That seems to be a common question from people who have never ridden in Detroit: “Do you have a gun?” There are some areas in Detroit that are really scary, I agree. And I never ride there either. There are too many sites to see in the city to let fear steer me away. Be smart, keep your eyes open, know where NOT to go, keep your prejudices at home and ride. If you still need that safety net, ride with a group. Nobody will ever mess with a group of riders. When it comes to drivers, Detroit is the most pleasant place to ride in the area in my opinion. It seems like the suburban soccer moms and the overworked dads are more revved up and rushed than the Detroiters.
Well after almost everytweekend this year being commited to trail clearing and recon, my wife and true inspiration suggested that I bike with the family and back into her heart. Soooo we headed North not South and toured the Pierce coridoor up to her sisters house and onto some friends in Birmingham, with our little daughter Sephera in the Chariot being towed byby yours truly aka mr thighs. Some fellow blikers commented on the shirt as one person asked if I carried a gun when I rode in the city? To that I could only reply, “just the one my wife says I carry in my pants”.. He did not say much after that…
4/19/09 7:00 a.m. Mission Recon: A solo journey to map out and discover what feels good and what areas the groups we bring should avoid.
Today I decided to search the narrow strip between Greenfield and Southfield road. Heading South through Lathrup Village I stayed on the West side of Southfield road. It amazes me that you do not have to be in Detroit to see and expereince 1920’s Architecture. The trail slid by numerous English Tudor homes built in the 1920’s. I stoped in front of Ty Cobbs Prohibition Party house that he had build back in the 20’s outside of the city limits, the adoring Sheriff left him and his parties alone. The house is situated behind what was once the location of the Golden Mushroom resturant, which had been sold and distroyed to make room for another drug store to help feed the sickness of a drivethru society.
Crossing over 10 mile I slid down into an area that has a historic Elementry School again built in the 1920’s and fashioned in the Tudor style, masonic markings and details can be seen in the facia. Heading south from there I stumbled upon numerous 1950’s Japanesse influnced Calfornia Ranch styls homes. As far as I know a collection of this Architectrual style exist nowhere else in the metro Detorit Region. Hitting Mt. Veron I turned west and headed over the Lodge Fwy. and continued on a bike trail only into another subdivison and headed over to Lee Baker Street, turning left I was ushered down along an arching street and was dumped out on 9 mile crossing over I followed the city posted bike route signs and as I moved closer to 8 mile I entered into a old area of Southfield again dotted with historic homes built inbetween the 1910’s-20’s. The area had parks with Forsythia in bloom and was quirky-cool. Exiting out on a sidewalk of a closed street I hopped the curb at the easement on 8-mile and decided to set my bike up agains a monstrous Steel structure supporting powerlines overhead and droped and gave the easement 25 push up’s proper form, (meaning 4 senconds down, 4 seconds up, complete body toching the grass on the down stroke). I am pretty sure the drivers on 8 mile had neve seen that.
Jumping across 8 mile I slid through a nieghborhood to what seem to be a road halfway between 7 & 8 mile, noticing that it had the ability to travel over the Southfield Freeway I decisde to turn left. Letting my feelings and eyes guide me, I meandered down and across 7 mile, down and across 6 mile and as I got closer to 5 mile the roads became quite interesting . I stmbled upon a street named Blitlmore. Since I have been to the Builtmore estae in Ashville North Carolina I decide I should exlore further. WOW 1910 Craftsmen style homes abound. I discovered a Stone house with a beautiful Pergolia covered front porch. What I saw next still amazes me as I sit here and write. What was anchoring the Northwest corner of the home was a Canadian Hemlock planted in the 1910’s. I guessed his age to be somewhere north of 110 years old. Towering up, it had droped its normal lower branching habit sheding the illusion and habit of a nice christmas tree, it had become an over-story evergreen tree, just like I have seen up north, native and wild! It is the biggest Canadian Hemlock that I have ever seen in and around Metro Detroit. Most people who have planted this tree have no idea as to what it becomes as it matures. Passing around the corner I looked up into the sky and saw a towering Sycamore branches 3 blocks away. When I turned the corner and went down the street I was amazed by this towering Giant. I guess him to be somewhere north of 150 years old. The base of the tree was 6.50′ across as the branching habit was 100′ x 100′ wide. I rode up on the side walk and touch the tree thanking him for making it. I told him to keep up the good work. Passing under the tree it felt like was sprinkeling magic all around as the whole block on both sides felt better for it.
