 1. 

We look forward to seeing your creativity in action! 

'Resilience' ride recap

Thanks to ride leader Kathleen Koechlin for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

On the eve of the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 tragedy, 34 cyclists set out to honor those people and things that exemplify resilience. To get to our first stop, the Somali Community Association of Ohio (SCAO), we climbed what the ride leader, Kathleen Koechlin, likes to call the “super-secret trail” which links the Alum Creek trail with the neighborhood of North Linden. It was a challenging uphill climb, but it is a good trail to know if you ever want to commute to Easton or anywhere along the Alum Creek Trail from the Clintonville or North Linden neighborhoods. When we arrived at the first stop, our speaker was nowhere to be found, so Kathleen talked with the group about the meaning of the word “resilience” and why the SCAO was included in the ride. She also provided some details about the Somali population in Columbus and the life that they had fled.

Ride leader Kathleen Koechlin talks with the group about the resilience of Somali refugees. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Ride leader Kathleen Koechlin talks with the group about the resilience of Somali refugees. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Next we headed north to Westerville’s First Responder Park where we were met by Tom Ullom, retired firefighter and founder of the park. He had set up an amazing display of 9/11 artifacts which included photos of all the firefighters lost on that horrific day 15 years ago. Tom described his friend and inspiration for the park, fallen firefighter Dave Theisen whose memory is honored at this site with a sculpture called "The Crossing", designed by Steve Geddes and Bob Moore. He then gave the account of how the piece of World Trade Center (WTC) Steel, known as C-40, came to find a home in Westerville. You can hear his full presentation here.

Tom Ullom, retired firefighter and founder of Westerville’s First Responder Park, shares how a piece of the World Trade Center made its way to Central Ohio. Photo credit: Napoleon Allen

Tom Ullom, retired firefighter and founder of Westerville’s First Responder Park, shares how a piece of the World Trade Center made its way to Central Ohio. Photo credit: Napoleon Allen

Steel from the World Trade Center. Photo credit: Catherine Girves

Steel from the World Trade Center. Photo credit: Catherine Girves

A photo op stop at Otterbein University on the way to the third stop. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

A photo op stop at Otterbein University on the way to the third stop. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

We wound our way through the beautiful streets of Westerville to reach our third and final stop, Inniswood Metro Gardens. There, Cindy Maravich, Senior Environmental Educator, took us into the gardens to sit in a beautiful shaded area outside of what used to be Grace and Mary Innis’s home. She told the story of the sisters who left their home and grounds to the Columbus Metro Parks upon their deaths. She talked about the resiliency of some of the insects and plants in the park and told of the types of wildlife one might see when walking the nearly 2 miles of trails. She even gave us stickers!

Some of the group opted to hang out under the shade of a tree while others ventured into the gardens. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Some of the group opted to hang out under the shade of a tree while others ventured into the gardens. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Entertaining ourselves with bike helmet bunny ears while waiting to turn onto Morse Road and then into the Whole Foods parking lot at Easton. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Entertaining ourselves with bike helmet bunny ears while waiting to turn onto Morse Road and then into the Whole Foods parking lot at Easton. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Finally, we headed back to Easton through the neighborhood known as Strawberry Farms, another good discovery for getting around this area of town by bicycle. The spirit was lite, even as we ended our 22 mile, somewhat hilly ride. It was a great day!

'Local Food' ride recap

Thanks to ride leader Alec Fleschner for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

Gathering pre-ride at Whole Foods Market Easton. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Gathering pre-ride at Whole Foods Market Easton. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

This month’s ride, “Local Food,” was incredible! The weather was hot, but the route wasn’t too hilly, and each stop helped refuel us for the next leg. We had over 45 riders registered, and the route went just a hair over 23 miles. The weather predictions said that rain would be coming, but it held off until after the ride. Beautiful weather!

Nothing but sunshine! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Nothing but sunshine! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Starting from Whole Foods in Easton, we traveled to the south side of the airport and over to the Columbus Produce Terminal to meet with Jeff Givens of Sanfilipo Produce. He spoke for a couple of minutes on how the company has been providing produce to Columbus businesses and people since 1899, but he gave us lots of time to check out the Cash & Carry store. He also kindly provided us with bags with grapes and apples. Thank you so much!

