Think Detroit's Gran Fondo bicycle ride has been derailed? Not so fast!
True, the original sponsor of the 54-mile Woodward Avenue bicycle event, theWoodward Avenue Action Association (WA3), may have pulled out due to resistance from the city of Royal Oak. But a Ferndale bike shop owner is ready to pick up where it left off.
Jon Hughes, owner of the Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop, plans to keep the ride alive on June 30, even if city leaders don't give the event their blessing.
Gran fondo means "big ride" in Italian; it's an umbrella term covering a variety of large-scale biking events, which have been common in Italy for years but are just starting to catch on in the United States. According to Bicycling magazine, almost every large U.S. city now sponsors a gran fondo event.
As originally planned, Detroit's Gran Fondo would have featured a professional bike race stretching from Detroit to Pontiac and back, followed up by a large community ride. WA3, a public-private nonprofit, decided to sponsor the event as a way to raise money for improvements along the Woodward Corridor. It got the idea from Dale Hughes, Jon's father and a long-time bike race organizer and track designer, who approached the organization for logistical support.