9/13/2012 ‘Delray, Springwells and Dearborn Ride’

Another great night and another great group! Tonight was a partial trip on the emerald necklace loop that we have been working on for the past year or so. Today we were off on our way to Jefferson via Clark Park. As we went west on Canfield we all stopped at 3rd Ave. as we were missing 3 members of the group? Jen, Val and one other came out a few minutes after we had left. Once all back together again Dan led us on his way over to Clark Park/Street and then down to Jefferson.

We pushed it a bit west on Jefferson passing by the old fort and after 7-8 blocks we turned right onto Green. Green takes you over I-75 without much to any car action. A quick left onto LaSalle, we headed west for a quick swizzle on Springwells under the rail road tracks so that we could turn on Rathbone, (wrong way again) and head on into the boundary of Woodmere Cemetery. Following the fence around north we entered into the left hand turn lane at Vernor and shot into the sidewalk ramp opening up the hill were an original stand of Oak trees still remain, high upon the bluff overlooking the stream. Cursing through a few groups of pedestrians it was a quick push down the un-altered virgin watershed topography out to the sidewalk that runs along the south side of Patton Park for a little urban trail like action. As we came around the Dix Ave. corner the group was a little split up so we waited and gathered all before we crossed over into Dearborn.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is a crosswalk and signs that well lead you into Lapeer Park and as we made our way across we could hear a Muslim call to nightly prayer, which I thought was wonderful. More praying vs. judging and what a world we would be! Lapeer park has a great asphalt trail and a huge hill for sledding or Mountain biking the choice is yours. I saw small kids on the front and a group of Teens on top so I passed. Dan and others sprinted up a flew down the other side. Darn it I thought to myself, I should have been with them! Cruising around the trail we eventually spilled out onto Eagle Ave and circled in front of Johnny’s place which much to my chagrin, is no more! Lucky for all one block away Solomie’s was open to receive and we went on in. Dan steered the group and the bikes back out into the patio area which I would rank as one of the best we have seen to on all of our trips.

From there we were back in the saddles and pushing our way to the bike path that runs the entire length of NW side of Patton Park. Swooping like a serpent I always imagine what this placed looked like back before the buried a branch of the Rouge river, which used to run right through the middle of the Park? Back then it must have been beautiful! Exiting onto Vernor we agreed to stick to the main route and boogie on back into Mexican town. Los Galanes has a great side terrace patio where we all stopped to eat and enjoy Margaritas along the way. I had my first flat in years and fumbled my way through the road side repair. from there it was back over the freeways and back to MCB for our parting goodbyes!

Bike Detroit! James A. Meyers bike explorer!

9/06/2102 ‘Grosse Pointe Run’

We had a great group show up tonight. Honest Jeff is always a treat to see, hear and talk to! Ready to go it was left on Canfield once again on our way over to the East side Yea! It is always fun flowing on by the Heidelberg project what a statement still to this day. We spilled out onto Jefferson via Hastings and instead of dipping down to Freud as usual, Dan’s lead made the call east on Jefferson, full speed ahead and damn the traffic! A mile or so later we turned left onto Grey past the old Lincoln Motor Company on our way to Kercheval for a trip on over to Texas.

Gary had lived in around this area most of his life and never noticed the Texas bar? Typically you have to be Buzzed into this place but tonight a greeter open the door for us and invited all of us, bikes included on in. This place is huge and great. Amber picked some great tunes and the place really started pumping. Big Mike, James, Dan and me made our way back into the ‘Bachelor Party Room Area” and went on and on imagining about what might have gone on in here! From there Gary made the call out to the group that we should all travel over to his place so that the group could take in of, “Jim’s Award Winning Gardens”? Everyone was interested so away we went! Crossing over Jefferson onto Pemberton street we soon found ourselves at Gary’s place. Bikes stranded all around it was quite a site. I am sure his neighbors have not seen before nor since. Genuinely it seemed that everyone enjoyed the gardens and ponds. Dan found his favorite bench back behind the ornamental Pear tree, while Gary opened up his beautiful house and toured many of the group through his miniature museum of art, sculpture, books and fine taste.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We all saddled up and made our way to the tap room which is probably a Beer lovers best chance at Nirvana this side of the Pacific. Everyone got into the Spirits of things and before we knew it, everyone was trying something different where as me and Duvall took a trip to Belgium. The way home was one of my Favorites Goethe street. All the way home we enjoyed the magnificent silence of man and instead enjoyed a concert of natures colorful evening serenade, becoming the ear phones of our experience. A quick s turn through Eastern Market and we soon found ourselves back to MCB and on our way home.

Bike Detroit! James A. Meyers bike explorer!

8/30/2012 ‘Dive Bar Ride’

It really seems like all of us enjoy dive bars. What can you say, there is something dirty, gritty and interesting about old dilapidated places filled with History and Attitude. The first round was over with the lady’s being the winners. They always seem to be a little bit behind when it comes to leaving on time as tonight would be no different! We turned left onto Canfield and headed out one of our favorite ways west on Buchanan street for tonight’s first stop, The ‘Freer Bar’ out on the fringes of Michigan Ave.