Heading South I crossed over Grandriver and discovered the Grandmont Historical Nieghborhood. I have never read about it in any of the History books, but what I can say, is that in all my travels in and through Detroits Historic Nieghborhoods I never been through one that felt as nice!!! No paper no debris beatiful styles of Architecture, incredible trees, amazing. This one for sure will be on a upcommig tour. Snaking back and forth I eventually came out near the Greenfield and Schoolcraft intersection as I was looking for away to get over 96. Approching the brige my feelings gouided me across to the northbpound side of greenfield, jumping on the sidewalk I headed by the do not enter signs towards Fulerton Street. When I turned out the street was empty and something very strange happened next, it was like a window of time was opened up and what I saw was hundreds of 1920-1930 flat bed trucks loaded heavey with industrial materials. Perhaps on the way to the old Massey Ferguson Plant? Looking up at the sky I saw next was another Masonic temple floating way up high. Coming out on Plymouth road I was shocked and amazed to discover the the Chrysler Jeep and Truck Enginering division had thier entire design team practicing thier craft in a Masonic Temple. Built in 1927 a star chart hanges over the entry symbolically revealing the cyclic natures and the 7 planets having influence down here on earth. Sucurity gaurds were on me in less than 45 seconds telling me that I could not take picturs from the public sidewalk where my bycilcle lay? I shared my opinion about public side walks and easement but as a suv pulled up to block my way I decisde it was time to leave. I wonder what they were hiding or what they were afraid of? I headed a little farther South and then east over to Meyers road. I turned left and headed north slapping the peddles all the way home.
J. Meyers bike explorer
4/23/2009 Thursday Night Training Ride: A way to bust ones ass back in shape.
Departing from Lathrup Village I turned on Linclon and rode through Royal Oak on my way to Hilton Street. Turning 1 block prior to Hilton I headed South and hit the sidewalk over to cross a the light. After Crossing I enjoyed the designated bike path and went down to Woodward Heights Blvd. Turning left I went pass the elementry school and turned right on the next street. I hit the softball field paking lot for my second set of pushups, slow and deep. To my surprize a fair lady walking her dog said that “it looks real good and was I training for a race”? No was my reply as I said just getting in shape for the bike Detroit Thurdsay night rides, she wnated me to stop and as she was asking for more I said check out the website and good luck getting in shape. Heading to the light I turned left on 9 mile to the first street on the right, West End I think and headed down to just 3 blks shy of 8 mile. Turning left I headed on over to John R and turned right and preceeded to cross over 8 mile. Passing by the “ladies for sale”, I went across seven mile and just before six mile I said hello once again to the security gaurd at the Historic Rathskeller German Resturant, (If you havent been check it out for an authentic German village expereince, beer, food and great Music on the weekends.)
Crossing over 6 mile till John R dead ends I turned left and went through a somewhat tough Neghboorhood which sometimes will include some ‘Gang Bangers’, none the less practicing feeling good and saying hello I came through once again without any conflict. Turning right on Oakland Blvd. I headed down past the backside of the old Historic Model T factory to the next light and turned right picking up John R again abut 3/4 of a mile down I turned left.
This is were John R starts to get beautiful, John R becomes a vacant one way 4 lane road boy what a release. Stopping once again at a framilure push up spot, walking around to catch my breath, I listened to a couple of guys say, “I hope he does not do it right there”? I looked over and said boys proper form, and laid down 25 onto the grass. As I stood up they said, “man how many was that”, to that I replyed “25 and oh by the way you guys didn’t think I was going to take a leak right here did you”? They smiled and luaghed as I left to continue on with my ride. Down to Canfield I turned right and crossed over Woodward and two blocks later I was visiting with my friends at the Motor City Brewery. Dan and John are great people and local heros who have a place of community for which I recomend eneryone visit. After a couple of blueberry sizers and good conversation I started the journey home. Turning right on Second I went North and straight on through the Campus at Wayne State. Heading North to the Fisher building a quick right left and continued on second actross 6 mile and on into Palmer Park. Turning left at the dead end I enjoyed the park and found a framilure spot to stop, drop and give it 25, back on the bike on up to the light at 7 mile. Turning left again and onto the first light I turned right and headed into the Sherwood Forest Historic Subdivision. Arhing through I come out 1 block south of 8 mile turning right on Livernois. Crossing over at 8 mile heading north to the first light I turn left and headed on to the next street were I made a right. At the dead end I turn left and headed west to another dead end intersection. I turned right again on an official bike only lane heading north to the next light. I turned left again and traveled west to the first stop sign. I turn right and headed north across 9 mile on to Hero’s Park were I always stop, drop give whatever I have left. From there I snake through Oak Park on my way back home to Lathrup Village.
J. Meyers Bike Explorer