11/18/2011 Thursday Morning Ride without Bikes

Today’s morning ride was done without bikes, spandex, Helmets or shorts. Today’s ride was done in Suits or one’s Sunday best as we had our day in court from a previous bike ride. Today we were in the 36th district court so as to defend our Honor and good name as we defended ourselves against the Loitering tickets that Dan, Matt, and I received last August while out on one of Thursday night trail/exploration rides.

All men can be reasonable and honorable. As both sides stand at the table of discussion we all must be prepared and willing to give up something so that Peace and Harmony can be obtained. For Dan it was the questioning of the Rail Road Police mans authority as his Insignia was without the State of Michigan’s Crest. For me it was my passion about Heartfelt Intent and rock solid belief that men of honor do not commit crimes, especially when all we were doing was changing the flat on Dan’s bike. For our new friend, the Rail Road police officer it was forgiving us for the passionate tone, questioning or disbelief. For Matt, it was nothing for he was/is the example for all to follow. So, “for the sake of justice we recommend that the charges against these men be dismissed”.

I write this so that we all can be made aware that not all rail road service roads are open to the public. In fact most of them are not. There are numerous owners to the functional and abandoned rail lines throughout the city with private police forces and 500 yard easement that keep them safe from vandalism and harm. Please research the owners and the restrictions associated with each of the lines. Whether or not they are on the Rails to Trails plan/list offered up by Todd Scott, or they are part of the Greenways Pedestrian Master Plan that was commissioned by Ken Cockerel Jr. Everyone has a job to do including our new rail road police officer friend, (hope you join us on one of our Thursday night rides next year, maybe you can give us an escorted tour?) We ask from all of you to respect this fact and do your homework before you begin your ride on any of the rail road systems.

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers, Bike Explorer

10/7/2011-11/7/2011 Ride Updates:

Andrea was asking Dad when are you going to write another Blog about your rides, it has been over a month? Okay sorry for taking a break but as this is a part time passion, sometime work trumps the writing efforts that is seems my eldest daughter has come to enjoy..

October 15th: Was our first complete family bike down, we staged my vehicle at MCB and Jen came and picked all of us up as we headed back home and loaded up and road on down. We made a stop in Palmer Park and danced under the colors of a Sugar Maple tree as I chased Sephera around and around laughing.

October 21st: Dan loaded his bike up and met me on Hamilton. I road down to see him then we rode back down to midtown, then turned back and made our way back up to Palmer Park. Along the way we met no less than 14 bike rider traveling in the same direction. Dan stepped up his efforts and soon we had reeled in all three groups and made our way back to Hamilton. I continued on to Lathrup Village enjoying the release.

October 29th: Was a ride that Big Mike and I took which was the modified eastern section of the Emerald Necklace route. Mike was with us when we did the northwestern loop back in August. We staged one of our cars at MCB and drove up to Palmer Park to begin the ride. 26 miles later, 12 parks ridden through/toured, Mike became enthused about what it is we were trying to do and started talking about how we can really make this Emerald Necklace/Sustainable Park route a reality? It has started with Palmer Park and will branch out in both directions. More to come via formal announcements from the city soon!

November 3rd: Was dedicated to the Southfield trails that we originally re-opened some 4-5 years ago. I love it and missed the old route as we have committed most of our bike riding efforts to our beloved Detroit over the past 4 years. I promise to make all maps published on our site come January of 2012.

November 12th: Mike was inspired to hear about my recent tour through the old trails and asked to venture out again with me. Arriving @ 8:30 am we hit it and hit it hard. Trails hills climbs all in Southfield, out to Carpenter Lake, (where I had my first wipe out in 6 years) and back again. Seven forest sections, miles of trails that many people still believe do not exist. Mike was on me as well to complete the maps and get everything published in a down-load-able fashion so that we could share the all of the various trail routes we have helped re-define and or created.

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers, Bike Explorer

10/6/2011 Thursday Night Ride

Abraham finally got tired of basking in Heaven’s Sun and decided to get re-incarnated and join us on tonight’s bike ride. From the moment we arrived, Jen spotted a bike rider and walked over to great the stylish looking fellow. Right away they started to smile and have fun. There is always some sort of tension people bring within themselves when meeting a group for the first time. We always seem to have to contend with the conversation in our head. The sad thing about it, that ‘Conversation’ is really the only thing that keeps us separate from one another, on all levels. The beauty of riding with our group is that we could care less, for in a world without judgment filled with compassion what then? Oh yeah I forgot to mention, who are we to judge anyone, anyway?

