Tonight’s ride had long been coming as we finally answered numerous requests to take a tour into some of the less favorable areas of the city. What I will loosely term the dark shadowy places. To honor the request I charted the map and set the course through one of the city’s worst sections. Home to ‘White Boy Rick’ and the once headquarters of the infamous ‘Chamber Bros’, (for those of us from the area, we all remember the police videos and the faces associated with the Crack Epidemic that swept through the city in the early 1980’s). Oddly enough the same 6 mile and Gratiot area was also once home to Dan from Motor City Brewery.
We set off East on Canfield and then charted north to Palmer street as we soon made our way to Grand Blvd. up to St. Cyril, which to me still looks like an old wagon trail each time I ride on thru. From there we made our way over the Chandler Park and our first stop at a picnic table that Dan rested with his family just three weeks ago. From there we charted up Dickerson St. on our way Long View. As we all gazed around it was apparent that we were entering into an area that somehow just did not feel right?
From Longview we made our way north on Queen and stopped at the corner of Huston and found ourselves at Gracie’s. We were ‘Buzzed’ in and warmly welcomed by a friendly fellow who held the door open for us as we brought our bikes in. The Bartender our gracious host and the rest of the crowed gathered there were all in good spirits and friendly from the first moment we walked in. Many a tale was told with heartfelt well wishes for the city being expressed by everyone. From there our host informed us all that he was a retired State Policeman and impressed us with his belt buckle push button holster which promptly dropped a 22 cal. Pistol into his right hand. The best way to fight against crime, he said, was to be prepared, just then he raised his shirt to reveal his gold-plated 45. attached just off his right hip. He went on to tell us that this fellow and that fellow and the female Bartender and that guy way over there will all card carrying members and were loaded for bare! Man what a place, the citizens here have laid claim to the corner and will not be intimidated by gangs, thugs or anyone else for that matter.
He held the door for us and followed us outside inquiring were we were oft to next, once revealed he asked if we wanted his cell number and remarked that maybe we should go that way? It was then that I said faith and light would be our guide and when in doubt, there are fanny pack holsters, packing 40’s and not 45’s. With a good laugh we were off to tour where Dan grew up and from there we stopped by Ted’s childhood home in Indian Village where his Mum still lives. With a drag race down the riverside sidewalk and one more stop in-between we all made it back to our point of origin, the entire group better for it.
Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer