Blog Post

Outdoor Indiana

Joe Anderson

While reading the most recent issue of Outdoor Indiana I came across an article about the Bloomington Bicycle Club. This is the third time the magazine has featured the Bloomington Bicycle Club and its events in the last twenty years. The previous two were cover stories about the Touring Ride In Rural Indiana (TRIRI) and the Ride Across INdiana (RAIN). Being a long-time subscriber to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ premier magazine and familiar with its Managing Editor Marty Benson, I asked and received permission to reproduce the articles on the BBC web site.

The article “Bloomington Bicycle Club” appears in the May/June 2021 issue of Outdoor Indiana. I would encourage anyone interested in a variety of outdoor activities like biking, hiking, birding and kayaking to subscribe to Outdoor Indiana. The annual cost for six issues is $15.00 and the magazine contains many spectacular photographs by Frank Oliver and Richard Fields. Club member Yusuf Nur’s photograph from one of Warren Smith’s BBC gravel/single track rides is featured in this current issue.

BBC in May/June Outdoor Indiana

As a longtime member of the Bloomington Bicycle Club, I would like to share a bit of history with those of you who are new to the BBC and especially those of you who are new to Indiana. I joined a group of bicyclists in Boomington, on weekly Saturday rides before the club was formally incorporated in 1982. In 1984 Barbara and I were organizing the club’s annual Hoosier Hills fundraising ride. Hoosier Hills was a late spring ride with 30, 60 and 100 kilometer Saturday routes to and around Lake Monroe followed by a Sunday Route of 50 miles to Spencer. Support from both the Indiana Tourism Department and the Bloomington Visitors Bureau allowed the event to grow to nearly 1,000 participants. In 1985 we helped a friend organize a 400 mile, week-long bicycle camping tour called the Touring Ride In Rural Indiana (TRIRI) which used Indiana State Parks as overnights. In 1990, not 1980 as stated in the afore mentioned Outdoor Indiana article, Bill Walters, the Director of Indiana State Parks and an avid Hoosier Hills cyclist, allowed Indiana State Parks to become the major sponsor of TRIRI. Within a few years TRIRI grew in national prominence and was featured in an Outdoor Indiana cover story titled “Annual ride cruises at different pace” authored by Michael Boo with photographs by Richard Fields. That article, which appeared in the Jan/Feb 2001 issue, is used by permission.

TRIRI Ride in Jan/Feb 2001 Outdoor Indiana

Six years after our TRIRI ride was featured in Outdoor Indiana, Barbara and I, as directors of the club’s Ride Across INdiana (RAIN), received a call from Marty Benson, Senior Editor of Outdoor Indiana asking permission to photograph the RAIN Ride. Once again Richard Fields was the photographer and Marty Benson was a participant and a successful finisher. Marty’s “Tour De National Road” article describing his trip across Indiana, one way, one day, on a bicycle, was featured in the September/October 2007 issue of Outdoor Indiana and is used by permission.

Tour de National Ride in Sept/Oct 2007 Outdoor Indiana

Obviously, the BBC’s long relationship with DNR and Indiana State Parks has offered great opportunities to promote both bicycling and Indiana. It is because of this unique relationship that off road bicycling in Indiana State Parks has provided the Midwest with premier single track off road trails in places like Brown County State Park. But the best thing about this relationship is how it has been able to promote bicycling in Indiana.

The Story of the Popcorn Ride

By Joe Anderson

Bloomington is a special place and 2020 has been an unusual year. COVID has pretty much put the kibosh on everything we had planned to do this past summer, so we were lucky to have the Bloomington Bicycle Club rides as a safe and healthy outdoor activity. It was fortuitous that the penultimate ride of the 2020 road season was listed twenty years ago by National Geographic’s inaugural Adventure Magazine (April 2000) as their 65th most exciting adventure in America.

