6/27/2011 Fireworks Down and Back!

We left around 7:15 p.m and headed down, free together again I smiled to myself and enjoyed the view, remembering the freedom of our earlier years, riding back and forth from the city on all those hot summer nights. A young teenage ass made a fool of himself by hurling a chunk of concrete at Jen on our way down Third. I swung around as it was hitting the ground only to see chicken and his friend run into the house and hide, I called him a loser as Jen said a little bit more than I should write. We turned around and continued on down, this time we were on guard. We made it to MCB just in time to meet Val and Dan then Shang-hide- off to a loft party down near the old MGM Casino. Whooshing on over, weaving in and out of little used streets, avoiding cars and traffic, we arrived at the party just as the night started to fall down around the buildings and sky.

Jen ribbed me and said that she, “was not really dressed for a party”, well oaky I got understand. Most of the group we had earlier met at the Brewery over the past few years so I figured loose non form fitting shirt? We joined the group up on the loft-deck- roof and enjoyed far off in the distance, the somewhat mutt led and moofed semi brilliant sky. More than half of the show was snuffed out by the now empty post industrial ruin, shucks…….

As soon as the last Boom had rung we were up saying our goodbyes as we knew we had quite the journey ahead of us. We slide away from the traffic of northbound Trumble and made our way on over to Honest Johns for a few glasses of water and few more good memories.

We stepped-em smooth, good and true all the way home as we completed the last 16 miles of the journey in about an hour. The empty streets and quite Midnight Sky always leaves an impression of haunting clarity, there is something crystal that happens when other vibrations and energy are gone? Landing home, we spent 10 talking to Heidi and Andrea both about the journey and the night with the kids. Good day, better night and an amazing month of bike riding behind us we both agreed it was time to go to bed, goodnight!

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

6/16/2011 Crack Neighborhoods

I always look forward to this ride as it takes us deep into the once foul heart, of a devouring beast of corruption, Young Boys Incorporated. After thinking about it, the theme of tonight’s ride could read ‘Cocaine Neighborhoods’ for without Demetrius Holloway, Maseratti, and White Boy Rick and the infamous Timothy Peoples, Crack and the Chambers brothers would never of happened. So in typical fashion we stepped back a little further in time and ended up on Dickerson Street, headed on up and over to the center of it all.

Demetrius Holloway lived near the Dickerson I-94 interchange Hampshire and Newport, (still is a drug corner as we rolled through) a mere mile and a half away from City Airport. His number (1) Maseratti Rick lived just 2 blocks away from the City Airport, where they could safely manage and receive a minimum of 2 direct flights/shipments from Panama every week, on the 2 separate private jets that they owned. Think about this, everyone must have been involved and on the take! Customs, the County, the City, the Feds, the Airport itself, the local Police, all of them every one of them, for this operation lasted for more than 12 years.

This area of the city was/is devastated to this day, still Held by the Dark Forces of Addiction. Dan saw this first hand as he saw Grandmas home and neighborhood, crumbled down the burning path of devastation and ruin, (pretty dark stuff, alight I get it, but if you saw the house it is a burned out-ruin). Okay some would question, why go to this place? Because it is an opportunity to feel good unto others and let the kids that were out see for themselves, something different, something fun, and something ok. At least for me that was the ‘conversation in my head’ as others who came along for the ride made it known they just wanted to “Get Going”!

It was a great ride other than that one Bermuda Triangle of strange streets. Everyone loosened up as soon as were across Gratiot, out of the bad section, onto to St. Cyril, Concord Street back across and right onto Palmer under the belly of the old Packard Plant we slid left onto Ferry and made our way back and in for a beer and conversation.

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

6/9/2011 Retro Bikes and Single Speeds

Last week’s down note for me was quickly turned over as I removed my cast Sunday night and started stretching my way back to riding again. Tonight’s ride was about old school bikes and old school fun. I broke out my recently restored Schwinn Traveler III and was excited to see who else and what else might join in on the fun theme tonight.

Val was not planning on it, but with much chiding she finally agreed join in with the group as we would be escorting two sisters from Hamtramck on the their first Bike Detroit ride. They were each sporting different versions of the 1960’s recently ‘Shang-Hide’ from Gramp and Grannies place! What we had standing in our midst, on all but deflated tires, was a Huffy 5 speed and 1old classic Schwinn in pea soup gold paint.

