Big Mike had made the call late Saturday afternoon as he was hoping to break out his single speed, ala Andy Ericson from Beat the Train. With the thought of icy corners on his mind Mike gave a call declaring that perhaps it was Mountain bike time once again and that he would meet me at H J’s at 10:00 a.m.
Out of the cars early we were on our ride by 10:00 and had an interesting time getting use to the Vancouver- esque cool and foggy extra moist air. Each breath was filled with water vapor, the amplified form, the kind to ignite with amplified light…? Okay back to our story… We road on by the G.M. head Quarters and made our way down to the waterfront riverside. Slow thick air pushed down on the ice pack flow, slowing the current down to almost still, ice silently stuck in a lazy tour.
We made our way through the new state of Michigan park and ended up on the Dequindre cut heading north through the thick silence. From there we blasted wee bit North on Mt. Elliot and then headed over to West Grand Blvd. and from there onto Belle isle. Numerous people, some with four legged friends were witnessed walking along the water’s edge enjoying the thick silence as well. We pulled off and walked out onto the revealed shore line as the water levels were lower than usual and as we turned to remount a group of 6-7 fellow riders whizzed on by on modified mountain bikes? Who ever you were great to see you out on the trail!
From there we made it back around, over the bridge, left onto Jefferson and down onto the river walk. Snaking around the Coast Guard Station we ripped up the trail back out to the road near Andrews Saloon. From there we headed on past the cut and onto the river walk once again. Passing the Joe and auto show traffic we made our way back onto Cass Ave. and blasted back to HJ’s.
J. Meyers bike explorer
With the Conversation in my head being silenced last week , I could have thought of no better way to enjoy the start of the weekend then to get on the bike and ride on down to the city once again. The journey this time was much warmer than last. As the Boston Edison district was upon me so was the remnants from Mondays snow, I gripped and started to pull on the handlebars and rip it old school mountain climbing style.
I seemed to have forgotten of the power than can be generated from riding that way. I guess I lost it in the city last year during my imaginary speed/time trials and my upper body had missed it for sure. I rode the rest of the way down to the Brewery that way, gripping it/ripping on it until I was out of breath only to start over again. Great work out! Where was I thinking?
Lots of water this time with a cool glass of Cider to boot I headed back as soon as my under-layers were dry. The grip rip ride style was great until about 5 miles from home. Arms and legs both felt like flat tires and the speed over the ground reflected the muscle-mandatory slowdown-showdown. When I walked in the door to see the warmly lit eyes of Sephera and the Grin from my wife, all I could say was, “that ride kicked my ass”.
J. Meyers bike explorer
The tail of today’s journey really starts with Mohamed, not the profit of Islam but rather a bike mechanic who works at the D&D Bikes in Berkley MI. Mohamed never has owned a car. He rides his bike to and from work every day 12 months out of the year. According to him he has known no other way and at 60 some plus years he is as fit as fiddle and ready for action.
Long before REI came to town and graced us with the awareness of all weather gear, Mohamed was riding his bike form Wayne Mi to Berkley Mi every day. He had long ago silenced the conversation in his head about what was reasonable or possible with respects to riding, weather conditins or gear. He in turn became my inspiration to take on whatever was left inside my own conversation and join him in the ranks of weather? Who cares!
I spent the 60 bucks on a studded front tire, split my left thumb putting it on the rim, filled it up with 45-50lbs of air, got on my gear and headed out once again. It was 17 degrees when I had left but with the Northwest wind at my back it was like setting my sail and catching a bit of a ride on down. For those of you who ‘clip in’ always winter snow/ice ridding is not for you. Ditch the clips as the metal to metal surface interface transfer the chilling energy directly into your shoe and into your foot regardless if you are wearing a ‘booty over cover’. I recommend you change your peddles to a BMX platform and put on some -40 hiking boots that are waterproof and thinsulated. That way when the slip and slid happens you extend your leg and slid stiff legged until the curvy-survey is over. (For the men from Beat The Train, this is why I ride in sandals).
It was crisp to begin but I warmed up well by the time Oak Park was upon me, the roads were good all the way through Ferndale and down back across 8 mile and into Sherwood Forest. It was a little tough at first but the road cleared up after a few blocks. Once I crossed over Six Mile this is where the fun really started. No plows no salt except for a few hit or miss intersections were the salt did nothing but make it marblely. I picked a car tire track and held it true and for the most part that new front tire worked wonderfully. A few times I came close to going down and out but that quick release to a stiff leg slide worked! No garage sale, no salt stains no bruises just fun and challenging as you have to pull on those handle bars to rip it!
Snow riding is sort of like sand trap riding, for those of us who mountain bike you know what I mean. The sand grabs you sucks in your front tire in, survey curvy as you quickly step up on the peddles in an attempt to get out of the trap before you fall on down and in. I imagined that I was on a trail again as there were no people to be found. All the way down Third Ave I turned left on West Grand Blvd and made my way East to Cass Ave. From there it was a quick right and a sprint the rest of the way down to Canfield on over to Motor City for some more Cider and good conversation.
Once again, as Jim Senska aptly put it the day of our Tour Detroit ride the ‘Church of the Rolling Wheel’, continues to be an inspiration. When the conversation in your head is silenced what more is the excuse to stay stuck in the life that you invented? End the conversation in your head and realize you are the Architect of your experience and whatever you truly believe is what is possible.
J. Meyers bike explorer
The tradition has been to do our ride downtown the morning of the New Year but this year we decided that we should get our ride in before the year was over. Big Mike came down from the hills once again as the roads around our place were less encumbered with the fluffy white stuff. We had no set course in mind only that the trip made it south of 8mile for as long as we were able.
Drifting through familiar trails we ended up on Livernois and crossed over 8 mile and headed once again into Sherwood Forest me Ladies! A few hearty folks were out taking a walk through the neighborhood and greeted us with a warm happy new year as our garb and action took them a bit by surprise.
Finding our way into Palmer Park once again by the time the ‘Y’ in the road was upon us I asked big Mike what he thought about taking 3rd all the way down and in. I am glad he said what I had been thinking since entering into the Park, as the 10 miles behind us was already having its effect on the chilling of certain surfaces associated with our forms.
With Third and Second Avenue gone bye-bye we stayed on the main Park road arching on through the green light that allows for a flow through onto North bound Woodward. We took an immediate right and headed over to John R to see if the Dakota Inn was open to receive a couple of cold ass adventures? Nope.
Flipping a ‘U’ we made our way back out onto North bound Woodward and slapped the peddles hard past seven mile onto Ralston Street making our way North to the new and improved Stone House. Closed as well, darn, shucks s—t. From there on we continued North to State Fair, made a left and turning right found ourselves back on Woodward heading north back across 8mile. I thought to myself there must be some place in Ferndale that will be open?
On the West side of Woodward there is can be found Machpelah Cemetery. I have always wanted to check-er-out, so freezing cold we crossed Woodward at the turn-a-round and made our way in. Narrow cart paths for roads with 99% of the headstones facing East? Interesting fact that I never knew, facing the east as the Muslims often do the departed avail themselves to the 6 open portals in hopes of gaining admission once the light has left the form. Interesting, very interesting.
Leaving the Cemetery we turned left on the South bound side walk and made our way through the neighborhoods and onto Rosie O’ Grady’s. Peeling off all of the layers so that they could be dry upon the return it took a good ½ hour to warm up again. From there we slapped um hard and took the sidewalk trail that runs in conjunction with 696. Once back home again a fond fair thee well was shared as we turned home towards our families to welcome in the New Year.
J. Meyers bike explorer