Jens back out on the Trail! 12/22/09

Finally Jen was inspired to get back up on the bike and ride on out to the ridge to enjoy the new route we discovered earlier on in the year.  For those of you who are friends or have been following along, Jen has been preoccupied with the manufacturing of 2 magnificent children, (Sephera and Raphael) for the past 2 years and has been hit or miss on our bike rides.  But today we celebrated our reunion of sorts. 

With the new snow on the ground and the streets well covered we put away the Felt and pulled down from the rafters the old Trek 4500 mountain bike that literally started our relationship all those years ago.  With layers upon layers we moved somewhat stiff legged-ly onto our bikes and out on to the side walk.  Crossing Southfield road at Lincoln we snaked our way through Lathrup Village once again and made our way out to the Ridge.

The naked Forest and snow covered hills made us both smile as we realized how special our life was and delighted in what we both have work so hard to create.  As the chill started to set in we turned around and made our way back home laughing and enjoying the rhythm of the peddles and the knobby Hum singing its tune.

Bike Metro Detroit Trails!

J & J Meyers bike explorers

The first true test of Winter 12/04/2009

Bike riding for me has been an arena of application, a metaphor of sorts, as a test of mind over matter, especially when it comes to riding in December.  Today’s Journey was to be no different.  With the temperatures just hovering at 30 degrees I broke out some of the REI gear I have collected over the years and decided to Mountain bike down to the city once again.

The past few months I have been preoccupied with the concept of speed rather than enjoyment of the road, or in today’s case, the trail less traveled.   With full winter snowmobile gloves on my hands I first took to the trail south off of Lincoln and just east were Pierce Street would have been if 696 had not been constructed.  In, over, up and down I made my way through this little trail section prior to jumping back on the side walk trail which leeds through the Parks above those large tunnel expanses associated with the I-696 freeway.

Crossing over Greenfield then again Coolidge I forgot how much fun this up and down little burner can be!  Crossing over 696 via Scotia I snake through the neighborhoods down onto Livernois 1 block north of 8 mile.  Crossing over and a quick left I was back in Sherwood Forest smiling and having fun! Turning left on seven mile I made may way past the road park entry of Palmer Woods and headed onto the asphalt trail that flows into the forest. 

Inside of Palmer Woods Forest, original Oak stands can be found along with some unadulterated watershed topography.  Something special that can never be seen while in your car on Woodward Ave. or golf cart if you are playing on the public course nearby.  I slowed down to notice numerous trails that have been forgotten and blocked off by the falling ash trees.  This winter we will be spending some time opening up the mountain bike/hiking trails once again for all to enjoy.

Out of the park and onto Third Ave I started to head southeast once again down into the heart of the city.  This time I started to explore the railroad tracks and alleys that did not look like flat tire city, so as to see if I could really create an all off road trial adventure ride in and out of the city, (more of this will be published in our upcoming map sections real soon).  I plan on hitting the trails again with the Ranger and the GPS Mapping unit mounted up so that we can shoot video and record the map simultaneously.

Once at my turn around destination I had to shed all my layers and let them dry out before I could even think about the journey home.  Boots off as well, I rubbed my left toes back into warm shape enjoying some cider and ice waters while I slowly started to warm up.  The journey home included fingers and hands coiled up into a fist inside my gloves upon the handlebars as it took a while to get the body up to being warm.

The pushes up stops were not dreaded as they usually are.  This time they were used as warming stations on the various point’s in-between.      Once home it took my core a good hour to come back up to a normal temperature as I reflected on what additional layers to wear next time.  No matter the time of day, weather it by night or day, nor if the skies are sunny, warm cloudy or Gray, a ride is just one good decision away!

Bike Detroit

J. Meyers bike explorer

Chasing the Sun 12/01/2009

Chasing the Sun was on my mind as I left the office early to enjoy what would probably be the last warm day of the year.  With a smile and a kiss goodbye I was off once again down to the city that I have come to love.  Today’s ride was going to be without my usual pushups as I was more interested in a time trial of sorts.  Pushing into the face of the wind I did my best to keep it under 55 minutes as I made it to the Brewery for some Cider and good conversation with Dan.