Ted was on hand with his classic ‘Mission Recon’ Bike Detroit’ shirt and was wearing a smile of joy as the weight of the world finally seemed to have left his shoulders, this time for good! With Dan and Val rounding out our group of 6 we saddled up and pointed North for our first stop on the micro brewery tour. Our first stop was going to be the Royal Oak Brewery, then down to the WAB, then through Hamtramck all the way to Atwater. Alas some of the best laid plans can change, the only question for us control freaks is when this happens can we let go and go with the flow?

On past the Fisher building we spotted another mountain biker on the far left side of the street? He appeared to be caught in a straight jacket of rigorous thought and intension. Noticing that, Dan and me decided we would have a little fun. Dan went first surging ahead, then looked back and slowed to practice group. Jen was next to attack and surging past this fellow again decided to look back, slow and practice group. Watching all of this fun, I just could not contain myself anymore. As bike nut jobs often do, I stood on the peddles and made sure I was a good half mile ahead before I slowed back down to practice group. This was great fun and just before we made it to Palmer Park the ‘Lone Wolf’ joined in line with the group. Imagine that? As we jumped the kerb to head on in, our new friend said adieu and headed left on the Merrill Plaisance.

Once into the Park I wanted to fly up the center asphalt trail as fast as I could so as to relive the days of snowmobiling. The only difference is that I was the motor this time. I was not burning fossil fuel to have fun. The group behind me did not get the memo and was slowing to enjoy the new compost station made from the old handball court, the cleared out ‘Pump House’ forest and the ‘Clearing in the Field’ caused by the recent removal of the standing dead monsters that use to loom dangerously next to the main asphalt trail. Slowly the group slid through the winding understory trail, basking in the Divine Mothers message falling from the trees. Just as we were making our way into the 12th Precincts parking lot, Jen called out Flat! Darn, I had not re-loaded on inner tubes or compressed air, as I used my last batch on the previous ride. Mulling around the corner of the parking lot entrance way, Abraham suggested the Ferndale bike shop on 9 mile. Before you knew it Jen and Val were oft to enjoy a walk through Palmer Woods subdivision and the rest of us were on Woodward soaring North side by side in two’s, filling out the right hand lane.

If you have never been the Ferndale bike shop may I please suggest you go? It appeared to me that this is the counterculture headquarters for the next generation of the sport. At 46, looking back at our early bike riding days I had to smile as these guys had it right, ditch the car-ride your bike and if all else fails, ride the Bus with your bike! Artistic bikes and riders were gathering for a ride as we asked them to join on in with our proposed route, a photographer was taking pictures from all angles for which Abraham commented, “most if not all would be posted on their web site”. I thought to myself way cool as Dan thought about the movie Warriors and instead of gangs with baseball bats it was gangs with bikes and nobody was going to get beat except the street.

Charting back down Woodward as fast as we could we finally meet the ladies about 1/2 mile west of Woodward enjoying their delightful sense of direction. With nightfall’s shadows dripping on our shoulders, the group discussed the options/edits to the original plan. A vote was cast for a quick stop at the Stone House for a Pabst and discussion. Rock and roll a blaring and good conversation all around Dan and me headed out to the porch to discuss the week’s events. Val walked out to join on in with the discussion. Soon it was decided that people were hungry and why not head down to the Rathskellar for some good German Micro Brews and Food? Well we tried all 4 of the October-fest imports they had on tap, in essence making 4 stops at just one place. Piles of pretzels were soon dwarfed by the greatness that ensued, as a group of fellows were walking up from down stairs, T.J. Dressed in full US Postal Team gear and Spandex wondered over to our table and sat down to sing and share some of our beer. 78.75 years old, been riding in Detroit since 1943, and according to his tale, had just finished a 78 mile ride earlier in the day! The truth of it is we all believed him and basked in his voice as he sprung into song after song some in German others politically laced. What happened next is Abraham started to speak German. How is that for speaking in tongues! A feast, a visitor, 4 German Micro Brews and at that point, I could care less about the original plan.

From there we said our goodbyes and fare thee wells to our new friend Abraham, as going north to his home in Royal oak made more sense than heading back to Midtown with us only to then turn back around and head north. For the rest of us we headed down John R, charted around the old model T plant and enjoyed the rest of the John R trail all the way down to Canfield. No cars, no lights, no wood be stop sign drivers flying on through. The only sounds we heard were the crickets of the fields and the winds gentle voice passing through our Helmets!

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers, Bike Explorer

8/4/2011 Emerald Necklace Trail Part Three!

The fervor of excitement continued on this week as we both were desperate to see and experience the final section of our proposed loop. This Thursday night’s theme was ‘City Parks’ and since the Emerald Necklace is about Parks why not ask the group if they were up for it? To the experienced group of riders assembled, we explained the intent an asked those present if they were up for a potential 40+ mile ride to head up and out around the Eastern Section of the Emerald Necklace. Given what all present had seen/heard about it the trail it did not take long for all to agree and for us to get up and go!