The ride was about our guests as we set out on a tour to show them all the things they wanted to see. The riverfront, the Dequindre cut, and a quick Pop-on- over, to see our Burly man friend/bar keep down at Andrew’s on the river. It was nice to ride with Val as she took the lead, we both had time to talk and to get to know each other further. My ankle was happy that the ride was a tour and reminded me once again in the morning, that we still had a journey to take…….

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

6/2/2011 Micro Breweries

I met the group down at Motor City around 5:00 p.m. as there could be no better a fitting place to begin. Sporting my new soft cast/surgical boot, hobbling in, this would be my first missed ride due to injury. There was/is no one better than Dan to lead a group through the city, in search of our own Brewing history.

Dan asked me to follow in the car and meet him/everyone there? I was not up for it and quickly said my goodbye and wished everyone a good journey. Dan commented later on how it had been fun, yet wished I was there, me too.

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

Thursday Night Ride 5/19/2011

Cooler temperatures and weird skys left me and Dan standing in the bottling room of MCB talking about our weeks and what we had been working on. We decided that with it being just us that we should keep it simple and head on down to the river and on over to Belle Isle for a good old fashion loop.
Stopping early on, just because, we made our way into ‘Andrews’ to see our good ole burly ABBA loving bartending friend. After a single round, High-life as it were, we were back up on our bikes, streaming on over to the Belle Isle bridge. Dan took the low road and I stayed up on the high side, peddling it with the sky, up over and down the bridge.

Once on the island we slowed down and talked some more, enjoying the glistening sun light and our fellow citizens out enjoying the beam as well. Cutting up the middle by the old Aquarium, we looped out towards the forest and back on to Outer Drive as we made our way back over the bridge.

We cut our way into and on through Easter Market and made our way back to the MCB parking lot. We said our goodbyes before we dismounted and both were off back to our homes and families in a blink of an eye.

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

Thursday Night Ride 5/12/2011 Trail Ride

With all of the rain I knew today’s ride was going to be a bit swampy. I came ready for mud. Amber and James joined me and Dan as we decided to experience the Palmer Park Trails in spite of the rain, or mud for that matter.

We left around 6pm and headed straight up 2nd st through the Wayne State Campus, on by the Fisher Fwy. and then straight again all the way into the Park. Passing by the fountain, Dan took the lead and was off with his ass shooting flames, lit on fire! I was out earlier in the day trying to find the driest route but with Dan now taking the lead that good plan quickly turned into Mud. With the Virgin Watershed being compromised by the early city engineers, water tends to become trapped out in the forest as it waits to be lapped up by the towering Oaks and Beech.

The first swamp pit was brutal, my 6’5″, 270 frame lumbered on through, forcing me to stretch down deeper into my lungs, looking for the fuel to stoke the fire, so that the Pistons could make it on through the forest glue. In the background, sounding like a P.A. announcement, the gem of Amber all of a sudden found her voice! “Come On”, “Are You Kidding ME” could be heard all of the way through the forest. Up front swamping, leading the slow moving train, I found myself smiling and laughing pretty hard ;-). Welcome to the Detroit waiting to be re-discovered.

With sweat pouring down upon my face I de-mounted on a dry trail island mid way through, gasping for more breath needed to carry me on the rest of the way. As we emerged on the other side of ‘Two-Log-Bridge’ out on the Asphalt boundary trail, we all started to realize that somehow or another the Forest magically gave us new stockings to wear. All the way up to our knees no less and for some all the way up to our helmets! Dark Brown Speckled Body Suits man we styling.

From there we headed East onto Woodward and left for the ½ mile sprint up to the ‘Stone House’. Once there on the porch we all kind of had to smile/chuckle for we all had returned to younger inner child state. Come on and let’s face it, who doesn’t like to play in some mud and get some sort of dirty? While sharing we learned of the ‘Elevated’ porch and second floor which had a pool table and a cool atmosphere.

With just one refreshment on down we were off again to explore the historic Palmer Woods Subdivision. Winding/touring on through we came out across from the seven mile Palmer Park Entrance and hit the side walk down to the pool parking lot. Just for good measure we turned back in for one more swamp run. Amber’s voice was ringing the forest bell once again and as we made it back down via Third Ave. to the place we started, she finished by saying, “Now I am going to have to wash my bike”!

