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Bikestock Dos aimed at more than just cyclists

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Bikestock Dos will take place July 17 at Rosa Parks Circle.

Bikestock Dos will take place July 17 at Rosa Parks Circle.

Bikestock Dos, kicking off at noon July 17 at Rosa Parks Circle, is about much more than just bicycles. Organizer, activist, student and U.S. army veteran Michael Tuffelmire wants to be clear about that. A quick look at the represented businesses and organizations reaffirms Tuffelmire's intent. After talking with Tuffelmire, it is clear his passion extends far beyond bikes, as he has worked hard to create small, affordable sponsorships that allow “the smallest of the small” organizations to participate. Food, beer and fun will abound at this year's event, courtesy of many of Grand Rapids' local businesses.

By bringing in a variety of sponsors that touch on an even wider variety of interests, Tuffelmire hopes to make the festival accessible and fun for everyone, ”cyclist” or not. In Tuffelmire's eyes, Bikestock is for everyone, whether he or she owns a bicycle or not. Modeled off of the original 1969 Woodstock, which featured entertainment and vendor displays mixed with a political message, Tuffelmire has worked tirelessly to bring in small, independent local businesses, offering the businesses affordable sponsorships. The majority of sponsors are non-cycling related familiar local favorites:

•    All City Kicks
•    Art Peers
•    Citizen Shirt
•    Casa La Parrot
•    Clothing Matters
•    East Side Tattoos
•    Founders Brewing Company
•    Marie Catrib's
•    Kent County Democratic Party
•    Meanwhile Bar
•    Premier Skating
and more.

If the vendors aren't enough to bring out the crowds, Tuffelmire has also lined up a wide variety of popular local music artists, ranging from hip-hop dance duo Flying Without Wingz to Simien the Whale and beloved local Grand Rapids ska legends Mustard Plug.

In between the entertainment, the festival will feature short addresses by well known Michigan political figures and leaders. Speakers will include Kent County Commissioner Jim Talen, Senatorial Candidate and local businessman David LaGrand, and Jay Steffen, Director of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation, among others. Each speaker will present a unique and personal view on their passion for recreational cycling and cycling as transportation in Grand Rapids and what they hope to see for the future.

Bikestock Dos' expanded 2010 roster of vendors, musicians, and speakers is aimed at entertaining all attendees, whether hardcore cyclists, casual riders or just a family looking for an afternoon of free entertainment.

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I hope I'm out of the hospital in time to attend. I'm really looking forward to it!