The past few weeks we have been getting favorable responses from various city officials on our ROI Urban Farm concept.  We spoke at length about what we would grow and what Dan wanted to experiment with their upcoming Spiritus compositions.  What heartfelt excitement and joy towards a subject that we both have been involved with for very a long time.  With forth coming emails to continue our exchange I said good bye to John and Dan and started the journey back home again.

With the Southern wind at my back I sailed home in just under 49 minutes.  This is my best time yet.

Bike Detroit!

J. Meyers bike explorer

A Different Type of Ride: 11/25/09

There have been a few ‘Bike’ rides during the month of November, most of which were typical rides downtown along similar routes as I have mentioned earlier.  The past two weeks I have been on a different ride, another kind of ride altogether.  In conjunction with the Dr. David Cotton Family, Health Plan of Michigan, Greening of Detroit, and the Artist of Historical Courtyards and Gardens, I was afforded an opportunity to be an instrument of profound good will and intent.  For a past few weeks I donated my time and took a mini-excavator ride up and down Jefferson Ave., from Alter to I-375 and back again.  A slow moving journey, an instrument of application and a chance for a great field study.  The Jefferson Ave Re-Forestation Tree Project is still under way, contact greening of Detroit if you have time to help.There are rhythms or currents associated with various intersections and points along this trail can only be perceived on the pedestrian level.  Even if you ride your bike slow down to and reach out with your feelings some day and see what you perceive.  Past the Dequindre cut, next to the woodshop on the way to the Belle Isle Bridge, you will find another cut.  An old rail line that use to feed the warehouse district from the river as the Dequindre cut once did back 1890’s.  During a break in digging cycles I took a hike on down to the softwood tree infested trail.  This would make an excellent mountain biking and hiking trail; I will be back to hike and perhaps clear one day during our upcoming winter trail work.Owen Park is a Gem that is invisible unless you are participating-moving-experiencing on a pedestrian level.  If not you will never have a chance to see the Owen Park from a car on Jefferson Ave.  Owen Park was donated to a City by on early history family and was a historic Ribbon Farm back in its day.  Sloped Virgin watershed topography is still reminiscent of its original rhythm and form.  Hi slanting slopes and embankments to the side funnel the cold air to the center for venting down to the lake side.  There is no more perfect place in our area to grow an Orchard or Urban Farm. This was the staging area for the tree planting project.  You have to look hard as no formal Kerb Cut exist. An old country like road leads down to a sidewalk and break wall where many a fishermen spend time practicing their art.Erma Henderson Park, almost next door is a beauty as well.  Old trees, Historic Architecture in the form of a restroom, wide expanse for games and events, ample parking, low cut waterside rail, entry and view.  Along the South East Sidewalk, Conner to Terminal there has been for the past several years a piece of sidewalk that was left on top of the usable space of sidewalk, across the way from a iron street lamp. 

Three years ago, December my good man Peter Frowley was on one of our impromptu Thursday night rides, hit this piece of concrete and ‘Endo-ed’ hard and had to pick glass out of his bottom for a week.  We found this section once again, scraped hard all of the weeds, cement sidewalk and dirt in-between, loaded it all up, including this chunk of concrete, and took it off to the recycling center.  I called Pete from the excavator at 7:30 in the morning, laughing hard.  He thanked me, for everyone else.  The next week the rain had washed away what was left and the surface almost looked shinny and new.

bike-detroit.jpg

Get out of your car, slowdown, excavate re-new.  Bike DetroitJ. Meyers  bike explorer

Bay Harbor to Harbor Springs 11/06/09

A Northern trip was in order to shut down the camp site for the winter and take in the sights of the ‘Naked Forest’.  I loaded up the mountain bike and headed north with hopes of checking out the finish of the Ice Man race that Andy and Jim from Beat The Train had entered.  The warm Southern wind greeted me as I stepped out of the suv and into the meadow of wild oats.  Ahhhhh up north once again!  There is something magical about the forest.  I call it an instant snap to the moment.  The energy the silence the clarity!  The Wild Wood Pathway is just 150 yards from our land and as tempting as it was I made a fire and started on with the chores of camp deconstruction.  I finished up around 4:00 and headed into Petoskey and onto the trail head parking lot in Bay Harbor.