As we headed out west I made it up a bit and trusted my feelings as a guide to our destination. As we turned right on Freer heading North to Michigan Ave we came across/almost drove my bike right on into the Corner Pocket Lounge. You won’t find it on Google if you search bars of Detroit and up till now none of us knew of its existence. Real nice owners greeted us on in and out to the great patio were bikes and babes lounged-inn. Yup, next move was for PBR’s then good talk and an even better pool game in which Dan was beaten soundly by Val! Go girrrlll. People were a little disappointed that this place didn’t have the gritty dirt which some seem to enjoy more than others. The owner said we should just past right on by the Freer Bar on our way out, because the place could be a little ruff and sometimes people fight. When Dan and me first discovered this place an old biker called me names and challenged me to a fight? The girls voted to pass and we did just that on our bikes, heading north over I-94 on Cecil Avenue.

We bombed up Cecil, swizzled around a bit, making our way north onto Tireman for a quick sprint to the magnificent English Tudor revival once Masonic ‘Gate House’ situated in the NW corner of Grand Boulevard and Grand River. Tucked away behind the Greenery is a mansion that looks like it belongs in Grosse Pointe or Bloomfield hills. It reminds me of the Wabeek Mansion the once James Couzens Estate. The 6 pointes star chimneys are a spot on match. I wondered again if this too was Khans’ work? Grand Boulevard is always fun we slowed and stopped for a moment in front of the Mowtown Museum, for which many including myself have never been? Then a classic turn left on Second on upto Owen Street.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With our right turn onto Owen all entered on into a fractional pocket of an old Neighborhood that is nestled in-between Oakland Ave and I-75. If you look closely on a map you can see 2-3 of the streets west of 75 are actually in the city of Hamtramck and not Detroit. With a right onto Caniff we were up and over the Freeway heading east to Brombach Street. A right and left wrong way (I really hate when this happens but none of us had ever been…..),onto Yemans. We soon found ourselves at the Whiskey Jar. But before our tail takes you there I would be remiss if I did not make mention, actually how many people were out with their family’s on the porches, sidewalks/streets, all friendly saying Hi as we came and passed. I think good community lives here. It seemed to me that all races and religions have abandoned judgment and found the same page of harmony in Hamtramck. I wish the middle east could do the same.

We locked the bikes out front and strode into the local Polish Dive Bar with attitude. Instantly I liked this place. Big guys eyes upon us searching for what we might have brought in with us? Nothing but a thirst for PBR”s from our 9 mile run. Outside we went and settled into a cool side patio area picnic table place where we all relaxed. 50 different discussions ensued, I think a may have joined in on a few but was more interested in Beer and Breathing this time.

Saddling up for our next dash down Lumpkin Street thanks to Dan we finally made our way onto Russell. It was Russell that at night, is wide open and we all flew on into like a Comet to the Comet Bar. This was supposed to be a reel Highlight on the highlight reel created in My mind from memories, but as we walked in the place it was completely changed from what I remembered. Asking why? The bar keep informed of the owner exchange four years ago and the once great, ‘Vietnam influenced carnival lit dusty dive attraction had been paneled into a place that serves all kinds of Pie! Cool not a Dive at all. Well needless to say everyone Dug in. Including Gary who seemed to enjoy having his nose into some delicious pie once again. Then there is always the sprint back up to Motor City Brewery, I mean it really wouldn’t be a bike ride without that last leg.

Bike Detroit! James A. Meyers bike explorer

8/23/2012 ‘Old Redford Run’

Tonight’s ride started off with a good group of 12 riders as we were joined by 2 new bright smiley faces! We headed out once again to explore a new way to our midway/turnaround destination going down a couple of streets that none of us had ever seen/been before. If you just take a minute to look at the map you can always chart a way to your destination in Detroit on the path least traveled. For me this is a big part of why we ride in the city and take the time to share our adventures. Today we would spend many a mile on Midland Street and getting there was fun!

Heading on up LaSalle blvd. once again we made a quick jog out onto Linwood for a couple of blocks north and then turned left onto Midland. Just the first street past north of the Lodge freeway. From there we headed west and received many a hello and cheers from numerous kids and families who probably have never seen a group like ours rolling through their streets before! With a brief Jog out and over onto Puritan we made our way back down to Midland and continued on with our journey West.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Three more miles and we did the Puritan Jog over and around again and soon found ourselves magnificently immersed in the Rosedale Subdivision enjoying our travels down Gainsborough and Lancashire streets. We all slowed down to take in the view. The group enjoyed the masterful artistic homes of expression. As magnificent and diverse in style as the inhabitants of our great city! in a word Beautiful! With a quick left and right we found ourselves out on Grandriver crossing over Evergreen on way to our first stop of the evening.