Doing it section by section demands that you travel out to the loop to pick it up so as to continue. Straight North once again onto 2nd Ave. we turned, having fun, playing tag all the way up to Palmer Park. Since Palmer is the Emerald Pendant to our proposed Necklace/plan/trial, I decided to take the group through a section of trail that they had never been on before. Hopping the Kerb at dead end of 2nd, we jumped into Park #1 of tonight’s tour, onto the asphalt trail and strode straight up middle through and entered in on a slight right just past the old handball courts. Snaking around corners opened only weeks earlier, we snaked around right and left making our way out to Woodward as Nevada St. picks up where we left off. As we came to the exit point I stopped the group and invited them to pose for scale, next to one of the newly accessible Palmer Park Virgin Oaks? Smilingly they all agreed, once camera pictures were done, I swung around 180 degrees, walked 4 paces, and looked up to marvel yet another grand old fellow!

The problem with the East side loop is where to stop for refreshment breaks? We talked about it once out of the Forest across Woodward heading East on Nevada. Nobody had any suggestions on where to stop. A problem soon to be addressed! Crossing over I-75 we made a quick left up Hawthorn and after a 1/2 block slide slight right into Park #2 on Today’s tour. Huge group of Basketball thugs playing, with the boy who had something to prove shouting, “Get the F— out of our Park”! Obviously educated and enlighten words, as we were exiting North we noted a fine group of 4-5 horse shoe pits clean and ready for action. Right on Grixdale, 8 blocks East we made a slight right and cut across at a diagonal park #3. Nice open field cut down nice attached to an old school. South on Fleming we turned right onto Minnesota and we were soon met and warmly greeted by various families and children cheering for the bike riders! East again to just past Charest, slight right and on into Park #4 we did turn. Many abandon fences were taken over by a native Concord grape variety. It looked better than a vineyard and the crop that soon would be ready to Harvest in two weeks time had us all thinking about a combined return trip with harvesting tools and bushels a plenty! If you ever wondered if grapes could be grown in our region/select micro climate, the answer is YES! Out of the Park after a breather, the conversation continued on where to stop as we turned right onto Moran.

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Crossing over left at Luce Street we entered into the Jayne Playfield/Park #5. Huge, well kept ball fields of all sorts, abound. Wow who wouldn’t want to come to this park and play sports? Traveling through the park via the middle asphalt trail, we soon found ourselves crossing over Fehelon St. Entering into Park #6. This Park is all at once beautiful and open, natural in feel, disarming by comparison, to our 2nd park of the night’s tour. Snaking on through, left on Charles for a block then a quick left on Ellery we made our way SE into Hamtramck on bye park #7 ‘Recreation Field’. Continuing on down we made a left onto Conant St, just past the bend, further south we traveled, left onto Vincent, the route back North to Park #8 was blocked. Stopping to check the Map once again the group started to ask, “When are we going to stop for a break?” Needless to say around these parts there is not much, especially any buildings that are open to the public. I thought to myself I better push it up a bit and get on to an area that would have a rest stop open. Right onto old Mt. Elliot left onto Hientz we entered into a vast wasteland of leveled residential city blocks that had been captured and were to be re-positioned into a vast commercial zone, Ooops the great down turn sunk that idea in a hurry. Down Sherwood, left onto Strong we finally made our way over to St Cyril street turning left to enjoy the only ‘Bow’ shaped road in the entire city, who’s that Plucking Yew? Crossing over Vandyke we headed east on Grinnell on our way to Park #9.

Skirting around the trial at Conner Park we crossed over I-94 on Conner Street soon turning left onto Shoemaker/Chandler Park Drive on into Park #10. Hopping the kerb to off-road east of the great water slide, the turf was thick, wet and deep. It was like swamp mermaids, with strong fingers and hands reaching up through the thick wet strands in a vain attempt to grab hold of our feet. We did not stop but what breath we did have left, from the now 2 hour + ride, was getting used up in a hurry. Slowly we poured out and over the defining kerb making a slight right we headed down on Gray Street. It was after this turn that Jen said she had had enough, and would really enjoy a bathroom break! With Dan in agreement we traveled fast and hard down to Kercheval turning left so as to go into GPP where we knew a place or two would be waiting. On our way over the Texas Bar caught our eye and the next thing you knew we were being Buzzed in and greeted by a Crazy lady that liked to dance. Cool this is my kind of place.
I won’t boar you with the tales of Miller High Life and Waters. All I can say that this place is yet another distinct venue where judgment was left outside with your horse, after all it is Texas. Back up on the saddles again we headed back to Gray then left on down, later joining Dickerson for our over-the-grass-far-east-entry into the back side of Algonquin Park #11. Blasting in and onto the waterway trail we made our way across the bridge and on up the hill to stretch and take in the sites of the water way sliding by, turning to enjoying the sun set stretched sky in the opposite direction. From there it was out to Freud, left over to Harding, right over Jefferson, left at Kercheval, left on Pennsylvania, right on St. Paul, left on Crane then straight across Jefferson into Erma Henderson Park #12. Quick sidewalk trial tour then north to the east bound Jefferson sidewalk trail, in opposite direction west, we soon found ourselves turning left down into the Last Original Ribbon Farm and subsequent most historic site left in the city. Owen Park #13.