Ready to explore Sanfillipo Produce. Photo credit: Alec Fleschner

Ready to explore Sanfillipo Produce. Photo credit: Alec Fleschner

Jeff introduces Sanfillipo to us. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Jeff introduces Sanfillipo to us. Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Look at those goodies! Photo credit: Alec Fleschner

Look at those goodies! Photo credit: Alec Fleschner

After that, we headed north through Gahanna on our way to Coffee Time Bakery and Cafe. Check out Darrell McGrath's video of us riding down Bridgeway Ave:

At Coffee Time, we fueled up on sweet treats and coffee, as well as looking around at their baking supplies, scoping out the candy shop, and just relaxing for a few minutes before we took off. 

Nothing like a coffee break at the halfway point! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Nothing like a coffee break at the halfway point! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Checker break? Don't mind if we do! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Checker break? Don't mind if we do! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Finally, we headed to Nazareth Restaurant & Deli. The owner, Hany Baransi, was considering leaving the business after a man wielding a machete attacked patrons in February of this year, making national news. However, he has remained and recently remodeled. He was kind enough to talk to us about his food and provide us samples of hoummus and baba ghannoug, along with fresh pitas for dipping. 

Owner Hany Baransi explains the appeal of hoummus and baba ghannoug to us. His samples help just as much! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Owner Hany Baransi explains the appeal of hoummus and baba ghannoug to us. His samples help just as much! Photo credit: Shyra Allen

Lining up to try the food. Photo credit: Alec Fleschner

Lining up to try the food. Photo credit: Alec Fleschner

Our bikes laden with food, we headed back to Whole Foods. Thank you to everyone who rode with us! We hope to see you next month!

'American Heroes' ride recap

Cyclists chatting with each other at a stop. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Cyclists chatting with each other at a stop. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

This month's ride, titled "American Heroes", was fantastic. The weather was perfect! There were 40+ riders, on a journey of 21 miles. Here was the route we took. 

Riding against the backdrop of a beautiful sky. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Riding against the backdrop of a beautiful sky. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Our path took us from our Easton start point, Whole Foods, to our first stop, the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resource Center, where our gracious host Christine Happel enlightened us on how their agency does good, assisting a varied demographics in the community; most of us were very inspired and there was plenty talk of group members wanting to volunteer and donate useful items.

Cyclists gather at our first stop, Clintonville-Beechwold CRC. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Cyclists gather at our first stop, Clintonville-Beechwold CRC. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Christine Happel shares about Clintonville-Beechwold CRC (with ride leader Theo White at right). Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Christine Happel shares about Clintonville-Beechwold CRC (with ride leader Theo White at right). Photo credit: Keith Lugs

From there we traveled to main campus, where we stopped at Directions For Youth And Families and learned about the impact the men and women of this agency have in helping families and children improve their lives, via counseling services and various therapeutic programs. While gaining deeper insight into what is done at this agency, our group of road adventures were treated to frozen treats, in the form of Patriotic Bomb Pops, Popsicles and Ice Cream Bars; definitely fuel for our journey back!

Turning left off High Street. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Turning left off High Street. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Thanks to everyone who came out for the ride. See you next month!

July's button, courtesy local artist Thom Glick

'Obsessions' ride recap

On our most challenging ride to date, 53 intrepid souls joined us on a trip to enjoy target practice and ice cream (a couple of our favorite American "obsessions", of course)!

T'was a hot hot hot day for a long climb! Photo credit: Keith Lugs

T'was a hot hot hot day for a long climb! Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Our first and only stop was at AimHi Family Firearms Center, where Charlotte & Olivia's Sublime Ice Creams awaited with treats. We cash bombed the heck outta these guys—most everyone bought ice cream, about half of us bought access to the gun range and one person even BOUGHT A $1,600 GUN! Who says you need a car to shop!?!

Yes, please!

Yes, please!

Ride leader Aliceanne Inskeep shows off her shooting skillz.

Seriously though, this ride was hard and we learned some good lessons from it that we'll incorporate future ride planning. We strive to make Year of Yay! a challenging but positive experience for all involved—you'll probably ride places you may not have tried otherwise, but hopefully it'll be a great experience that gives you the confidence to try it again on your own. This route, however, featured a too-long stretch of uphill climbing on a one-lane road with fast traffic, and frankly even the most experienced among us found it stressful to ride. In the future, each ride will be pre-vetted by the ride leader and approved by staff before the group vetting ride (which comes too late in the game for major changes) and we'll ensure that no one leg of the trip is too long (10 miles is definitely too long—this isn't a fitness ride!) or too tough on the ole endocrine system. Thanks for hanging in there while we worked this all out, and thanks to all who provided constructive feedback!