During the past few years the folks at Emmett County have spent a small fortune finishing off the improvements and repairs to the old railroad grade trail that runs along Little Traverse Bay.  This evening was my first chance to shred this new pathway over to Harbor Springs and Back.  The trail is breathtaking as it overlooks the bay on one side with a steep embankment on the other.  There are a few parking areas with benches and tables that afford the participants a chance to rest, relax or just take it all in.

Slicing by the water treatment plant the trail jogs a bit and then returns to some fun twisty swizzelineee curves and roundabouts as you make your way over the Bear River on through to the waterside park.  Traveling on the trail becomes a sidewalk that leads along US 31 for most, not for me.  I sniffed out the old railroad grade as it ducks behind Bay view and continues along the edge of the water were I stopped and gave the northern sky 20 proper.  It is grass and more of a trial lawn expanse than a sidewalk, wide and fun.  Making my way behind the Bay View Inn the trail arch’s towards the Petoskey State Park.  On the left there is a little opening/entry and one hell of a sand trap waiting for you as you enter into the back side of the Park.  Curving through the park I made my way back out to the bike path that runs parallel to M-119.

Turning left on beach road I made my way through a winding dark forest area onto Pennsylvania Ave.  Another quick left and I was at the water’s edge looking at the historical homes of Wequetonsing I ripped my way into Harbor Springs feeling a bit cold from the wind.  I stopped at the Bar Harbor.  The owner tells me that a bar had been at this corner as long as the town had been alive.  Presently he has been the owner for some 29 years.  Taking off my layers so that they could dry out I ordered a beer to go with my ice water.  A Harp draft and some rubbing of my face to warm the chilled surface, a fellow asked “Bike Detroit?” “What are you doing way up here?”  I told him that I was enjoying the view and exploring on a Friday night, which seems to have become my pattern now that our organized Thursday night rides were over.  Three beers down to go along with the two Ice waters and I was ready for the return trip back around the Bay.

The return journey was wonderful!  Quite Dark and with the wind it felt like I was soaring even though my two wheels were stuck to the ground.  Made it back to my point of origin loaded up and was on my way. 

Bike Michigan!

J. Meyers bike explorer

Beat the Train Farewell 10/31/09

Two up Mountain Bike Coed Rocket Ship!!!  I will get back to that in a moment.  The Transit Connect Van was perfect for bike bringing just as I had thought!  A perfect family vehicle I must say, especially for those fellow bikers who have lots of gear.

With the wind a howling, (perfect for the howl-in- weenie) 40 plus riders showed up For Andy’s last scheduled ride of the season.  Costumes a few and lots of pictures of the group taken, we started off to the ‘Burial Mound’ located near the river on the Fort Grounds.  Common History suggests that it is an ‘Indian’ Burial Mound; the fact is that this could not be further from the truth.  ‘Burial Mounds’ as they are common referred, are in turn markers of line vortexes, hubs or energy portals.  Sometime they are used to signify a hub of intersecting lines similar to that of the spokes of a bicycle wheel.  There is a lot of History of our region that people simply do not know about, including Ley Line Vortices, or perhaps why the Fort was chosen to be built where it is etc…  A strange factoid that not many people are aware is that Detroit is the only other major US city whose master plan/street plan was designed by Master Masons for the purpose of harnessing and amplifying the regions energy currents and flows. As you probably are aware or have guessed, Washington D.C. is the other city to which I infer.  The St. Claire Family (for which our little great lake was named) was the primary family whose fortune funded the beginnings of the Knights Templar’s!  OK back to the ride…

Exiting out onto Jefferson the group moved with the wind like effortless kites in the breeze Spring March sky.  Through the Darkness the Group slid along well rehearsed paths, finding our way East, back to the city center.  A few fellows broke out away from the group as the temptation of the 25-30 mph tail winds were just too hard to ignore.

The group reassembled in front of the Cobo Roof parking ramp, Andy Staub let out the call and the chase-climb began!  Up around the Helix, people were all flowing up at various rates of speeds and commitments, back down around the slippery when wet slope, Andy called for a second climb to begin, many chose to join in on take two.  As we all paused to catch our breath after the second ascent Andy S. took a moment to thank the group and to share his love for all, a true heartfelt moment, al-be-it 7:00 a.m. in the windy morning and pitch dark.