Okay darkness was falling all around, back across Jefferson for a brief tour of Shipherd Ct. sprinting east on Lafayette, left onto Mt. Elliot and into Park #14 aka the east end of the River Walk. We all shouted out one more stop please so yet again we made our way into Andrew’s place where ole big burly buddy was waiting glad to see us. Quick hello and quick good bye our next stop would be Jacoby’s for some good late night food as EVERYONE was hungry. It was 6:00 when we started tonight’s ride and it was 12:00 when we finally made it back to MCB. Some say 36 I say 42+. Needless to say we all felt it the next day as we talked about how to change the Eastern leg of the Necklace to have more stop location and maybe even consider including Balduck Park, knowing full well that the Emerald Necklace would have to expand beyond the 100 K presently proposed.

Bike Detroit! Bike the Emerald Necklace!

J. Meyers bike explorer.

7/30/2011 Emerald Necklace Trail Part Two!

All week long Dan could not stop talking about getting back out on the Emerald Trail. He wanted to see it all! We talked about it with our wives on the Thursday night ride and got an OK to return to the trail Saturday morning. Arriving at MCB @ 8:15, it did not take Dan long to bounce on down from his elevated office, out onto the parking lot with his good old bike well in hand. Today we were going to start the Emerald necklace Trail from the Park we used as our Starting/Finishing point while mapping. Riverside Park at the foot of Jefferson and Grand Blvd. is where we started to map out the Emerald Necklace last February. As we snaked our way down to the starting point, my good friend Dan did not call out ‘Right Turn’ as he cut across my path, I snatched the brakes but was unable to prevent my first fall in over 6 years! Darn man, I mean we all got to call out our turns, Right? Whatever! No trail rash, no blood, and no wounds, let’s go!

Blasting by Composite Forging always reminds me of the dirty sobering echo of our cites past glory and fame. But given the toll on the Environment and moreover the Great Lakes, I thought to myself that maybe the real blessing of this hardship is the healing of the Great Lakes and maybe Mother Earth Herself? Anyways, we skipped around the fence near the ambassador bridge and soon found ourselves floating on by Riverside Park on Jefferson, then Entering into Ft. Wayne. A hard left and yet another, quick right at the dead end, brought us over and down into the Moat that used to surround the Fort way back when. Kind of cool as you can side- climb and swoop up and down as much as you want. Heading out and around the Fort we dived towards the water and got off for a minute to stretch and take in the murmuring sounds of the Detroit River. The local mail boat made two separate visits to the Large Freighters passing us by, sounding soft toots of the horn as in a way to say goodbye. Back around the westerly boarder trail that encircles the complex, on through the old officer housing, (found falling back to the ground rotting in decay), we headed back out onto Jefferson, left to Green, right to Lafayette, left to Springwells, right to Homer, were we turned left into the Iliad of our own invention. From there it was straight to Woodmere Cemetery Street right, making our way to Vernor, crossing on the green light, slight left entering up and into the ADA sidewalk enhancement ramp, darting up the hill under yet another Virgin Oak Savanna Forest Cluster.

We dismounted right in the middle of the sacred stand, opened up our hearts, attempted to stand, stretched wide to the sky, open to understand. The place has its own vibration, its own hum if you will. On a picnic table nearby a fellow was still hoping to gain, body language restless and in pain, please just a little more sleep, tirelessly he wrestled with the 4’x8′ sheet of plywood he had on top of himself to protect him from? We guessed the weather. We talked about the Secret Mysteries as a Muslim fellow moved, affixed himself kneeling up the hill towards our direction, making good use of his hopeful prayers in what would be loosely termed a Pagan Temple. Up on the saddles, flying down the hill, darting right on a never used sidewalk we flew down and around Patton Park, curving right at the tip we cross-walked over Dix onto Roulo entering into Dearborn on our way to Lapeer Park.

