September 16, 2011 | Myrna Anderson

Go Green, Go Dutch, Go Bike will take its second-annual tour of ArtPrize.

Calvin professor of geology, geography and environmental studies Henk Aay is planning to head downtown for a preview tour of ArtPrize this weekend—and not just for the art. Aay is mapping out a route for this year’s edition of “Go Green, Go Dutch, Go Bike,” the cycling event he pioneered at Calvin in 2009.

 “This is not a race at all,” said Aay. “This is simply a fun morning where you can cycle to ArtPrize and enjoy some of the exhibits.”

Go Green, Go Dutch, Go Bike launches this year at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, from the entrance to Calvin’s Van Noord Arena. Riders will cycle the three-and-a-half miles downtown and back, with stops for lunch, discussion and art appreciation. (Saturday, Oct. 1 is the alternate date in case of heavy rain.)

Though the inaugural Go Bike event in 2009 was rained out, last year’s ride drew some 30 cyclists. “It was fun—a chance to get to know some people you might normally not get to know,” said engineering professor Bob Hoeksema. “I don’t remember being stressed at all by the biking.”

Cycling like the Dutch

Last year, the event was kicked off with a speech from Grand Rapids mayor George Heartwell. This year’s dignitary is Paul Heule, a Calvin grad and president of Eenhorn, a local property management company, who serves as the Honorary Consul General of the Netherlands. “He’ll welcome us in his official capacity,” Aay said.

Go Green, Go Dutch, Go Bike is a national event, Aay said, which aims to reflect the importance of the bicycle in Dutch culture. “It’s one thing to be a bicycle enthusiast and to go racing and do it for fitness,” he said, “but the unique thing about Dutch culture is they use the bike for all these short trips. When you go visit a friend, you go on the bike. When you’re all dressed up in a dress and heels, you go on the bike. For short distances of under five kilometers, they go on the bike.”

Aay hopes that Go Green, Go Dutch, Go Bike will promote cycling culture in the U.S. He’s designed the Calvin edition of the event as a fundraiser for The Motion Initiative, a Grand Rapids nonprofit that provides bicycles for youth in underserved areas. Five dollars out of every $15 he collects from riders and supporters for Go Bike t-shirts will be donated to the organization.

Besides spreading the good news about cycling, Go Bike is just a fun event, Aay said: “Once we get downtown, we’re really going to stop and look and enjoy.”

For more information on Go Green, Go Dutch, Go Bike, e-mail Henk Aay at

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