Bicycling became a popular American sport in 1976 after Bikecentenial (Renamed Adventure Cycling in 1990) laid out their TransAmerica Route to celebrate our bicentennial. 1,750 cyclists signed up to ride the entire 4,250-mile route from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia that year. Three years later, in 1979, the movie “Breaking Away” was filmed in Bloomington. I, along with Jeremy and his then six-year-old sister Kristen, were in the stands of the old 10th Street Stadium for the filming of the final race scene. A few years later, in 1986, Greg LeMond became the first American to win the Tour de France. After recovering from a gunshot accident, he won the tour twice more, in 1989 and again in 1990, helping spur the bicycling craze in America. The combination of the bicycling craze and the movie “Breaking Away” provided the connection that caused the National Geographic to inquire about Bicycling in Bloomington. Fred Rose, manager of the Bicycle Garage, provided the BBC map of the Popcorn Ride to the National Geographic staff.

This April 2000 edition of the National Geographic’s Adventure Magazine contains a 27-page article entitled “America’s Best: The Adventure 100.” The introduction to that article states:

Who says you can’t quantify greatness? For our first annual Adventure 100, we crisscrossed the United States – from Alaska to Florida – enlisted the country’s top adventure writers, and ranked trips, by a complex set of subjective criteria. The result? A countdown of epic hikes, killer climbs, back country rides, roller-coaster raft runs, and much more that we confidently declare to be America’s Best.

The top seven on their list include: Rafting the Grand Canyon; Kayaking in Kauai,Hawaii; Dog Sledding in Alaska; Mountain Biking in Colorado and Utah; Hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park; Skiing Corbet’s Couloir in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and Climbing El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. We are indeed in great company!

Magazine Cover
National Geographic Adventure Magazine cover, April, 2000

I learned about this Adventure rating by accident while returning from a mission trip in Macas, Equador, twenty years ago. Awaiting our Indianapolis connection in Houston’s Bush International Airport, I picked up a National Geographic magazine and came across this little blurb:

Number 65 – Road Biking, Monroe, and Lawrence Counties, Indiana. Remember the 1979 movie “Breaking Away?” Since then, serious road bikers have wheeled along the back roads around Bloomington, including a bucolic 50-mile loop that heads south on Old Route 37 to Harrodsburg, then goes west on Popcorn Road, and continues tacking left on a two-lane country road past small farms, limestone quarries, and quaint towns. – Bicycle Garage (812) 339-3457

National Geographic ADVENTURE, April, 2000
Number 65
Adventure Number 65

I recognized this adventure as the “Mystery Ride” I had laid out years earlier by giving clues and asking BBC Club members to call with the name of the “Mystery Ride” when they received the BBC Newsletter with the following clues:

  • Go south on an ancient highway
  • Turn right at a town named after a biblical king
  • Turn right onto “Mystery” Road
  • Identify the B and the O on the historic railroad marker
  • Turn right on a state highway that is Al Abbott’s age
  • Turn right before the bridge across “Mystery” Creek
  • Turn left then right to the “Mystery” Church
  • Rest Stop at the “Mystery” Church with
  • Gatorade, water and snack – Identify the snack
  • Head North on a cold weather road
  • Head east on a rocky road
  • Head north through a town named after the Star Trek captain
  • Return to Bloomington on a winner’s highway

I want to thank Chris Hahn for mentioning the National Geographic’s 65th Best Adventure in America in his teaser for last Saturday’s club ride. It allowed me to reminisce about our associations with this little burg, Popcorn, Indiana. Club members Jim and Sylvia Schroeder were married at this Popcorn Church several years ago, and Barbara and I played bridge at Dale and Peggy Humphry’s (prominent church members) farm less than a mile from there. Dale hooked up his tractor and hayrack and offered the bridge club members a hayride through the beautiful fields and pastures of his farm. Dale was the past president of the National Cattleman’s Association, a prestigious honor which garnered him an invitation to President Reagan’s Inauguration. He had the invitation framed and hanging on the kitchen wall. When I asked about the experience, he admitted he was too busy farming to attend, a decision he had regretted for the past twenty years.

Getting back to the Adventure 100 list. Did anyone notice the nice new signs south of Kirksville advertising May Creek Farm? That was a nudist colony back in the day. Had National Geographic known about the nudist colony, the Popcorn Ride would certainly have rated higher than 65th on America’s best adventures.