Left on the asphalt pedestrian trail, on up the huge, (Jim gets off his bike and walks up the last 23′ of the Burm) hill, we circled gently out to Eagle left, on pass ‘Johnny’s Place’ making another quick left on Salina we headed south, pivoted west around the dead end, spilled out onto Dix and then slid left, up on the sidewalk, under the rail road track bridge, on our way over to Mellow Street. From Mellow Street we rode on Past Schaeffer Hwy., and soon made our way north along side of the Rouge River. This is where I knew the fun would really start to begin!

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In an L.A. Storm Drain like fashion, Mr. Ford and the Dearborn City Council saw fit to make the Rouge run through a concrete basin, from roughly his house at Fairlane all the way down to his newly constructed Rouge Plant. Surrounded with Army Core of Engineer flood plains and dykes, I am sure it wasn’t the best thing for the environment. With that being said and with all the time that nature had to heal, it sure seems like a good idea to me. Especially when the cement embankments offer a hard packed trail right along the river for any and all to enjoy? As Jon would say “Are you kidding me”? Man this was great fun, miles and miles of un-interrupted flow, no cars except for a few fishermen, this place is unreal and open to all of us pedestrian bike-coholics. Under Greenfield, then under I-94 too, down under Rotunda Drive, miles and miles of side slippery slide river trail. We pushed hard all the way up to the newly reopened watershed stream-bed that exit’s ‘Naturally’ through our concrete trail, out from Henry Ford Village, effectively stopping our proposed trail directly in its tracks. Nice improvement! Would have been cool to have a pedestrian bridge? What made matters worse they had built a 6′ high fence and posted signs of do not trespass! Well we hopped on over and in, but instead of continuing our way North, along the river easement, which is open to all, including pre determined setbacks as per Michigan State Law, we instead turned left and made a bee-line out, exiting the property proper form. We will have to figure something out or get them on Board for what we are hoping to do. Okay I will kind of admit it was fun going through and around the village of Henry Ford. The only downside is cars and the drivers therein. This is the Goal of going Emerald, it is the path least traveled, a green world of pedestrians. A world without cars and their influence unto and into the pedestrian stream of things, at least to us, is like the kingdom returning unto the earthly plain.

Anyways, we finally came round and darted east along Michigan until we had clear-to-cross, quickly we found ourselves on a great pedestrian trail, slight right finally we were in. Along the North side of Michigan Ave. between Brady and great big bad Evergreen, you will find an 8′ asphalt path that runs and plays in harmony dance with the river and the native watershed-land. Bridges cross over the river two separate times, up and down watershed half pipes, the path leads its way around Fairlane, UMD campus, Henry Ford Community College, under Ford Road and conveniently dumps you out into Hines Drive/Park. If you only hit this trail please do so and do so often as fast as you dare or like!

New Park, new vibe, new feel, okay, waking up, we avoided traffic and hit the brakes and then the asphalt trail of Hines Park which could only be described as something quite different from just a few seconds ago. Flowing left/west, one premature/explorative right turn led us down an arm of the natural watershed grade, we followed a stream down and down, snaking-making its way to the Rouge River, at the dead- end- forest we spun back around and slowly climbed our way back out to the road side trail. Looking at the map so that I would get it clear this time, it seem shortly to me we would find, our path and the last dreaded incline. 250 yards west/later we found the river shed lawn park grade opening out. Made our way slight right, in through wet thick grass and climbed our way out onto Ann Arbor Trail. 100 yards from the exact same place we conclude Part 1 a week earlier. From there and without hesitation we jammed it east out Paul and made our way back to MCB with only a slight water brake, on back to our homes, our wives and kids making 12:30 seem right to everyone.

Bike Detroit! Bike the Emerald Necklace!

J. Meyers bike explorer.

7/28/2011 Thursday Night Ride

Tonight we were finally joined by our new friend Steve, owner/sponsor of the Motor City Brew Tours. He had made a promise way back in May to get out on one of our rides and finally he was there in full living Color. The theme of tonight’s ride was a ‘Boulevard Blast’. With only 6 of us present, I put it up to the group to decide where we would be riding on tonight’s ride. I planted a seed in which I shared with the group that on one of my rides over to the office one Saturday morning I rolled by a sign on a building that stated it was the oldest bar in Detroit? It did not take the group long to decide that that would be our destination spot tonight.