Post-ride, hot and tired and ready for a cold one. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Post-ride, hot and tired and ready for a cold one. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

We are grateful to everyone who braved the heat to come out with us this month! Until next time...

'Murals' ride recap

Everyone poses in front of the mural, but a few goofballs steal the show! Photo credit: Kathleen O'Dowd

Everyone poses in front of the mural, but a few goofballs steal the show! Photo credit: Kathleen O'Dowd

By guest writer Shyra Allen, May's Year of Yay! ride co-leader

For more than 5 years, Yay Bikes! has designed rides to help cyclists enjoy our city from the seat of their bicycle—one of the best ways to see Columbus. I was given the opportunity to lead Year of Yay! May 2016. Setting out on my 17th YOY ride, I was 50% kid, with the wind in my face and my heart pumping Kool Aid. At my side was co-lead Shirley Droney, followed by a long trail of old friends, first-time riders and even moms and dads with double trailers. Check out the route we took!

The crew awaits their turn.

The crew awaits their turn.

Our first stop was in Easton Town Center where we attempted to interpret the “Getting From Here to There” mural. Despite our best efforts to collectively interpret its meaning, our pondering was drowned out by the unexpected arrival of what I’ve now termed “the green tractor” puffing smoke and noise and refusing to go away. However, it gave us the opportunity to hydrate and prepare for ride to the Golf Depot mural. 

Stylin'!

Stylin'!

Against the backdrop of Saturday’s hustle and bustle traffic on stretches, long winding roads and climbs of Stelzer, Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Hamilton Rd and Tech Center Dr, we peddled our way up to Golf Depot—the highest point in Franklin County, 8 miles from downtown Columbus—and its breathtaking view of Columbus’ skyline. There we were met by Steve Renaker, Director of Golf & Hospitality Assets. He said that he “couldn’t believe that people really go look at murals on bikes,” which translates roughly into “Yay Bikes! is boss!” Steve talked about how amazed he was to watch the artist paint the mural by himself in three days. He was awed that throughout the Golf Depot Mural there were groupings of color that ensured a mixture of levels and shapes that increased the visual impact of the mural. Most importantly it captured the beauty of golf that Steve loves, plus his co-founders’ passion for trains.

The Golf Depot mural

The Golf Depot mural

Our shortcut to Gahanna’s Rocky Fork Vista on the Big Walnut Creek Trail was a welcome change as we descended to the heart of Gahanna’s downtown. Warmly greeting us at the Gahanna History Mural was another community partner, Zac Guthrie of Gahanna Parks & Recreation. The overcast day could not dim Zac’s pride in the mural or our delight at the ivory tones accented by chocolate browns and black lines that reflected the natural light of the mural’s Southern exposure—exuding a feeling of warmth through color, texture and dimension. We were also grateful for his shout out to YayBikes! for the bike valet that we provide for Gahanna’s annual Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival.

Our crew with this incredible mural.

Our crew with this incredible mural.

And a close-up! How beautiful

And a close-up! How beautiful

Wrapping it up, we grabbed a snack and water from our saddlebags, preparing for our last stretch with only one destination in mind: Whole Foods. We splashed in shallow water puddles, jumped over twigs in the road and sped down a hill with the wind in our hair. Suddenly I was 100% kid. But never, not once, was I at all bored.

Headed home!

Headed home!

Thanks to everyone who braved the threat of rain to join our ride. See you next month! Until then, check out this audio profile of the ride from the fabulous Darrell McGrath:

'Earth Day' ride recap

Twenty-four brave people on bikes showed up for a very chilly and windy April Year of Yay! ‘Earth Day’ ride. We rode 18.6 miles, and along the way we learned about our interconnectedness with water, ways we can get involved with local environmental improvement efforts and what each of us can do at home to live more ‘green’ and sustainably. Check the route we took and read on for what it brought us! 

Gearing up!

Gearing up!

Our group of fearless riders rolled out of Whole Foods Easton and headed west towards the Alum Creek Trail towards our first stop along that path—Edward Franklin Honton Memorial Bridge.  

Snowy bridges made for some challenging riding on the Alum Creek Trail.

Snowy bridges made for some challenging riding on the Alum Creek Trail.

