Critical Mass is alive and well in the “D”! Unlike last year when cold and wet weather had rained out the event, today’s efforts were in full swing. I think the face book avenue of communicating is working well. Riding down from Mid-town I arrived at the entry arch of Heart Plaza around 6:45. The scene was awash with about 75 cyclists with more arriving every minute. Blue jeans a plenty no one was wearing a helmets, biker shorts or jersey’s, well everybody but yours truly. Alas I had grown up enough to perhaps become/represent the man?
A few quips were sent off in my direction as I circled with others trying to stay warm in the 36 degree sunlight. Wow I thought to myself how out of place I was and moreover how apparent my maturity, (fancy way of saying big-old-middle-aged-man) was by comparison. The view was a rebellious one, College kids, tattoos, dark clothing, facial hair, mountain bikes, sexy single speeds and a few roadies thrown in with jeans for good measure. The proposed ride seemed to be more of an anti-establishment rally than an exercise tour.
What has always fascinated me about these last Friday of the month bike rides was the tale that whoever takes the lead in turn leads the group on a ride through a city, taking over the roads so that cars and their drivers would become more aware as the rights associated with bikers and biking. The fact of the matter was that I knew I was sadly out of place, as I was not going to lead this beautiful youthful group anywhere!
As 7:10 was upon the moment and the ride still congregating around the entry Arch, I thought it best that the “Man”, in his blatant commercial advertisement bike Detroit gear should slip out silently and let the young activist have their day free from the likes of organized anything, including me. Oh yea did I mention it was cold as ice and I did not wear a jacket?
Cruised back up to my usual haunt and as the first Cider was touching my lips I happened on a fellow awaiting his carryout order. Meet Bill Lusa one of the founding members of the Tour de Troit! What a fine fellow indeed. We talked at length about the tour and the fact that all of the money that they charge and raise goes directly to promote biking in the city and for paying for the likes of bike lane line striping. The word beautiful is all I could muster. What a great group of Detroiters.
Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer
With the proposals written I was ready early, to leave the work day behind me and get back on the bike. 64 degrees and 2:00 p.m., I put the shorts on and took the old Diamond Back down from the garage storage hooks. A quick check on tire pressure and I was off.
Today I decide to take the Lincoln way through Royal Oak and down on John R. I have not gone this way in over 5 months, a mile into the journey I once again realized why. Lincoln is broken and choppy from Southfield Road all the way to Coolidge. More suited for mountain bike tires than thin road tires. Once across Coolidge the road runs smooth and for a mile or so, teeth chattering and forearm jolts are nonexistent. Making my way through Royal Oak, down to Hilton, Woodward Hgts. and then South I joined John R three Blocks North of 8 mile, it is there I crossed over.
In less than a minute you enter into a world of prostitution, street walking and drug dealing. Focusing on the road ahead so as to avoid the glass and debris I had to shake my head at the blatant solicitation. Let me get this straight, I have been riding for about 9-10 miles, soaking with sweat and you would like to do what to me…? Eyes facing forward with my view and force bending around each corner I crossed over 6mile and made my usual left at the dead end. Once around the old Model T Ford plant and across the Davison is where the John R. trail becomes interesting. As you cross over and enter into the Boston Edison district the rest of the way down to the stadium is wonderful. My thought is from now to come in from the west and cross over Woodward once into the Boston Edison District.
As I made my way down to the Tiger Stadium the place was awash with activity, many employees were washing, cleaning, setting up and making ready for opening day on April 9th. All of the activity felt great and went hand in hand with the anticipation of spring. 20 miles in, I turned west and made my way up to my usual pit stop, the Motor City Brewery for some water and Cider. Great conversation as always and a good rest I saddled up and headed northwest back to my home and incredible family. All in all hassle free and for the most part free from cars.
Bike Detroit! Jim Meyers
With big Mike schedule you never know when he will be in town but he was here for a spur of the moment trail reconstruction day. Mike arrived at 9:00a.m. on Sunday and I had the Ranger all loaded up for our trip down to Pembrooke Sunderland Park, (located behind Henry Ford High School south of 8 mile and East of Evergreen). This is one of the Parks that we toured when we were investigating Park conversions into our ROI Urban Farm Concept on Behalf of the City of Detroit.
The existing trails were encumbered by our old friends the Ash trees which had appeared to have fallen quite a few years ago.
Apart from the garbage along the outskirts of the forest the trails are now open with 4 ways in and 4 ways out!
Numerous other trails are waiting to be opened up or created. So the boys from Beat the train or other groups have at it! Our focus will be on re-opening the primary paths or trails for what we have discovered. More open trails and pictures to come real soon.
J. Meyers (behind the Camera) and Big M. Folster (hugging the tree)
I think it goes without saying the weather was incredible and not to be denied and with Andrea hanging with the wee ones we were all set and out the door around 2:00 in the afternoon. Jen led most of the way down exceeding 30mph at times we both slapped um hard and flew with the winds out of the West we felt like we were flying at times! Making our way through Sherwood Forest and Palmer Park once again taking in the warm hellos and the nice early summer like air the smiles on our faces were tattooed on!
There always to be a better chance to open up and talk when people are relaxed and doing something that they enjoy. At least for us it was a chance to further the dance of surrender as I opened up about a subject that had been troubling me for a while. Without doubt, exception or taking it personally we both went back and forth talking, listening and seeing as we furthered on down the path of intimacy. Ahh the affects of the church of the rolling wheel were once again upon us…. Now back to the ride.
Down on Third we started to get pushed a little by amped up auto guys who felt the spring energy as well and decided once again to let the world know they were there by revving there motors and coming close on the way bye. A few deep breaths on we pushed on taking a new way across Wayne State over to Cass then down to Canfield and the brewery once more. 58 minutes, 17 miles later it was once of Jens best times! Yaa right you are not in shape give me a break! Our main man Dan meet us with a fond hello as Jen returned his sunglasses to him the smile that came across his face was delightful!
Ciders down and open conversation had we headed off West to take an adventure trail back this time. Canfield overpass and on our way to Grand River our hope was to take it all the way ut to Lahser so I could show Jen Tuttle Park and the Historic Virgin Oak Beech Climax Forest. The wind was at about 20mph and was pushing in our face. We decided to ditch near Wyoming and start to head North through the side streets. As we approached 7 mile an idea came to me that was just to good to be ignored!
Welcome to Tom’s Tavern circa 1928. An old Blind Pig that is still in operation today where you have to be buzzed then properly eye-bald to gain entry. Owned by the infamous Greek Gus, aka. ‘Tom’ this is one of if not the most Historic Dive bar in the city. Jen felt right at home talking to Ron who took over for Gus after he passed away in 1991 speaking a few words in Greek the feeling that was shared was undeniable. Jen stated to clear the bottles away from all the tables, obvious leftovers from St Patty’s day celebration. Since Ron was busy cooking Jen helped herself to the beer fridge and told Ron the count would be well maintained. The quips were few but funny none the less. The next thing I know Ron was out of the kitchen with a bag of shrimp, cutting board, bowls and a knife and was instructing Jen in the proper art of de-veining and de-tailing so that she could help with prepping the meal for the day. An hour later with the bar tender and many a patron arrival we said our goodbyes and made our way back home.
Bike Detroit! Jenny and James Meyers bike explorers