|For those of you who do not know this, Bike Detroit was started as a dance of a love and in return has become quite an affair! It began back in 2004 when a Saleswoman entered into our office to sell us our current payroll system. The conversation was straight and to the point but quickly turned into me sharing with Jen about bike riding in Detroit. It was something I was passionate about and started to do earlier in the year with a group Sponsored by John and Irene from Honest John’s Bar and Grill. During our Business meeting Jen told me that she had always wanted to get back into bike riding and thanked me for the inspiration. Later on that same day I found her leaving the bike store that I had recommended earlier, with a new bike! I thought to myself, a Woman of action, how refreshing.During the remainder of that year we became good friends as we both worked hard to get other people out on their bikes exploring the city of Detroit. When honest John and Irene decided not to sponsor the rides anymore it fell upon us to carry their original vision forward, which is what gave the inspiration for what is now known as Bike Detroit. With our subsequent marriage and three beautiful children rounding out our family, (okay rapid fire and were done!), tonight’s ride was the first time in over three years we got back to doing what made us so close in the first place.
We decided to go back to where it all began back at Honest Johns. Kelly, (new owner) and Jen took time to catch up as we were both pleased to learn that she is also getting married to her business partner/boy friend, some similarity there between us. After catching up I pushed Jen to get out the door in time to chase the setting Sun. With a clear blue sky before us we decided to head right into the wind and get the worst of it out of the way with gusts well above 35 degrees straight out of the West and into our faces.
Crossing over the Lodge on the Selden overpass we quickly turned right and made our way up to Canfield. Canfield over to 14th street was a sunset trip-slip-dip as about the time we turned left on 14th the Sun finally went to bed for the night, or as we say to our kids ‘aww-baby.’ Heading south was great fun as Jen attacked 2 different times, always seeming to catch me napping or looking around. Man that hot chick and her Felt Pro Racer fly to this very day! She laughed each time I caught up saying she was just testing the old man to see if he still had it. We found our way to Jefferson where she stepped on the damn Felt as hard as she could. I had to put the chain on the big sprocket this time to catch her, it took awhile and when I did, I blew by as fast as I was able. Choking for my breath I thought to myself gulping in-between, “Take that Chick” and then we slipped right around the Joe and made our way to the River Walk just like we used to.
We took a moment to stop on one of the benches and watch the waves and current work in reverse direction? Throughout all of my life I have never seen the Detroit River with Rollers out of the West moving East towards Belle Isle against the current, what a sight. Back on the peddles again we headed East and past Hart Plaza just as we were about to turn in front of the police station I caught something out of my right eye across the river.
At first I thought it was a massive Firework that had been blown off and what I was witnessing was a beautiful display. A partial Golden Hemisphere was emerging up from the Canadian Farm Land, just across the river bank. It was no firework, (or then again maybe it was?), it was the birth of the Moon! Shouting to Jen to stop, we stood in awe facing the rails and watched the full moon in its entire splendor. At first it started as an ellipse that had a sagging bottom that was stuck like glue was to the earth, but soon it made its ascension above the land. Alas a massive sphere of golden perfection. La Luna and the divine feminine were now showering down upon us and the Earthly Plain. With the optical illusion of the land just underground the moon never looked quite as big and never felt quite as powerful. We stood in silence watching and feeling the show. No one else was around as we soon found ourselves wishing that more people could have enjoyed this.
Euphorically I leaned over to her and asked, “Where would you like to go now”? She replied “over to Atwater so I can see the tap room that you have been talking about”. With the wind at our back we set our Spinnaker to Sail and whipped down the river walk well above any posted speed of understanding. Dashing by the Carousel and on through the DNR Park we soon found ourselves inside of the Atwater Brewery. We entered and strode our bikes up to a nearby stack of pallets; we were the only ones there? Soon we were joined by a recently transplanted west coast couple who had been brought to Detroit by way of recruitment from nearby General Motors. He was from Uruguay and she was from Portland, Oregon. Their tale was one of College sweethearts who both took a chance and journey to our great city to work for one of our restored pillars of employment. Later on an English Fellow and his date joined in and nothing but good honest words were exchanged. Soon thereafter we found ourselves on our bikes off to face the Westerly wind once again and thought in harmony what a great date this would be for any couple.
Bike Detroit! J. & J. Meyers
|I have been on a few rides this winter most notably the January 27th ride downtown that was a grinder across snow covered icy roads as well as a few others that I thought were challenging. But nothing can compare to today’s ride. In honor of Todd Scott, who as a group we would be meeting later, I decided to challenge my sensibilities once again. The coldest temperature I have ever embraced on a bike ride was some three years ago. Back then it was 19 degrees when I started and 16 degrees by the time I made it back home. I distinctively remember having to stand in the shower for 20 minutes stepping on pins and needles as I waited for the ‘feeling’ to return to my feet. Today’s ride began with the temperature at 6 and by the time I made it downtown it had fallen to 4.
Okay perhaps you are thinking right about now, WHY? Why would someone do something like this in the face of wind chills that were well below zero? What motivates someone do this? Falling back to earlier Blogs I will again make mention that bike riding for me is an arena of application where will, force, and intent goes up against not only the conversation in our heads but against all the people who separately streamed at me from the warmth of their cars. With two pairs of biking pants, a snowmobile mask, and gloves added in with my normal bike riding garb, I took off down my driveway and headed out on the road to confront myself.
For the first few miles east, I was adjusting my mask over my mouth and nose trying to get in enough air without having my cheeks succumb to frost bite. By the time I made it into Huntington Woods I had about figured it out and once past Scotia I made my way south to the Golf Course/Zoo Boundary road. The street was closed at Woodward so I dismounted, put my Mountain bike up on my right shoulder, and hiked through a 3.5’ high snowdrift. Stepping in past my knees I made it to the side walk and took a minute to stomp off the snow and find my breath once again.
Now for the hard part, it was time to embrace Woodward Avenue all the way down to Canfield where I would be making my turn. Far too many times I had to veer left into the right lane to avoid the ice packs and snow drifts that had crept in from the west breeze. I reached out first my ears and then my feelings before sliding over. I did once receive a little chin music from one fellow who seemed to be caught up in the rush but other than that the feeling I received most was something like WTF? I think it is safe to say that I was the only one out riding my bike on Woodward that day.
The trip through Ferndale was the most crowded as I had to back off the pedals and coast when people cut in to turn right in front of me. Making past Palmer Park, I smiled and imagined how difficult it must have been for people to get to the Bus stop using sidewalks that were filled with over a foot of snow. Many people were walking in the street in accommodation I made a wide sweep to the left allowing them plenty of room, saying hello as I passed on bye. On through Highland Park and across the Davison is where my legs started to turn into ingots of lead.
I had to adjust my jacket to vent the heat and then zip it back up when my pace fell below the level of steam. All of the layers became soaking wet with sweat making my motions heavy and laborious. With my water bottle froze I could feel the stiffing approach. As I dipped down under the Rail Road Bridge just south of Grand Boulevard the conversation in my head became exceedingly loud. Both legs below the knees started to turn cold in turn added their voice of concern to the ongoing conversation. Remembering my teaching I went back to my breath. I slowed down moment and fell into my lungs, finding my rhythm once again. As I regained my balance I started to push and rip whatever consideration my legs were having in two. Dancing with a Bus back and forth through campus I won the race for control and turned onto Canfield before the Bus-man made it there. Turning into the Parking lot I coasted my way to the bike rack which was almost completely covered with snow. Standing there for a while I practice and found my breath and composure.
Silence the voice in your head while you trust your feelings!
Bike Detroit, J. Meyers bike explorer