Our view of Alum Creek from the Edward Franklin Honton Memorial Bridge

Our view of Alum Creek from the Edward Franklin Honton Memorial Bridge

From here, our group had a good view of Alum Creek where we listened to David Hohmann of FACT (Friends of Alum Creek and Tributaries) tell us about watersheds, why they are important, pollutants that threaten them and what we can do to protect and restore them.

Everyone is bundled up for our first chilly stop!

Everyone is bundled up for our first chilly stop!

After that we continued south on the trail towards our next destination—a private residence in Clintonville—to learn about what each of us can do at home to live more sustainably. But along the way we decided to make a stop at the bridge overlooking Glen Echo Ravine so that our other guest rider and presenter, Tad Dritz of Green Columbus, could tell us about his organization and volunteer opportunities with ‘Branch Out,’ the weeklong Earth Day Columbus volunteer effort to clean up neighborhoods, remove invasive species like honeysuckle, tend to community gardens and, of course, plant trees (Columbus has a goal to plant 300,000 trees by 2020). 

Mike Sapp standing in a bed of Kentucky bluebells as he tells us about rain barrels, composting and other at home earth friendly ways to live.

Mike Sapp standing in a bed of Kentucky bluebells as he tells us about rain barrels, composting and other at home earth friendly ways to live.

Just up Indianola from the Glen Echo Ravine was our third and final stop, the home of FLOW (Friends of Lower Olentangy Watershed) super volunteer, Mike Sapp. Mike talked about things we can do at home to protect the watershed in which we live. He showed us around his yard where he has rain barrels installed to keep water from leaving his property, an impressive compost arrangement, lots of good native plant species and his newly acquired hobby–honey bees!

From there we headed back to the warmth of Whole Foods where we enjoyed great company, food and drink. Sure, it was 30 degrees out and winds were around 20 miles per hour, but the company along the ride made it seem effortless. Thanks for all who came out to make it a super great day!

And finally, as always, this month's button, courtesy local artist Thom Glick:

'Chickens' ride recap

The March Year of Yay! ride was a step into Spring—we were blessed with bright skies, warming temps and not a drop of rain to be seen—with the theme of 'Chickens'. The ride's almost 80 riders, including 10 first-timers, were greeted at Whole Foods Market by five 5-week-old chicks from John Bannon's urban farm. Besides those cute baby birds, we had two stops to make to visit folks raising poultry in the city. Check the route we took and then follow along to relive the experience!  

Riders—even a dad with his kids—rock Morse Road. Photo credit: Ray George

Riders—even a dad with his kids—rock Morse Road. Photo credit: Ray George

Off we rode onto Morse Road towards Jerah Pettibone's quail operation. We drifted off the heavy traffic into a lovely old Columbus neighborhood where we were greeted at Jerah's house with a tour. Upon donning shoe covers (blue booties), we met her 100 baby quail and 100 adult quail—she is licensed to sell their eggs and meat. Also living there were two breeding partridges, and they were lovely. 

Riders arrive at a house on a quiet street in North Columbus. Photo credit: Ray George

Riders arrive at a house on a quiet street in North Columbus. Photo credit: Ray George

Quails! Photo credit: Ray George

Quails! Photo credit: Ray George

Sending the group off again, we all slowly meandered through some quiet streets northward to the home of Milo Petruziello, who lives in North Columbus with his wife, two boys and eight laying hens. Milo and his family gave us a detailed look into how to raise chickens in the City of Columbus. He proudly showed us his recently awarded Animal Possessor Permit and talked about how he made his coop and the types of chickens he has been raising for the past year. 

Riders explore chicken coops at a home in North Columbus. Photo credit: Ray George

Riders explore chicken coops at a home in North Columbus. Photo credit: Ray George

Baby chicks! Photo credit: Ray George

Baby chicks! Photo credit: Ray George

Thus our chicken tour was complete, and we headed back to Easton for some well deserved snacks and beverages. By now the temps were over 60, we'd been out for several hours and the jackets were starting to peel off. That cold one was just the perfect end to another great ride. 