Safety Spots

In early June 2020 our Safety Chair Craig Medlyn was interviewed on Julie Beesly and Skip Daly’s radio show on Bloomington station WCLS about the BBC. He mentioned many of our activities and highlighted the issue of safety for cyclists. Craig’s goal is to have more such safety spots on local media. Listen here to a recording of the interview, running about 12 minutes all together.

New 7-Line Information Meetings

June 11, 2020

For more information, please contact: Beth Rosenbarger, Planning Services Manager, Planning and Transportation Department, or (812) 349-3423.

Bloomington, Ind. – An informational meeting to be held Thursday, June 18 will offer residents the opportunity to learn more and offer input about the new 7-Line, which will provide a protected east-west bicycle lane and improved bus corridor along Seventh Street.  Participants may join the meeting via Zoom video conference starting at 6 p.m.  Details for joining the meeting are as follows:

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 973 4210 0492

One tap mobile

+13126266799,,97342100492# US (Chicago)

+19292056099,,97342100492# US (New York)

The meeting will also be streamed live on Facebook.

The 7-Line is one of seven public improvement projects announced by Mayor John Hamilton in Bloomington’s bicentennial year as a gift to its future.  Supported by a $10 million bond approved by the Bloomington Common Council in 2018, the projects will add miles of new greenways and trails, reactivate downtown alleyways, expand the city’s tree canopy, and create attractive gateways to the community.  More information about these projects is available here

Building on the success and transformative effect of the B-Line Trail, the 7-Line will provide a protected east-west bicycle lane and improved bus corridor to connect the B-Line, downtown, Indiana University campus, and eastside neighborhoods. The project will enhance and expand the conventional bike lane that already exists along parts of 7th Street by adding physical separation between bicyclists and auto traffic to improve comfort, safety, and efficiency for all road users.  Extending 0.72 miles from the B-Line Trail to Woodlawn Avenue, the first phase of the 7th Street improvements will provide a direct route between downtown and campus, designed to increase ridership and improve access to nearby destinations.   In subsequent phases, the 7-Line is projected to extend from the eastern edge of the IU campus to the current terminus of the Seventh/Longview Greenway near the S.R. 46/S.R. 446 intersection.  The project’s design consultant is Indianapolis-based American Structurepoint.  

In addition, members of the public are invited to attend upcoming meetings of the City’s advisory commissions during which the project will be reviewed:

·         June 24, 4:30 p.m.: Traffic Commission meeting

·         June 25, 5:30 p.m.: Parking Commission meeting

Information about joining these meetings remotely via Zoom video conference will be posted at the project’s website, where updates about the 7-Line project are posted.

BBC Grant Recipients 2020

Summary of 2020 BBC Community Grants

Using revenue from its RAIN Ride event, Bloomington Bicycle Club supports a program of grants to a variety of community groups, including nonprofit organizations and programs, schools, and other civic-minded organizations, with the aim to

  • Promote and encourage bicycling for recreation, competition, travel, and transportation
  • Train and educate the community about bicycles and bicycling
  • Promote better public understanding and respect for the rights of bicyclists and the observance of traffic regulations by bicyclists and drivers
  • Promote bicycle safety

This year 10 organizations received grants, totaling $15,508:

  • deCycles:Gulf Coast 2020 Bicycle Trip”—Subsidize cost of summer trip, $ 2,000.00 
  • Bloomington Developmental Learning Center:Introduction to Cycling Safety”—Trikes, Balance Bikes and Helmets, $508.00 
  • Hoosier Mountain Bike Association:Limekiln Return”—Full beginner loop, $2,000.00 
  • The Warehouse:Mountain Bike”—Seat posts, loam levers, cables and park passes, $500.00 
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington: Ferguson Crestmont Unit:Crestmont Club Riders”—Maintenance, supplies and work stand for bikes, $2,000.00 
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington: Lincoln Street Unit:Lincoln Street Club Riders”—Smaller bikes, tune-ups, tires and other equipment, $2,000.00 
  • City of Bloomington Planning and Transportation:Bike Valet Pilot Project”—CycleSafe Bike Check systems, $2,000.00 
  • Harmony School:Bikes for Tykes”—Repair tools, parts and a shed for bikes, $1,500 
  • Monroe County Community School Corporation:Community Transitions Bike Project”—Adult Trikes, Simple Bikes and Helmets, $2,000.00 
  • Bloomington Community Bike Project:Supporting the Most Vulnerable Cyclists”—Bike locks, Tool library, $1,000.00 

Annual Meeting 2020

Saturday night, February 8, marked the 2020 annual BBC banquet and business meeting. We had a large turnout, good food and fellowship, several important reports, election of officers whose terms were expiring, and the presentation of awards.

