ALMONT — Village residents should prepare for an onslaught of non-motorized two-wheelers on Thursday, June 28, when hundreds of bicyclists make a day-long stopover in Almont before continuing east the next morning.
The pedalers are members of PALM (Pedal Across Lower Michigan), who will be embarked on the final leg of their journey from Pentwater, near Holland, to the City of St. Clair.
PALM's membership includes adults and children of various ages, all of whom share the penchant for riding pedal bikes.
The PALM entourage is expected to arrive in Almont at around 8 a.m. on Thursday, spend the night and pedal off again around mid-morning on Friday, June 29.
During their stay in Almont, the bicyclists will base themselves at the Almont Middle School, where they will sleep in tents on the school grounds and have access to the school's showers and restrooms.
PALM cyclists set up camp at one of many stops as they 'Pedal Across Lower Michigan.' The group will stop in Almont on June 28.
The middle school's classrooms will be used for children's activities and a learning course on bicycle basics and
Among the estimated 700 bicyclists to be spending the day and evening in Almont are about 150 PALM staff and travelers.
The original PALM concept was to accept and encourage participation for all cyclists; even novice riders and groups of families.
Typically, many of those participating will be first-timers to the group's riding circuit.
The first PALM ride took place in June of 1982 and was sponsored by the Great Lakes Bicycle Council.
That year, they partnered with the Metropolitan Detroit Council of American Youth Hostels; Southwestern Michigan Regional Planning Commission, South-Central Michigan Planning Council and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.
PALM's steering committee consists of a group of dedicated volunteers who meet monthly, beginning in September, to review the previous year's ride and begin planning for next year.
Since the organization's beginning, the staff of PALM has been represented by volunteers, many of whom continue to serve in that capacity.
The group's philosophy is designed to attract Michigan-based riders of all ages and ability levels.
The group is also open to riders from other states and nations.
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.