History of PALM
As told by Doris West, Mail Granny Emeritus
Thomas Pendelton, City of Ann Arbor Bicycle Coordinator, Peter Lagerwey, and Sally Janacek were driving home from a professional bicycling conference in Iowa, and were discussing the fact that there should be a ride similar to RAGBRAI across the state of Michigan. This kind of ride would be good for cycling and good for Michigan. They brainstormed a ride name: PALM (Pedal Across Lower Michigan) and decided to plan a ride. As Doris says “Tom has a big personality and is a good idea man that people are willing to follow.”
The idea of the ride was to be open to all cyclists especially novice riders and families. The first annual ride was June 20 through June 25th, 1982 and was sponsored by the Great Lakes Bicycle Council with the assistance of Metropolitan Detroit Council of American Youth Hostels; Southwestern Michigan Regional Planning Commission, South-Central Michigan Planning Council and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.
In the “Background” paragraph from the first registration form it stated: Michigan is considered by many to be the prime vacation/recreation state in the Midwest. Bicycling is an unsurpassed way to experience the pleasures of such a state. We hope that by involving up to 500 people in bicycle touring, they may think about using bicycles more in their everyday lives. At the same time, thousands of Michigan citizens will encounter PALM participants during the tour. We hope that this will increase their consciousness about safe bicycling too. As you can see from our current application, we haven’t strayed far from the original goals. Standing committees for PALM have been: Registration, Routing, Site Coordination, SAG Service, Transportation, Repairs, Mile Post Booklet, Publicity and Education.
A group of dedicated volunteers lead the steering committee for PALM and meet monthly beginning in September to review the previous year’s ride and begin the planning for the next year. Since the beginning, the staff of PALM has always been a volunteer group. The cooperation among the diverse members has been extraordinary. PALM continues to attract riders of all ages and abilities not only from Michigan but many other states and countries.