Attendance ran about 80 people. Hors d’oevres were provided as folks arrived around 5:30. A slide show ran continously through much of the evening.

The meeting was called to order by president Andrew Houlne with an overview of the schedule for the evenng and three committee reports to be presented before dinner.

Treasurer Jim Powers provided an overview of club finances. He noted that although finances were in good shape, with comfortable reserves, we operated at a small loss for the year. As a consequence the board decided to raise 2020 RAIN fees as well as club dues slightly.

Out-going grants chair Jen Miers reviewed BBC grants for last year and emphasized the importance of everyone pitching in to volunteer in some aspect of RAIN, which provides the bulk of our funding. Grant applications are due at the end of February.

Safety chair Craig Medlyn put in a plug for safety and education, highlighting the plan for public service announcements on the radio.

After a nice buffet dinner, we had several presentations.

Mallory Rickbeil, City Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, spoke about planning and development of bicycling infrastructure. The latest information about ongoing City projects is available at She encouraged people to contact her with questions and suggestions, as well as to report “near misses” as they work to improve public safety. Her contact information:

Bob Holahan, owner and founder of the Bicycle Garage, gave some historical reminiscences in the light of the firm’s 40th anniversary. Then Fred Rose, mechanic at Bicycle Garage, gave a short presentation on basic important aspects of bicycle maintenance. In brief, keep it clean and lightly lubed. And consider changing your chain more often, the easiest way to maintain that “new bike” feel.

Jim Schroeder gave a presentation about the advocacy and education work of the state-wide organization Bicycle Indiana, on whose board he serves. He highlighted the passage of the new “3 feet passing” law last year, and urged that the club continue its support of the group.

Andrew Houlne then moderated the election of new officers. Under our staggered system of officers, the positions of secretary and president were up for election. Current secretary Kathy Cummins was nominated for another term, and Matt Summers was nominated for president. There being no further nominations from the floor, these two were elected by acclimation. Congratulations and applause for our new president Matt! A big thank you to outgoing president Andrew Houlne for his service and leadership! And a thank you to Kathy for agreeing to continue her excellent work as secretary for the board (not to mention the RAIN committee)!

The evening concluded with the always anticipated presentation of club awards, represented by a handsome engraved lucite desk plaque for each winner.

This year Matt Summers chaired the Awards Committee. Thanks to all who made nominations. Seven awards were presented.

  1. Most Improved: Katherine Lin (presented by Andrew Houlne)
  2. Outreach/Advocacy: Jim Schroeder (presented by Sylvia Schroeder)
  3. Good Samaritan: Chris Hahn (presented by Matt Summers)
  4. Volunteer/SAG: Jeanne Powers (presented by Jim Powers)
  5. Club Service: Andrew Houlne (presented by Matt Summers)
  6. Mileage Maximus: Ron Selby (presented by John Bassett)

Finally and most poignantly

7. Lifetime Biker: Robert Serbent (presented by Yusuf Nur)
Remembrances were shared of this much-loved promoter of mountain biking in Brown County, affectionately known as “Gnawbone Lefty,” who left us too soon.

With that the meeting adjourned to informal conversation and goodbyes.

Click to view photo album.

March Board Meeting

Overview of BBC Board Meeting of March 21, 2019

President Andrew Houlne ran a tight meeting. All elected members were present as well as almost all committee chairs. Discussions centered around the reports of committee chairs. What follows is a brief unofficial summary. The highlight of the meeting was the approval of grants to a number of local groups to promote bicycling and education and advocacy.

Minutes: Secretary Kathy Cummins’s minutes from the December board meeting and February annual meeting were approved and will be posted in the members-only portion of the club web site.

Treasurer: Jim Powers gave the treasurer’s report. There was discussion of RAIN income, plans for filing income taxes and sales tax.

