With the threat of rain and over committed schedules that consume a chance at balance I was the only rider on tonight’s adventure. The energy of the city was dark and angry as the violence and pain could be felt by everyone. The voice in my head said ahh relax why ride? Take it easy bla bla bla. I thought to myself what the hex I can leave my phone in the car so it would not get wet. I mounted up and headed due west along the Canfield trail around 6:15.
No less than three occasions I had to dodge, duck, dive, dip and dodge cars driven by amped up men who simply thought that stop signs had nothing to do with them or their vehicles, WOW! Geese’s maybe riding tonight was not such a good idea? I made my way onto to Central Ave near John Kronk and was literally driven into the gutter underneath the rail road bridge by yet again another angry 20 something male, who wanted to control the things around him and make sure that no one was going to get ahead of his position in line! While in the muddy puddle of a gutter I picked up a commercial staple in my front tire and before you knew it my front tire was going flat. I turned left onto Dix and made my way into the gas station to get some change for the phone. Weird looks, dark lighting in many eyes that had grown dim, I was instantly alert and on guard, only as a few times before in all of the years of riding through the city. The first two calls got me nowhere as everybody these days seems to not answer the phone unless they know the number or the caller is part of their address book. I got back on the bike and the hell out of there.
A few blocks back I noticed an Irish Pub called Casey’s and I said to myself an Irish Bar would always be a safe haven no matter what the neighborhood might be. When I walked in the place it went silent as the locals were wondering what and the hell was this big wet cat doing dragging his bike in on their Thursday night pool league? I quickly made fun of myself letting everyone know what a door knob I was for not bringing my phone or my repair kit. I was invited to sit down at the bar and struck up a conversation as the bar keep called the local cab company on my behalf. The local guys were talkative and honest about having too much to drink to give me a ride. An hour and a half passed and two more calls were made to no avail. Just then a tall fellow walked in with his Bulls basketball jersey on and started to eyeball me wondering what I was about. Turns out ‘Franco’ was from Uruguay and was a chef at the MGM Casino. He insisted on helping me out as I later learned he had been blessed with good fortune most of his life and felt that it was his duty to pay it back by helping people out whenever he could! I helped him move the cases of Clams he had just picked up for tomorrows soup and took my bike apart to fit into his newer Lincoln town car. As we drove through the neighborhoods on the way back to MCB he asked if I was crazy riding through these neighborhoods? Thinking out loud he asked if I had a death wish? I told him it was my mission of sorts, in the most non pedestrian friendly city in the world, to show people that did not have to own a car to be free nor did they have to willingly submit to a drive-thru life style becoming fat and unhealthy. As an artist-architect it is my statement. With goodbyes being said and many a thank you being extended I was back in my rig loaded up and heading home.
Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer