Sunday Down-River Bomb 03/27/2011

Today’s ride marks the return of the Sunday Mission Recon Ride for the 2011 season. My goal today was to travel all the way down to Riverview, MI., to join up with the family and Hitch a ride back home via Jen’s Car. The goal was to find/map out a way that brought me from Lathrup Village all the way down to my in-laws’ house, that kept me off all Major Roads as well as in-between Greenfield and Coolidge/Schafer Hwy. The Question was could it be done? With my latest Navigation App loaded up on my Blackberry, I thought today’s ride would be made up on the fly, so as to be influenced by the flow. I left that house at 1:00 on top of my trusted Mountain Bike once again; the temperature was 29 degrees as I took off to the South on into the Sun.

Church Street dead ends in to a closed street/grass trail as it makes it way on down to 8 mile. This route is one of my favorite off-road ways to get into the city. With the wind at my back I set the pumps free and started to pick up speed. Many times while I am out rolling through the city of Detroit, I spend the time thinking of heavenly things and always make time to reach up and out with the best thoughts and words I can muster. About a week earlier Jen and I talked at great length about the self-less trail and how maybe the goal is not to speak the magical/sacred words that would bind and force the classes and elementals into ones service? Maybe the best trail is one that they all would willingly join, of their own free will, if only asked to be invited; with certain heartfelt intent, grounded in what would be for the good of everyone, in attempts to bring the Kingdom down to our feet, to honor our divine father and mother? With Jens guidelines etched in my mind, and the first time since I began my study 5 years ago, I spoke aloud. Okay now back to the route…..
Traveling by Cooley High School, I was shocked and amazed that it had been closed down and had a big ole’ for lease/sale sign in front of it. For those of you who have never been by I beseech you to make a journey before it becomes yet another ruin. In my opinion this school is the finest piece of educational architecture the city has to offer to the viewing public. Many symbols abound the façade all that originally pointed to a higher intent can be found only if you get out of your car and onto pedestrian level. As I approached Michigan Avenue, I crossed over onto Schlaff and made my way into Prospect Park for a quick breather. Apart from the Freeways, Train Tracks also make it difficult to flow through the city on the path least traveled. So, as it were, I tracked on out to Greenfield and headed on down beneath the rail road bridge over head. On the way back up the hill two fine Arab-American(?), teenagers yelled with accented english form their car to “Get back on the F*****g sidewalk”! I thought that they should maybe brush up a little on the rights of cyclist on city streets and roads?

I stayed on Greenfield and crossed the Rouge on my way to Allen Road. Turning right I made my way through Melvindale and from there through Allen Park; pushing South all the way to Champaign which is where you can turn left and easily cross over I-75. From there I made my way to Abbot and on through Lincoln Park. With a slight swizzle to the right, then left, I continued down on Burns but made my way west just before Eureka Road onto Ford Line Road. I turned left again and made my way across Pennsylvania Ave. Finding Civic Park Drive, I slid down on the East side of the park and crossed over Sibley into my in-laws subdivision. I arrived at 3:00 p.m. sharp and with the some 32-34 miles behind me I thought I made good time.

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

St. Patty Minus the Green 03/17/2011

Today’s ride was joined by Dan, Derek, and Sarah from the group Fender Benders. It was Sarah’s first time out on one of our group rides as the divine feminine is always a welcome site and addition! We were honored that she made time in her busy schedule to join us. Dan and Derek had not ridden since December and would be well tested on our Journey today. As we assembled in the MCB parking lot, I had to ask the question once again, where are the helmets? Okay call me old school, jock, or dork but none the less proper form suggests that people wear helmets when they dance with cars and kerbs. They all looked style-ish but……? Derek found out later, what a strong wind can do when your hands are not on your handle bars. Front tire blown out, front rim bent into a kerb, maybe he was lucky or perhaps skate boarders no how to crash well? Needles to say a rescue ride was called and we joined up with him later…….

The journey was to the Stone House so we could sit on the front porch and bask in the rays of Raphael, (Archangel/Regent of our Neighboring Sun) as the warmth of the season had returned once again. For years I have asked others to write about their experience of the ride so that other types of people can see themselves in different words and take a chance on a journey with our group. Sarah was writing the whole way and made a recent post to her Fender Bender site. I asked her if it was okay if I posted what she wrote so that others who follow could see the journey through her eyes. She warmly agreed and now it is time for that cut and paste and for me to get out of the way:

Happy 2011! It’s still the start of a new year and something to be excited about. A time to feel optimistic (hopefully), moving forward with a refreshed visions into this New Year. We hope everyone ended 2010 with a greater sense ourselves and what we want for the future of our communities and ourselves, especially here in Detroit.

Since there is nothing, nothing more futuristic than hover cars and flying ships that take us to places we have never gone before we might as well face it…. this is not the future we envisioned when we were six or forty years ago no matter what age you are. Fender Bender Detroit has discovered one form of transportation that can and does take us to places no person has gone before…the bicycle! Our vision for the future is Mobile! A mobile bike shop, as well as being mobile by bike.

Have you ever gotten on your bike during a sunny day like the first one of spring? When the sun truly warms your face and you begin to de-thaw and you remember that you are a nice person smiling and saying hello. The air is almost humid and your mind drifts from the obligations of the day and all the stress of deadlines or phone calls does not exist (cuz your smart phone is on silent in your back pocket hopefully). The independent empowerment of self-sufficient travel creates a timeless space and sense that anything is possible. The only real moments are the ones happening right now. During these moments we come in tune with our inner selves and our instincts. We remember how easy it is to get around without a car.

