It was an eventful weekend, to say the least. Much of the Keen team’s attentions were turned away from HVAC and energy and to the form and function of a simpler machine, the bicycle. By turning the pedals, Keen was able to help a group of cyclists ride from Detroit to the Cowell Family Cancer Center right near our office in the Commons.


No one expected an easy ride, but even with tough conditions, the Keen guys were up for a massive challenge. Team Less Cancer had already made it to Big Rapids on Sunday morning, eager to bring their message of supporting families through cancer’s painful, confusing maze by raising money and awareness by bike. The organization,, raised over $70,000 through the ride, which ended at the annual picnic to honor local survivors Gibson Shuff and Kathleen Hayes.


Keen was excited to play a role in fundraising, but also in the ride itself. A group of riders, including our own Eli Brown, headed down to Big Rapids by bike on Saturday afternoon. Intermittent showers and gray skies threatened overhead, but six strong riders were up to the task. Of course, a mere 90 miles wasn’t enough for Eli, who decided to ride from home near Elk Rapids before leading the way south.


The worst of the weather never materialized on Saturday, and at a steady average pace of 19.5 miles per hour, the 94 mile route went by in just under five hours of solid tempo. After a great dinner with friends, it was time to rest up for a 7am departure time with the Less Cancer gang.


The group was reinforced by two buses full of eager riders for Sunday’s trip back to Traverse City, with our co-founder Tim Pulliam joining the efforts of a dozen riders ready to head north. The weather was worse than anticipated. All morning long, the group was buffeted by strong winds and a driving rain, with temperatures unseasonably cool and in the low 50s for much of the day. The constant headwind kept the average pace low, and it was quickly apparent the group was in for a long day.


Some riders called it a day just around the halfway point of 70 miles, retiring into warm cars and dry cars. Most of these riders had joined Eli for the ride south the day before, but the fresher legs were determined to carry on. Eli, a Nordic skier, wasn’t troubled by the cold, and Tim was never going to let the weather stop him. The small but strong group plowed into the wind for seven and a half hours, averaging an impressive 17.7mph, and rolling into the picnic and an ironic sort of sunshine in the late afternoon.


The picnic made everything worth it, seeing people whose very lives are proof that cancer can be overcome and that a community can come together to make those affected happier and healthier.

You know we’ll be back for this ride next year, and we encourage you to follow Team Less Cancer for all of their events.


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" As part of our sustainability and resilience strategies, Oryana works to reduce our environmental impact by investing wisely in energy saving technologies, recycling, water quality, savings, and other opportunities.  Keen has been a great partner in this quest. "

- Steve Nance GM