It was in the 90’s and most of us started sweating in the parking lot before we even mounted up on our bikes. Our destination was the Two Way Inn, (www.twowayinn.com), situated on the Corner of Nevada and Mt. Elliot. The sign out front stated that they had been open since 1876 and with 135 years behind them we all thought it would be a worthwhile journey. Starting out right we headed straight up Second through Wayne State Campus before we switched back over and turned right on Palmer, over to Beaubien and then left through the Old French Quarter section of the city. Steve made mentioned how in some cases it looked just like the French Quarter down in New Orleans as many of the buildings were built back in the 1800’s. Our first stop tonight was going to be the Rathskeller as Steve made mention that, “a good German Lager would suit him just fine on a hot day like this.” Upon our arrival, we were surprised that the place was closed even though the sign that was posted stated that they would be open? Hmmmmm, I hope our city didn’t lose another great old Historic Place. As we mulled around the sidewalk/corner the question was put out, should we chug on over to the Two Way or hit something close to re-hydrate? Unanimously the vote rang loud and in a step of a peddle, we were off to Ye Old Stone House.

If you have not been, we recommend you pay the Stone House a visit. This old blind pig still has a tunnel entry that run’s underneath Woodward over to a home in Palmer Woods Sub. When Clint Eastwood was in town filming the Grand Torino he stopped by to inquire. They opened her up and guesstimated that someplace near Woodward the tunnel collapsed forever blocking the way. The Stone House is noted as being a part time Biker Hang Out but as long as you are on two wheels all are accepted and welcomed in. The owner was happy to see us and with PBR’s and Pitchers of water. We headed on out to the front porch to relax and take in the view. Half of the group went upstairs to the Playrooms/Bedrooms and headed out on the second story front porch to take in an elevated view. Steve was doing most of the talking and oh by the way the boy has lots to say! The owner brought us out a free Stone House Burger that Dan desperately enjoyed as this fine fellow forgets to eat some days when he is making all of that delicious and wonderfully organic beer. We ordered three more and had them shipped up top for Steve, Jen, Val, and Matt. With an hour of relaxation behind us we were finally off and sprinting back south to find Nevada and make our way east.

Matt attached hard and Dan played catch up each time, were mostly I cruised caboose keeping my eye on the group and the surrounding neighborhoods. All of a sudden we found ourselves at our target destination. We knocked, it took a minute and finally we were buzzed in and welcomed warm heartedly! The rumors were true. This is the oldest bar in the city and the two younger generation guys running the place were very happy to see us. A shout went out for more PBR’s and then the good conversation really began. What History, Brothel, General Store, Blind Pig, this place had seen it all and the historic photos that adorned the wall showed a picture of each incarnation. What Dan was struck by most is the old black and white picture showing a family along Conner Creek way before anyone considered putting it into a pipe and filling up the watershed. Way cool, Dan told me that that is the picture he really wants! The owners made us feel great and welcomed. What a fun time as we plan to take people here again. With fond fair thee well’s being said we turned right onto Mt. Elliot and played sprint/attach all the way down to the river. With a quick right and swizzle along the river front trail, we soon made our way literally right into the Atwater Brewery, were any a bike rider can ride his or her bike right into the brewery and on up to the make shift bar. I cannot think of any other establishment in the country that offers bike riders a path like this?

As it was getting on late in the evening we had just one taste and were back again up on the bikes, riding out of the brewery on past the overheads door as making our way through Brush Park and on back to the MCB. All week long we have been talking amongst ourselves that perhaps this was the best/most fun any of us ever had on one of our Thursday night rides? I cannot remember any more fun than this one, maybe Steve had something to do with it?

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer

7/23/2011 Emerald Necklace Trail!

For those of you who have been following our exploits, the news of the Emerald necklace trail have been long in coming. As a group, we set out to map a circular trail around the entire city that would specifically travel through various parks that we feel could become self sustainable by virtue of their size and location. To enhance the Green or Emerald feel of the proposed trail or route we have created is 100 kilometers long (62.20 miles) of which 40 miles or better is not on a road at all. Yup that’s right! No street traffic, mountain bike trails, no less than 7 virgin forests, designated bike paths and or an occasional unused side walk. The rest is on secondary streets that in many cases pass through beautiful neighborhoods we have discovered over the past 6 years of exploring.

Today we were graced by the presences of our old High School buddy John a.k.a. ‘Drew’ Wyras. Mr. Lt. Coronial, soon to be retired ex Ranger and Hero of the Iraq war! The third Musketeer to Me and Big Mike, who traveled all the way in from the Quad City Iowa to join us this weekend. With Dartanian a.k.a. ‘Dan the Man’ making out the 4th corner to the group, we all met up at Palmer to begin the ride at 7:30am.