"Bwok bwok!" (rough translation: "Bye bye!"). Photo credit: Ray George 

"Bwok bwok!" (rough translation: "Bye bye!"). Photo credit: Ray George 

Thanks to Ride Leader John Bannon and to all who rode this month—see you next time! In the meantime, we'll leave you with another awesome audio file of the ride from Darrel McGrath:

And finally, of course, this month's button, courtesy local artist Thom Glick:

'Some like it HOT!' ride recap

February's theme of "SOME LIKE IT HOT!" was, ironically (but not really, because of course the whole point was that Feb is NOT HOT), altered at the last minute due to particularly FRIGID conditions. Though the stops changed and the 11-mile route was cut to 2, a hardy group of 22 enjoyed a sunny ride, cash bombed several stores and celebrated the day in style. Yay Bikes! thanks Ride Leader Jen Cowley for her work to create a great experience for everyone. Thanks, as well, to the 10 people who came an hour early to re-vet the route after it changed! 

Stealth style a la Deanne (a committed fair-weather cyclist who joined us in spite of herself!), Kathleen & Sarah. Photo credit: Kathleen O'Dowd

Stealth style a la Deanne (a committed fair-weather cyclist who joined us in spite of herself!), Kathleen & Sarah. Photo credit: Kathleen O'Dowd

Everyone was bundled up tight for the first leg of our journey on the outskirts of Easton Town Center! The plan was to visit some places where we could learn about staying HOT(ish, aka 'warm') during our winter rides. 

Ride Leader Jen Cowley (in the saucy teal helmet) with a pack of intrepid cyclists. Photo credit: Kathleen O'Dowd

Ride Leader Jen Cowley (in the saucy teal helmet) with a pack of intrepid cyclists. Photo credit: Kathleen O'Dowd

First stop: L.L.Bean, where we were greeted with fresh HOT (temperature!) coffee and all the scoop on HOT (sexy!) wool skivvies, and all sorts of other base layer options. After the wonderful presentation we wandered the store, finishing our coffee and SHOPPING! Bonus—the marketing guy saw all our bikes leaned on the front of the store and realized that the store had no bike racks. "We should have bike racks!". Changing minds and hearts one cash bomb at a time.

Our group takes in a presentation on base layers at L.L.Bean. Photo credit: Catherine Girves

Our group takes in a presentation on base layers at L.L.Bean. Photo credit: Catherine Girves

Second stop: REI, where Jamie Young (our REI SAG friend from Bike the Cbus+) taught us all about keeping our extremities toasty warm, while REI Outreach Market Coordinator passed out coupons and chapstick.

Our group cash bombs the crap out of REI. Photo credit: Catherine Girves

Our group cash bombs the crap out of REI. Photo credit: Catherine Girves

Final stop: back to Whole Foods Market, where the crew had complimentary HOT chocolate awaiting us. We kinda took over the place, didn't we?! It was the perfect way to cap off the morning and continue our conversations about riding in winter weather.

Toasting another fabulous adventure. Photo credit: Catherine Girves

Toasting another fabulous adventure. Photo credit: Catherine Girves

We're so proud of everyone who braved the anti-HOT (aka, COLD) to come out for this ride. It wasn't what we expected but we made a damn fine time of it! See you next month! Until then, check out this short audio profile of the ride from Darrell McGrath:

Behind the scenes of a Year of Yay!

Updated July 2018

Year of Yay! volunteer ride leads and sweeps on their January 2016 route vetting ride. 

Year of Yay! volunteer ride leads and sweeps on their January 2016 route vetting ride. 

Think you're too _____ to ride a Year of Yay!? Nope! We got you—and you got this! 

We are in our 7th (!!!) Year of Yay! ride series with a ride almost every month since January 2012. Over the years, given plenty of mistakes and gracious feedback, we’ve learned a thing or 80 about how to lead a ride so that everyone feels safe, welcome and cared for. Indeed, you might be surprised to know how much intention and preparation happens in the shadows of a Year of Yay!, all in service of helping all participants have a successful, fun ride experience. But we’re revealing some of our ride secrets here, so that you truly know deep down: WE. GOT. YOU. Therefore: YOU. GOT. THIS. Year of Yay! is an accessible ride that supports all comers as they gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to ride roads from place to place. 

On a Year of Yay! ride, you may be challenged, but you will also be supported. Our volunteers are all required to manifest our core values and be trained specifically to support this ride. Here’s how:

Your challenge: We ride roads—and no roads are too difficult for us to ride. This year, for example, our rides all start and end from Lucky's Market in Clintonville (right on High Street).