Mountain Biking: Warren Smith reported on mountain biking activities, which have ended for the season as routes are soft and messy and the road season has begun.

Membership: Tammy Thompson gave the membership report and dealt with waivers for club officers.

Ride Committee: Coordinator John Bassett discussed plans for the current riding season. One change is to try harder to alternate easy and more difficult rides especially in the latter half of the season. Tammy Madsen-Thomposon is hoping to start up Beginner rides again, perhaps including some gravel and/or mountain biking at Wapehani. Evening rides are off to a good start, although participation is naturally smaller on cold or wet days. OWLS and iRide both had at least one ride with 14-15 and one with 2-3. The initial Nice and Easy had 6 riders out for the traditional Waterworks ride.

Safety and Education: New chair Craig Medlyn reported on his work with City and county identifying and ameliorating poor road conditions along standard club routes. He is pushing ways to educate club riders about basic safety, emphasizing safety discussion at ride meet-ups. He has a safe practices slide presentation from IU, especially focused on commuting, that we might be able to post on our web site. He is also working on some short radio spots that might involve short statements from selected club members. At board urging he will work on a short bullet point list of key safety points.

Advocacy: Ron Brown reported that he attended a county planning meeting in February looking at improvements to the Woodyard/Smith/Curry pike intersection in NW Bloomington. He was able to provide good feedback that removed a particularly bad choice for bicyclists that required a left turn in traffic. The preferred alternative now is a kind of “doggone roundabout”.

He also attended a March meeting where he advocated for a better crossing of Highway 45 at Bunger/Daphne Roads, which we usually take as part of  rides that go by the airport. His proposal of a side path on Highway 45 between Ison and Bunger was favorably received.

In both cases Ron was able to provide important feedback from the point of view of cyclist safety and his recommendations have helped to eliminate some undesirable options from consideration.

Media. Allan Edmonds discussed issues related to our Facebook group and a goal to post more information there and on the web page blog about board activities.

Marketing: Yusuf Nur mentioned that volunteers will be needed for helping out with a children’s event to be held in Bloomington on June 15. As the time gets closer and details get firmed up he will be calling for club volunteers. The hope is that it will be easier to recruit volunteers with the event being in Bloomington rather than Bedford, where it’s been in recent years.

Grants. Chair Jennifer Miers reported the recommendations of the grant committee to fund. The board approved the committee’s funding recommendations for 9 of 17 applications for a total of just over $20,000. More information will be forthcoming once grant applicants have been informed.

BBC Grant Recipients 2019

Summary of 2019 BBC Community Grants

Using revenue from its RAIN Ride event, Bloomington Bicycle Club supports a program of grants to a variety of community groups, including nonprofit organizations and programs, schools, and other civic-minded organizations, with the aim to

  • Promote and encourage bicycling for recreation, competition, travel, and transportation
  • Train and educate the community about bicycles and bicycling
  • Promote better public understanding and respect for the rights of bicyclists and the observance of traffic regulations by bicyclists and drivers
  • Promote bicycle safety

This year 9 organizations received grants, totaling almost $20,000:

  • Bloomington Community Bike Project:Bike Project Spring Build-Up”—Materials for repair of roof at leased facility and upgrade of tool library, $ 2,500.00 
  • Bloomington High School Solar Bike Team:World Green Challenge”—Upgrade of motor and components on boys’ solar bicycle and transportation of boys’ and girls’ bikes to event in Japan, $ 3,000.00 
  • Boys & Girls Club of Morgan County:Club Riders Morgan County”—Bikes, helmets, snacks for preteen and teen riding program, $ 1,960.00 
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington-Ferguson Crestmont Unit: Crestmont Club Riders”—Toolkits, safety gear, pumps, hooks, $1,250.00 
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington-Lincoln Street Unit:Lincoln Street Club Riders”—Safety gear, first aid kits, equipment, $ 1,000.00 
  • deCycles:deCycles 2019 Bicycle Trip”—Subsidize cost of summer trip, $ 3,000.00 
  • Hoosier Mountain Bike Association:Weed Patch Phase 1”—First section of Intermediate level connector trail between Limekiln and Hesitation Point,$5,000.00 
  • Opportunity House:Bicycle for Bargains and Community Support”—Bike rack and installation, $ 300.00
  • Unionville Elementary School:Enjoy the Ride”—Purchase of 8 MOBO Trikes to enhance existing recess program, $ 1,992.00 

Early History of the BBC Grant Program

The late 1990s were financially tenuous times for the club. But the years 2000 and 2001 saw greater stability and increased interest in the club. The club saw fit to make some small donations to deCycles, the Bloomington South Solar Racing Team as well as to the county highway department for “Share the Road” signs.