Palmer Park is the Pendant or central jewel on our proposed necklace. With over 6.2 miles of ancient Indian trails that swoop up and down over virgin water shed topography, set in and amongst an ancient Oak-Beech climax forest, there simply is no other Park/Place like it in all of Detroit! Virgin forest #1! We chose the midway point and went counter clockwise in lieu of time constraints as we were expected back at Palmer by 11:00am so that we could make ready for the summer picnic and hayrides that were soon to follow. Knowing we would only get to see about a 3rd of the route we thought this way was the best all things considered.

Without much fan fare we were off and all that were present soon were surprised by the beauty, the majesty, and the hills. Exiting the forest behind the 12th precinct we were all sweating as we turned left and followed the asphalt boundary trail over to Sherwood Forest Subdivision. From there down Outer Drive and onto our first Park situated between Pembroke and St. Martins and Wyoming and Pinehurst. From there we traveled on through portions of Comstock field and then up and centered on a pedestrian bridge over the M-39/Southfield freeway construction zone. We stopped to take in a breath and enjoy the peace and quiet of the elevated view. The truck drivers looked up and smiled, perhaps enjoying a site they had yet to see?

From there it was a quick swizzle and a dash to Pembroke Sunderland Park and Virgin forest # 2. We first opened these trails out there two years ago and have not been back this year. Noting the trial work that will soon be done we exited out of the forest and turned left around an ancient Burr Oak that has been confirmed as being in excess of 350 years old! No Kidding! From there west on Trojan Street turning slight left and into Tuttel Park and Virgin forest #3. I love this place, a whole city block, Virgin stand 225-300 years on the biggest one.

From there we made our way south and over onto Margareta and headed west until it dead-ended into yet another hill and forest. Darting across Lasher we found our way onto the Rouge River watershed and slid by the magnificent homes that sit behind the William Rogell Golf Course. Crossing over Grand River and Then 6 mile onto ‘Beaverland’ we enjoyed, what we all felt must have been ‘Cottage Architecture’ as we thought that back in the late 1800’s to early 1920’s the area we were traveling through was a cottage destination spot, set in echoing fashion along the bluff facing river’s edge. From there we snaked around, crossed over the river and then took the sidewalk along 6 mile for a block and made a hard left down River Dale Street, sliding down the slope to a hairpin turn at the foot of Dehner & Riverside Park. This is a Park that has been abandoned form the 1950’s and is ripe with hidden trails waiting to be cleared and discovered.

From here it is all trails, slicing down the gravel access road that leads behind Dale Street we made mention and comment to the illegal dumping that was being done by the Major Cement Company, whose employees were busy setting up high powered cameras to watch the trail? Words were exchanged, Big Mike thought I was a little harsh but, limestone and cement leaching with surface run off changes PH and poisons the RIVER! From there across Fenkell and in through Eliza Howell Park and on buy the largest tree in the city, (Burr Oak, 10’ across at the base as confirmed at 475-550 years old by Paul from Greening of Detroit), we crossed back over the river on the pedestrian bridge while I deliberately slowed down so as to enjoy yet another ancient virgin stand #4 set in and amongst the river’s edge. The fellows were wondering at first why the pace was abated? Did not take them long to understand why!

Out of the forest and making our way across on Kendall we turned right onto Lasher and made our way across 96 and down on Dolson Street. When we mapped out the route we were always working clockwise from the Detroit River on up and around. Since we all decided to work in reverse the next trail was almost impossible to find. Dumped out on the Rail Road tracks we wash boarded it down the center all the way to Outer Drive. People who were crossing over the tracks in their cars stopped on more than 1 occasion to take in a sight never seen! We all made it down and as we dismounted to gain some breath we found the trail north of the tracks which is only visible form the entry point adjacent to Outer Drive.

From there on it was into Rouge Park and the designated asphalt Biking trail, with a quick-slight right we entered into the old Meyers Tree Farm and took the center trail all of the way through. Dumping out and across the road we found ourselves back on the asphalt bike trail for less than 100 yards. The old Comfort station to the west up on the hill secretly guards yet another set of trails through yet another Virgin Oak-Beech Climax forest. Up and down and around throughout the virgin water shed topography what fun. On the way out there is a quick/fun deep dip that happens just before you make your way back near the old comfort station, shoots of waaahoo! could be heard from all who were present. From there it was back across and onto the trail crossing over at Warren. From there down a steep slope adjacent to Outer Drive we found the first of the parks in Dearborn that we have used to connect the western part of our Emerald loop. Taking a break underneath the Picnic Shelter we considered the time and contemplated our next step.

Realizing we were getting on in the day we all agreed to break off the trail turning left at Ann Arbor Trail, switch back along Paul to Oakman Blvd, left again all the way to Hamilton and onto the chore of preparing the hayride so that we could continue celebrating the rest of the day!

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

7/14/2011 Taproom Trail!