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

Thursday Night Ride: 5/5/2011; Dive Bars

Jen is back in shape, training for her first triathlon. We decided to ride down along memory lane and then join the group for another ride. In all honesty, it has been three and a half years since we have been able to ride like team members once again. 58 Minutes, with lights and stops, once out of the forest at Palmer; we pushed with mash potato wind in our face. Freedom-Fun.

Catching our breath as we walked in through Motor cities door, we soon meet Amber, Stacey, and James who were there for the first time joining the ride and group. Amber reminded us what tonight’s theme was about Dive Bars as Dan and yours truly have been caught up in our work, neither had checked. Two minutes of brainstorming and we were off over Canfield looking for the Buchanan trial for our chug on West, off to the once real village of “Springwells” for our first dive into a Dive.

At the corner of Springwells and Longwood we landed. Two pyramids of Pabst carried by three, ‘Owners’ assurances on bikes be safe, we headed back to the patio and horse shoe pits, adjacent to the party patio tucked out of site back into the rear. Pictures, smiles, and good conversation, we were back in the saddle again, less than 30 minutes, making our way down to yet another village, the village of ‘Del-Ray’, (The same historic Village that will be destroyed if the new bridge gets built).

Back up on top Springwells, we all switched back underneath the railroad tracks, picked up speed downhill with a sweeping wide left spilled onto Jefferson Ave. a fluid stream .50 mile push and onto the side door entry, up to the ‘Locals’ entrance of Kovac’s cir. 1896. Closed! We hope not for good, never filled, always empty with limited beer selection and always with Charley, the one local who always sat at the corner for years, dispensing good conversation, enjoying the night with ‘Ma Kovac” as we often referred.

The next bright Idea was Donavan’s, Shannon’s dive bar on the other side of the new pedestrian bridge? Great, onto Jefferson around the corner, through Clark Park and the May 5th celebration in Mexican town, we slowly swayed up and over the bridge feeling good to the pedestrian with the right of way. A quick left and we landed into Shannon’s parking lot as we greeted him well lounging in his patio chair dispensing law and order with respects to parking in his lot. Dan said Margaritas and the next thing appeared a random pile placed on tables before us. Greeeaaattttt as Tony the Tiger would say.

45 minutes later we went down to the river walk, on by the Icy-Joe and kind of made our way back slow. Glad we landed back at Motor City when we did. Jen made mentioned that “it is getting kind of late, we can catch a ride with Val”? It did not take long for me to say, sure.

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

Thursday Night Ride: 4/21/2011

Hello to all! I wanted to start out by saying the past three rides have been major fun even knowing that there was not much turn out. Chris Frey and a few others came out to enjoy the rides which were for the most part explorative in nature. Today’s ride marks at least for me the real seasonal return of the Thursday Night rides as the group swelled to a total of 6 riders which include Jen and Val, making their warmer return out onto the Urban Trail.

Tonight’s ride was a first for me as well as I was afforded the opportunity to leave from our soon new office location on the East side and travel in via bike down the Goethe Trail as I made my way over to MCB. This street is the ultimate return path for it is like being in a pinball game. With the wind at my back, I flew and reacting low around corners having fun all the way over. With trail mapped out and map in hand, I wanted to check out the trail I was recommending the group take on its return ride as I would need to leave for a meeting at about midway.

Today’s Journey marked a classic return to the Tap Room Trail. A classic route, for sure one that we have taken and refined each season or year, always look forward to returning to the place that Dan met his true love Val. The way out was pretty much the same as we included the eastern most Park of the soon to be published Emerald Necklace trail, commonly known as ‘Algonquin Park’. We dipped in to show those who did not know that this was/is the best Park to put in your kayak or canoe out for a stint on the Detroit River!
With a quick glance at my phone, realizing the time I already knew had past, I had to leave the group there and zip over on Freud Street to make a mad dash right on up to our new office location so I could shower in the sink and change into better smelling and dry clothes.

I had received a report from Jen and Val both saying what a wonderful time they had as the gentlemen that accompanied the ladies would not let them pay one penny for anything! Jen even went as far as to say, “it was the best time she has had all year”! Thursday night rides rock.

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

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!