Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Very big bike 4/4/11
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Very big bike 4/4/11

Rick Coates - April 4th, 2011
Ridin’ High with the Very Big Bike
By Rick Coates
Joseph VanLoozen of Levering has always been fascinated with bicycles.
While growing up in Redford Township outside of Detroit he was always
riding and fiddling around mechanically with bikes. While in high school
shop class in 1978, he began experimenting and developed what would become
the prototype for the Very Big Bike. 
A few years ago he formed the company VanLoozen Brothers Bicycles with his
two brothers and a couple of nephews and has teamed with high school
friend Scott Southers of BSM Technologies to develop the Very Big Bike.
VanLoozen made his way north right out of high school not thinking about
starting a bike manufacturing company, just looking to escape the big
city. 
“I knew I wanted to be up north so right out of high school I bought 10
acres in Lake City in 1982 and made my way to Emmet County in 1991,” said
VanLoozen. 

30 YEARS IN THE MAKING
The concept for the Very Big Bike started in high school but became a
reality because of the economy.
“What I did was build a Schwinn upside-down tall bike in 1978 in shop
class and felt there was something there; it just took me 30 years to
figure it all out,” said VanLoozen.  “When I would ride it in parades
people would ask me where they could get one, but I just was so busy
working I didn’t have time to launch a bike building business.”
Instead VanLoozen built a successful landscaping business around Emmet
County and supplemented his income during the winter months doing
carpentry and heating and plumbing work.
“Well, the off season work started drying up four years ago with the
economy struggling,” said VanLoozen. “I decided to pursue turning this
bike concept into a marketable product. So these last three winters I have
spent working on bringing this product to market from the engineering and
product safety to the legal end, and even getting a patent on it. And now
this year we are ready to distribute them.”
Besides looking interesting, what are the benefits of the Very Big Bike?
“These bikes ride just like other bikes except you are riding higher up,
basically at the same level as an SUV, so you have great vision and it
makes you more visible to cars. In our test riding around the country we
got a lot of thumbs up from truckers,” said VanLoozen. “These bikes handle
well on pavement, gravel roads and even trails. These bikes are going to
be better suited as a cruiser or town bike as there is no real sense in
having that gravity factor in the woods.  We like to call them a social
bike, this bike is all about having fun.”

FOURTH GENERATION
VanLoozen and his partners are still in the early stages of the project
and the current model is a fourth generation. They feel they finally
perfected the bike last fall.
“We produced five of them and have been traveling all over to bike shows
and events and have been getting rave reviews,” said VanLoozen. “We
already have several orders and we have just started the marketing
process.”
Production will take place both in the Detroit area and in Levering.
“At Scott’s production plant we will manufacture the bikes and then we
will assemble and ship them from Northern Michigan,” said VanLoozen. “We
are able to produce 40 bikes a week and could double that without
expanding our facilities. What I am proud of is that this project is
employing both people up north and in in my hometown of Detroit.”
VanLoozen and his partners are already planning for the future and are
working on new prototypes.
“We plan to develop more models in the future; this is a seven speed and
currently we are working on a fixed gear bike. This current model is for
people 5’6” or taller and the seat has a quick release so you can raise or
lower it. We are going to make a smaller ‘big’ bike soon and we also have
people requesting even taller bikes.”
Currently, VanLoozen is lining up retailers locally and around the country.
“There is a lot of interest for retail. We hope to have these available
for rent around Northern Michigan and hopefully that will happen this
summer. When we have two or three of these bikes out at a time we get
people asking where they can rent or buy them so I think there is a rental
market out there.”

The Very Big Bike 40-P1 (For The People) model is currently available in
four colors (red, yellow, blue and black) and retails for $1,400 fully
assembled. VanLoozen is also offering just the frame and fork set for
$750. For additional information or to see videos of people riding the
bike or to purchase one go to www.vbbike.com or call them at
231-838-8030 . 

 
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