I road first from our new office a few blocks from the Tap Room over to MCB to meet the rest of the crew in anticipation of tonight’s ride. My hope was to get at least 40 miles in tonight. Waiting on Big Mike, we finally left around 6 for our eastside jaunt. Traveling over on well known trails, we made our first stop in Algonquin Park. We parked high up on the hill and enjoyed the sail clubs practice runs. Way cool! Some 50 sail boats practicing maneuvers, cutting tight, chin music to the sound of Mylar sails cracking as they fluttered in the changing wind, looking for a way to fill their sail. Peaceful and amazing.

From there we made a dash on over to the Tap Room, we ordered and headed out onto the back patio reminiscing about Dan and Val’s first meeting each other here at the same room. Their beer orders to me seemed like perhaps the same thing that the ordered/were drinking the night they met first met each other? What magic and after all those years the Spark and Vibe are just as intense.

After a few rounds we mounted up and raced back across town on the Canfield trail. We made an adjustment to the route so we could travel on by the old Pfizer brewing works. I thought to myself this would be a great place for Dan to expand his business. I wondered if any of the original brewing equipment was left inside. From there it was a fun dance all the way back to the brewery parking lot where we sat outside on the guardrail and debated raising the national debt limit for what seemed like a long time.

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

7/08/2011 Trail Ride

With three young kids, two Chariots, and a desperate need to get away, we decided to head up north and stay a week on Mackinac Island for our 2011 Family vacation. In a place without cars, full of bikes and horses and if all else failed you still had your two feet to get you around, what else could we really ask for? After going to the island for many years we were finally able to ditch the ‘Tourist Map” and do some real exploring.

Most people are un-aware that Mackinac island’s old Indian foot path/trails offer some of the most challenging mountain bike trails in all of Michigan. Steep climbs, swizzle switch backs abound and are just waiting to be explored. There were even a few places along the trails where I dismounted, as I was not feeling it that day, at least not at that level.

The most amazing find was Eagle Cave, just off of Scott trial. I first went downhill and hiked up to see were many a campfire had occurred, over what period of time? It was really hard to say. My first guess would be thousands of years ago? It was like I could almost see visions of old Indians sitting in the mouth of the cave smoking a peace pipe as they paid there respects’ to ‘Sugar Loaf’. This trip we learned that the ancient Indians held ‘Sugar Loaf’ to be the center of the universe/divine feminine, perhaps a door way from Mother Earth? Interesting, maybe what is going on at Mackinac Island and in turn makes it so special, is a portal or opening a vortices of natural occurring energy. Is that why all the fighting occurred, is that what makes the place so special?

I hiked around and on up to the plateau above the cave below, this was even cooler. Ancient Cedars made a circle around the top rim of the lookout. Ancient hair in friar-fashion- form having a bald center framing an inner circle maybe used for expanded gatherings, wow. I made my descent slowly as not to turn an ankle on the steep and somewhat washed out trail. Back on the bike a slugged through the climb back to the top of the ridge, with a quick right, I was blue streaking it up and down back to the lookout I had just left a few minutes earlier. Noting the entry, I continued on to explore all my way back to Stone-cliff e where the ancient Indian (non tourist trail) was said to end. Here are a couple shots from deep inside the virgin cedar forest. What a great feeling, what a great site, what a great time.

Bike Mackinac Island! J. Meyers bike explorer.

6/23/2011 Family Ride!

We were all excited to take to this ride, as taking the kids out along with us on a Thursday night is really a dream come true. Most of the Thursday night rides are out and away from their smiley-silly faces. My heart was warmed as the family arrived and started to unpack the cars and assemble the Chariots for tonight’s ride.

Once on our way, we made our way through Eastern Market and down onto the top of the Dequindre cut.

From there it was race time! Jen had been twitching all night, telling Val how she was going to. ‘Spank me’ on a sprint down the cut to the River front tonight. She had wee Chemeah and the single chariot, with me had I Sephera and Raphael. I let her take off and head on down the ramp before we began the chase. We were on her at the first bridge and shortly thereafter, went by pushing 28mph. Ooops she forgot about the things called ‘Leggs’. We all three toyed with Jen and Val all the way to the end. I answered every call from Sephera’s ‘I want faster daddy’. Alas 50 yards from the end, the Gentleman in me re-emerged and we three let Jen pass and win the race after all.
From there we were onto the River Feast and the Storm Shower that came in to meet us. We set up camp under the restroom carousal tent; Jen broke out snacks for all the kids to enjoy. Fresh Mulberry smears all over beautiful faces! It was a different sight then most would normally see on a Thursday night.

Good fun and packing up quickly, we made our way back to the parking lot, the kids happy to have spent time with each other again!

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Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.