In Fall 2002 the BBC board approved donations to two local groups, DeCycles and the BHSS Solar Bike Team, and was actively exploring other organizations to which we might donate. We also donated to America Bikes (a nonprofit coalition of national bicycling organizations).

By 2003 the RAIN Ride, under Joe Anderson’s direction, was achieving not just financial stability, but actually turning a significant profit, with the introduction of jersey sales, which Joe and Barbara Anderson initiated. The club began to explore ways of using these funds in more systematic ways.

In the fall of November 2003 the board approved donations totaling $6200 to DeCycles, the BHSS Solar Bike Team, Indiana Bicycle Coalition, America Bikes, Adventure Cycling, and the League of American Bicycles. At the same time we felt a need to be more intentional and systematic in the use of these funds.

An ad hoc grants committee chaired by V.P. Mike Navarro was formed to establish basic policies and procedures for a program of grants. It reported a proposal to the board in October 2004. The proposal was announced to the club at its annual meeting and banquet in March 2005.

The first year of the new procedures started with grant applications in the fall of 2005, with awards totaling about $10,000 taking place in spring 2006. DeCycles, the Solar Bike Team, and the Indiana Bicycle Coalition again received grants, as did Monroe County United Ministries, the Shalom Community Center, Girl Scouts, the Community Bike Project, Bloomington Parks and Rec, and Team Marshall (a female, African American Little 5 team, for their outreach efforts).

By Allan Edmonds (BBC President 2001-2008)

Annual Meeting and Banquet 2019

Saturday evening, February 9, 2019, saw our annual BBC winter banquet at the Convention Center.

After a bit a socializing the first part of the meeting was occupied with an overview of club activities by President Andrew Houlne, a treasurer’s report from Jim Powers, and a call for RAIN volunteers from Tammy and Glenn Berger. Here’s the link for volunteer signup, where you can make your choices among many opportunities:

After a break for going through the buffet line (good food, including vegetarian options), we proceeded to the election of officers: Warren Smith (VP), Jim Powers (Treasurer), and Stan Ellis (At-Large) were re-elected by unanimous voice vote.

We then had a report from Beth Rosenbarger, City of Bloomington Planning Services Manager, on bike routes and multi-use paths in the works as well on the City Transportation Plan, which is under consideration by the City Council.

Finally we had the presentation of club awards by the awards committee consisting of Matt Summers, Yusuf Nur, and Jim Schroeder.

Matt introduced the presenters of the “serious” awards:
• John Bassett presented the Most Improved Award to Lisa Huffman
• Kathy Duckett presented the Outreach/Advocacy Award to Linda Woods
• Tammy Berger presented the Good Samaritan Award to Andrew Houlne
• Matt Summers presented the Volunteer/SAG Award to Steve Stevens
• Allan Edmonds presented the Club Service Award to Gail Morell
• Jim Schroeder presented the Mileage Maximus Award to Joseph Teipen
• Gail Morell presented the Lifetime Biker Award to Allan Edmonds

Here’s what the etched award plaques look like:

Steve Stevens's Plaque
Steve Stevens’s Plaque

The evening ended on a lighter note with the presentation of Raspberry Awards by Jim Schroeder:
▪ The Deflated But Not Defeated Award to Jeremy Anderson who had 5 flats on Pre-RAIN and finished with a half-flat tire.
▪ The Waffle Award to Jeremy Schott for suggesting rides and then cancelling.
▪ The Prima Donna Award to Matt Summers for keeping his bike so clean.
▪ The Pig Pen Award to Yusuf Nur for the bike with the most caked on mud.
▪ The I’m Afraid of the Dark Award to Jim Schroeder for not going on a gravel night ride in over a year.