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