When I am riding on days like this and other days too, even in the rain, my sense of time changes. I invent time and create time that I did not have before. I extend each second to minutes and minutes can become hours, and then I realize as I rush around in my car on a self-inflicted mission like a wound, that I’m in a hurry to nowhere fast. Biking can reinvent worlds, I am convinced. Not only can our sense of time be affected by cycling but largely how we communicate and interact with our neighborhoods. Even if you are shy it’s almost impossible to pass people while biking and not say a “how ya do”. You’ll have more contact with people than while in a car. Even if you are not an observer (which I believe we all are) it is unlikely that you will notice less while biking. More likely you are going to recognize and see more.

You may even begin to envision future plans of how space, land and buildings could be used in your neighborhood/city. You may have hallucinations of a community garden or public park area. Or perhaps prophetically predict a four corner stop sign to slow down speedy traffic. Or maybe a co-op market in place of the vacant liquor store. You may even become overwhelmed with a sense of ownership and investment in the neighborhood that could result in creating a neighborhood coalition of people looking out for one another and having monthly dinners together. Biking allows anything to become possible! Can you see it now?

The next time you’re on a ride envision your bicycle as a vehicle of time travel. You are in the best position to see, feel, smell, touch and sense countless possibilities that await in an abandoned building, vacant lot, old fencing, community centers, churches, a mulberry tree and cracks in the sidewalk. Up close and personal. You may find yourself stopping to take a closer view or the taste the berries, that otherwise may have never existed to you in your car. You see now how a bicycle can alter ones reality: allowing us to become part of experiences that do not engage with us while traveling in an interior, protecting us from sometimes the very things we should be connecting to: Ourselves, Each Other and Nature.
Bike Detroit!

Jen Makes her Return to ‘Down and Back’ 03/13/2011

It was finally just like the old days with a slight twist. Today’s ride was hatched around 6:30 a.m. with a text sent to big Mike up in Rochester Hills. The plan was to just ride down and meet up with Mike’s wife and then head over to the St. Patty’s day parade in Cork town and then all return in the car, avoiding the NW wind. The next step was to see if Andrea was willing to not go to the office as originally planned but rather divert to the house, allowing for Jen to have a chance to join the old dogs in their trip on down. Andrea made the Day. First she said that she had to be somewhere by 4:00pm, but more about that later.

I drove out to pick up Mike from his house around 10:30 so that they would not have to coordinate a two car pickup. Anyway you dice it is 30 minutes up to his place from ours. I thought to myself, he had made this journey over 200 times over the past 6 years always willing to come down and work on the trails or take a ride. What a commitment that until this morning I had no real appreciation for.

We made it back to our place around 11:30 and I scrambled to get my gear on and check the tire pressures. Jen slipped outside with a weary smile to say hello and ask if she could help with anything. “just the water bottles” I said as I smiled at how dorky she looked wearing her winter boots along with her biking pants and gear. As I was putting my boots on, Andrea informed me that she would have to leave around 3:00 which was going to change our plan without me realizing it in that moment. A few minutes later and in a rush of action and excitement we were off.

Same group same fun! Pushing, talking catching up, the ebb and flow of three old friends doing what they loved had returned. I smiled all the way down to Palmer Park. Once there we dashed into the woods and made a turn off of the main asphalt trial and found ourselves back into the sacred forest once again.

Jen, hugging one of her big friends, a 225 year old virgin White Oak guarding one of the trail heads out at Palmer.

Big Mike checking his phone for the time to make sure we do not stay to long on the trail so we could meet his wife on time.

From there we rode on through to see if the report was true about people stealing pieces of the Historic Fountain’s balustrade? Unfortunately it was true. While the city contends with fighting with itself and against the self serving unions, the cost now is pieces of history are being scraped and stolen like SOME COPPER PLUMBING FROM AN ABONDONED HOME. This fact tugged at my heart strings as I know only too well that it would be another 30K added to any hopes of restoration.

As we jumped onto Third Avenue I had to ask myself when are we going to get it? When are the leaders going to provide an example for other people to aspire and follow? When will people care enough to change? A voice in my head went off and it was my friend Jon who asked again the question, “Are people inherently bad or good”? Today for the first time I had to agree that they were mostly bad.

We made it down to MCB with a few minutes to spare for out of respect for Mike’s wife, we did not want to be late. As we caught our breath, sitting at the counter, I had finally the chance to talk to Jen about what Andrea said about 3:00. She looked at me in typical fashion and asked me “when I was going to tell her about the change in plans”? What the heck I thought to myself, “when and in-between what breath”?

Needless to say, and much to our dismay, we told Mike and Lisa we were going to have to ride back so as to make the timing commitment with Andrea. Well with it being almost 2:00 and with the strong cold NW wind facing us, big Mike said, “Good Luck”. We saddled up and rode. I told Jen to stay tucked up in my draft bubble knowing full well that her legs alone would have a tough time with the 17 mile return journey that headed straight into the wind. Later that night I wished I would have never suggested it but what the hell there still are some heroes left and my wife believes me to be one of them.

We made a brief stop back in the trails at Palmer so that I could take off that second layer of biker pants. With that being done we rode by a cute couple that was out hiking taking pictures, with faces well lit with surprise and delight. The word seems to be getting out that the city has some wonderful natural spaces that are open to explore. The last few miles were tuff and I mean tuff. I had to slow down and get Jen back into the bubble. We made it back home at 3:06 and with Andrea’s van warm and running there was not much upset in her powerful eyes as we did our absolute best to honor her time and commitments.

Bike Detroit! J & J Meyers bike explorers