Paddle to Pedal offers chance to kayak, bike Flat River and countryside

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 12:11 am on Saturday, June 16, 2012

Last year’s Paddle to Pedal event attracted about 15 individuals who kayaked and biked their way throughout scenery along the Flat River in Belding and Smyrna. — Courtesy Photo

BELDING — With its many bike trails and steady flowing Flat River, one doesn’t have to look far when searching for an opportunity to kayak, canoe or bike throughout the greater Montcalm and Ionia areas.

The upcoming Paddle to Pedal event, hosted by Double RR Ranch in Belding, will provide an opportunity for family and friends to take in a little of all of these activities while enjoying the natural beauty found along the Flat River and scenic countryside.

The one-day adventure tour is in its second year and proceeds from the event will go to benefit the Fred Meijer River Valley Trail.

Friends of the Fred Meijer River Valley Rail-Trails board member John Ploeg said he hopes to see a larger turnout at this year’s event.

“Everybody had a good time last year and it looks like we’re starting to get some out of towners,” Ploeg said. “We just want everyone to have a  good time. Everything starts and finishes at the ranch.”
Ploeg said the tour begins at 8 a.m., June 23 at Double RR Ranch.

“Employees at Double RR Ranch will transport everyone to State Street Park in Belding where kayaks and canoes will be provided,” he said. “After about two hours down the river, everyone will end up at the ranch and begin the biking portion of the tour.”

According to Ploeg, there are three separate loops people can choose from, from distances of six miles up to 25 miles, with courses for both mountain and road bicycles that travel throughout the greater Smyrna area.

“Everyone has to provide their own bike, but we’ll provide the kayaks and canoes for the river portion of the tour,” he said. “Afterword, we will also provide a lunch consisting of hamburgers and bratwurst for everyone.”

Friends of the Fred Meijer River Valley Rail-Trails secretary Carolyn Kane said she’s so excited to offer an opportunity that benefits the rail-trails group while also offering a chance to enjoy the scenery along the river and future trails.

“It’s a very scenic area and we’re really happy that we’re getting to pair up the water trails with the recreational trails in an event like this,” she said. “Each bike route will travel over an historic covered bridge, such as the one in Fallasburg Park.”

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