Our support: One week before each Year of Yay! ride, our team of volunteer leads and sweeps—1 of each for every 20 riders we anticipate—rides the draft route to see how it works on the ground and discuss how they’re going to usher the group though its particular challenges. No one is allowed to lead or sweep unless they’ve been on this ride! That way, when the group breaks during our ride, as it always does (see: “We follow traffic law”, below), each sub-group retains a lead and a sweep who know the route and will help you navigate it. You got this!

Your challenge: We follow traffic law. We don’t “cork” intersections (i.e., block cars from proceeding until all our riders have made it through), we don’t ride six abreast, we don’t roll through crosswalks when pedestrians are there. Etc., etc., etc.

Our support: Oh, so you’re not a bike law expert? Well, then. No ride for you! (jokes…) Seriously, though. Just about anyone you ask can answer your questions or point you to someone who can. On the ride, we provide several trained “Cruise Directors” who watch for and gently correct any behavior that’s unsafe or unlawful. You got this!

Your challenge: We ride 15–20 miles. Sometimes, when the weather is nice, we may even ride slightly more. When the weather is really cold or rainy, we'll likely ride less. And there will be hills, sweat and mechanical issues, yes.

Our support: Year of Yay! is a NO-DROP RIDE, and we mean it. We ride at a conversational pace (approximately 10–12mph) and make frequent stops at which you can rest. But if you’re still struggling we have an emergency sweep who will stay with you, no matter what. We also have volunteer wrenches who have signed on to help fix the minor mechanical problems that occasionally pop up. That’s right: you got this! We've hosted riders of all ages and abilities, and while not everyone has finished a ride, they've all felt very much supported as they decided whether and how to proceed. 

Year of Yay! rides are truly a blast. You'll meet great people, see parts of the city you never knew existed and become confident riding roads of all kinds. It'll all seem quite effortless, joyful, carefree! But behind the scenes is a vast network of support that makes it so. And we got you!

'TAKING' ride recap

January’s theme of “TAKING” was a “TAKE” on December’s theme of “Giving” (courtesy Ride Leader Jeff Gove, smart-ass extraordinaire). It was intended to “TAKE into consideration" our new starting point at Whole Foods Market Easton, the possibility of inclement weather and potential first-time riders. We were pleasantly surprised that the weather was grand and 60 folks “TOOK the challenge" to ride with us that day! 

“TAKING time” to greet one another at our new start location, Whole Foods Market Easton.  Photo credit: Craig Clark

“TAKING time” to greet one another at our new start location, Whole Foods Market Easton. Photo credit: Craig Clark

On the first leg of our 4.4-mile journey, we greeted Easton Town Center shoppers with a chorus of “Hello’s” and bike bells as we cruised by. 

"TAKING the breath away" of Easton shoppers with our huge group.  Photo credit: Craig Clark

"TAKING the breath away" of Easton shoppers with our huge group. Photo credit: Craig Clark

We headed from the shops of Easton to a surprisingly accessible section of the Alum Creek Greenway Trail, where our first stop—its newly completed bridge—offered a lovely backdrop for a Central Ohio Greenways Board Member to discuss the future of our region's trail network. 

"TAKING refuge" on the Alum Creek Trail.  Photo credit: Craig Clark

"TAKING refuge" on the Alum Creek Trail. Photo credit: Craig Clark

"TAKING it all in" on the recently completed Alum Creek Trail bridge.  Photo credit: Craig Clark

"TAKING it all in" on the recently completed Alum Creek Trail bridge. Photo credit: Craig Clark

Our return to Whole Foods Easton included Morse Road, a busy Columbus thoroughfare that everyone navigated with ease—partly because the drivers were super patient with us and partly because we understand the importance of taking the lane. One driver even rolled down her window to ask who we were, and said she'd like to join us for a future ride!

"TAKING the lane" on Sunbury Road. Photo credit: Craig Clark

"TAKING the lane" on Sunbury Road. Photo credit: Craig Clark

Back at Whole Foods Market, most of us squeezed onto a fire-warmed patio to enjoy the food, drink and company. 

"TAKING a load off" post-ride at Whole Foods Easton Market's outdoor, fire-warmed seating area.

"TAKING a load off" post-ride at Whole Foods Easton Market's outdoor, fire-warmed seating area.

What a great start to our 5th Year of Yay! ride series! Thanks to everyone who helped us "TAKE it up a notch" this month, especially our Ride Leader, Jeff Gove. See you next month!