From there on it was down to the river front for a relaxed peddle over to the Carousel for a bathroom break and a set a pushups while big Mike did some Yoga stretching.  After all were once again assembled we headed off for Belle Isle.  The Posturing began on Jefferson Ave.  Positions were being staged at the entrance onto The Belle Isle access road.  This is where the Coed team on the Tandem Mountain Bike made their first move slicing up to the front group.  At mid way over the bridge people started to build up speed and took what they had back into the wind at the first turn.  A Roadie and the Dynamic Coed Tandem Duo Rocket Ship went first with Andy Erickson making his move as well, the game was afoot!

As I came around the corner the wind hit me like a ton of bricks all most stopping me cold in my tracks, (what I would have given to be 5’8” 160!) As I finally came back around full circle and once again aided by the immense tail wind it took ½ of the overall riverside portion of the Belle Isle boundary road to Catch Andy E.  It happened when he let off his peddles, only for a second, raising his feet up his to go through the puddle that nearly covered the entire road.  Try as I might I simply could not reel in the head riders, (this is the time I usually start thinking about 29” rims verses 26”???).  No matter what the group, what the day or what the event, the dynamic tandem coed duo and the Roadie who went with, could not be caught. 

As we came aback round and into the wind Andy E. said hello as he went back on bye on to join the Roadie who saw him coming, from there on it was a wind fight all the way back to the bridge.  As we came down and stopped at Tim Horton’s big Mike rolled up and said, “let’s get going, I all ready told Andy we would be breaking from the group’.  With that, coupled with the wind fight that was yet in store, we headed off.

The way back to the Fort was as I had thought Laborious.  Grin Bear it, pump it to you stump it.  Back in the Lot, bike up and in we were on our way back home again.  Hats off to Andy S. and the people who we have been privileged to met thus far.  True bike riders, without preconceived notion or fear, true Detroiters!  Bike Detroit.

J. Meyers

Fall out at the Ridge 10/20/2009

With the inclusion of the ‘Ridge’ in our Birmingham trail loop, we who were in attendance all agree, you can drive out to Stony or head over to Island Lake or even make your way up to Pontiac Lake but why drive a car when you can get perhaps even a better work out rip-in-it local-urban-style?

In honor of Matt, (who thinks counter clockwise) we decided to do this ride in ‘Reverse’.  The uphill climb into Birmingham is a great way to warm up, five miles and then its trail time! Turning left just before Maple we slid across Southfield Road and down the grassy embankment, over the bridge and through the woods, following the Rouge River Watershed.

This way that way, up down colors in full tune, paintings of fall filled every room.  As we made our way through and down the drive way of a wonderful homeowner we entered into the west side of the Beverly Hills Water treatment plant area.  Say what you want rippers, butt until you have rode this trail you will never know how tight, twisty challenging it is.  Class 4, with a hairpin, if not careful you can end up in the river real quick. 

As we made our way up into the meadow at the bottom ‘Y’ turn a BMX’er put a ramp if you head straight I saw it shouted out but big Mike hit it and went down hard,  A little bit of Blood and a 2 minute on the ground recovery we were up again catching our breath.  In usual fashion he stated that we might as well do a set of push-ups, we all obliged his request.. 

From there out onto Evergreen we ripped down to 13 then jumped East and hit the sidewalk South to 12 mile.  We stopped midway between to see a beautiful sight.  A red tailed Hawk had just killed a squirrel no more than 20’ in front of us just off to the side of the sidewalk.  Taking in the site, pedestrians coming north did not see him in time and spooked him.  He took off to the West, flying low he almost got hit by a car 3’ sooner and he would have been a goner.

Along the South side of 12 mile the 8’ wide pedestrian path is great, it allows for side by side jostling and bullshit. Up and down and then down again we entered into the Old Berberian Estate, across the DNR bridge and into the woods we started the long sweeping climb up the ridge road.  Shouting at us was a big ol owl whos who could be heard all the way up to the top.  At the top we all dismounted and caught our breath.  My legs were swollen and throbbing at a level I have not felt in well over a year.

From there it was back snaking through the neighborhoods of Southfield and then into Lathrup Village and for some onto Pierce back to their homes.  Again Bike hard, Fast and Fun without having to get in your Car to drive there first… Bike Detroit!!!

J. Meyers bike explorer

p.s. Beat the Train Final Ride Tomorrow Morning.