Last week as I was browsing through interesting, fun facts about Kalamazoo I stumbled upon something called The Moped Army. Turns out, it was founded here in Kalamazoo years ago and has since blossomed into a nationwide community. Finding all the information about the Moped Army specifically, I wrote a quick, very basic article about them. You can read it below.

However, it seems that I've upset some local members of this community which is something I take very seriously. So, I'm here to remedy my mistakes.

First, I want to make this clear. My number one priority and job is a morning show co-host. We write articles about things happening locally or facts about the history of the area, and so on to stay in touch with the community. As much as I would love to claim the title of journalist or reporter, I just don't have the training to back that up. I'm doing the best I can with the resources and time available to me.

With that being said, I was contacted by two separate individuals who both took up some concern with how brief my article was. I replied to each of them asking for more details but, so far, have not heard back. Because of that I'm going to keep their identities anonymous by calling them Jane and John.

Jane was the first to contact me saying that my article was unfair to the local community of moped riders. Perhaps, in my original article, classifying different groups of the Moped Army as the same as motorcycle gangs wasn't the best way to describe them. It certainly wasn't meant as a bad thing. I've always wanted to own a moped and thought it was incredible that there's a whole community dedicated to them. Jane went on to say that,

Local groups like Kalamazoo Moped Riders, Decons, And Moped Army have a huge local presence in the community. There are rallies, events, social media groups, and rides that take place on the regular. There have been articles and even a graphic novel written on the topic. It sounds like you didn't get much past a google search, though even that will bring up these things.

I did, in fact, google things specific to the Moped Army and came across none of this, so it's good to know! Especially, the graphic novel part. With that lead I went on another search and, sure enough, this graphic novel was written in 2008 and can be purchased here.

Jane also went on to say,

Please don't take this personally. Just understand that many of us who participate in the community are tired of being mis or underrepresented. We bring a lot of money to the community. Kalamazoo Moped Riders has even pivoted to an online Build and Gather this year. The largest annual event this side of the state.

It took some digging but, I found that as well. You can read all the information about the Build and Gather here. Jane also leads a new local group of women who "wrench and ride" called W.A.R. Women are riding. Jane, I LOVE this. And would love to talk to you more about it.

Moving on to John. John's first problem with my article was that I had used the wrong picture.

You started with a picture of Chinese scooters for an article for vintage european mopeds.

Again, I was writing about the Moped Army specifically. Even on their website I read nothing about the mopeds being vintage which makes it even more interesting in my opinion. To reiterate, I'm a morning show co-host. Unfortunately, there are only a certain amount of photos we are legally allowed to use and I picked the closest one. Clearly, I'm uneducated in the difference between the different kinds of scooters. But, I'm here to learn! Hopefully, the one I chose today will be a better representation.

John has been riding for 33 years, or so he said in his Instagram message to me, so it's completely understandable that reading a very basic article that doesn't include all the details you know can be offensive. That's how I would feel if someone wrote something very basic about Star Wars. Yes, I'm a nerd.

John also pointed out that the event I had included in the original article, which Moped Army's website gave no specific details on, was being hosted virtually due the pandemic. Thank you for the update, John!

Again, I replied to both of these people requesting a time where we could chat virtually so I could gain more knowledge on the local moped community but have heard nothing back.

I say this wholeheartedly, if I ever write something that is incorrect or somehow misrepresents your community in any way I want you to call me out. I'm here to learn about Kalamazoo and slowly start to join the entire community. I will always welcome conversations that aim to educate me more on the area.

Have an idea about what I need to learn about next? Contact me on the KFR App.

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