The Blackberry Inn where, “the Blacker the Berry the sweeter the juice”, I completely agree! Growing blackberry’s in our garden at home confirmed their assertion/marketing ploy! Although I must say the outfit the model was wearing on the advertisement looked better than berry’s on the cane any day of the week! The ladies that served us were Beautiful and super friendly. Then there was the fried food, The chicken was amazing! Forget Popeye’s, Churches and KFC! If you want the best in fried food, served by Berry Juice Beautiful accommodating waitresses, then this is your place to be! Ditch the conversation in your head and head on out for a great time.

As we gathered in the parking lot to assemble for the return ride home we all became fascinated by a magnificent praying mantis who seemed to be having a love affair with a couple of tires on a parked Grand-am that was a few spaces away. What a cool site in the middle of a city. We all were off and apart from a chain falling off Michael’s bike we all enjoyed the straight shot back to MCB along one of the original spokes/wagon trails of yesterday.

Bike Detroit! James A. Meyers bike explorer

8/16/2012 Impromptu

Tonight’s ride was not on the schedule and more about the core group of riders who always show than some great destination or adventure. Amber suggested we stop by and see her friend’s new place on Murland then make our way up to the Stone House and Dutch Girl Doughnuts? Okay by me and the group’s voice became one we were off.

Second left and on over to LaSalle gardens, up LaSalle Boulevard then out to Linwood and across the lodge. We found this beautiful house in the University district as it is locally known and we all took a moment of breath and let Amber and James check-er out and snap a few pictures. From there we made our way once again through beautiful Palmer Park then out to Woodward and onto the Stone House.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The ex-cop-bar-keep was in his typically friendly mood as he served burgers and shots to the ladies as Dan and Big Mike and I enjoyed our time out on the front patio. James joined us outside too as his smile and enthusiasm is always contagious. Libations down it were time for a brief sprint over to the Dutch Girl Doughnut Shop. Man did we have fun at this place! I typically try not to eat crappy junk foods but when it is this good how can you say no? We first had Doughnuts, then cookies then some more doughnuts for good measure! FUN

We saddled back up and crossed over Woodward at 7 mile as Dan lead us into and on through the inner park. Please go here if you have never been. The trees and the sounds of nature at night in Palmer Park are simply incredible! Dan charted us through and out onto Third Ave where the Tri-Athletes Jen and Julia made their break and within a few minutes two of the hottest chicks were nowhere to be seen!

Of course when the group made it back to MCB the ladies were ‘Carbing-up’ as all I could do was smile and thank the heavens for sending me such a lady in Jen.

Bike Detroit! James A. Meyers bike explorer

8/2/2012 Down River Run

Tonight’s ride was more about rolling and exercise than History or Nature for that matter. Tonight’s goal was to make it to the Speed Boat In down in Ecorse. It is kind of a funny little place known for its Friday Night Fish fry but what I like most about it is the old wooden cigarette boat sticking 1/2 out of the roof. Interesting sight.

Big Mike and his Blonde beauty Lisa made it down tonight and we decided to head across the pedestrian bridge and into Mexican town as a way to begin the ride. When we made it to Clark Park instead of taking the short way round I ditched to the North and rode into the Historic Park that I never really had been into before. The old buildings and architecture harkens back to the time of Detroit’s greatness from the early to the late 1920’s. We all stopped at the cool Clark Park Sign as Amber made the “photo call” and we all responded like condition Pavlovian Dogs. On the way over to the sign big Mike, with all of the torque his old Hockey legs can still generate, snapped one of his peddles off his bike. Yep it came off and Mike was sunk and out of the game. Try as we might we could not make it work and Mike and Lisa headed back to MCB while the rest of us made a mad dash down river.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chris Frey was running late but somehow found us down on Jefferson as Dave’s flat tire gave him a good chance to catch up. As we all became as one group and mounted up and made our way back out onto Jefferson and took off for the last mile down to the Speed Boat Inn. In all of the excitement no one noticed that Chris was not with us? He got a flat too! Just after we had our first round of refreshments out on the patio Chris came rolling up and as soon as he walked in, somebody handed that man a Beer!

Our stay at the Speed Boat was brief, as we soon found ourselves back up in the saddles and on our way to Donavan’s just outside of Mexican town kind of situated between the old rail road station and the new pedestrian bridge overpass on 96. Shannon was there to greet us and with a few cheers we said our goodbyes and made it back to MCB without incident.

Bike Detroit to Downriver! James A. Meyers bike explorer

7/26/2012 Mountain Bike the Rouge Water Shed

It has been awhile since my last Blog entry so I will do my best to give you an idea about the fun we had this evening even though it was a month ago this ride took place. Gary Turla joined us tonight as all of the typical Beautiful ladies that come with us where nowhere to be found as this was going to be one heck of a ride. Tonight’s ride was 35 miles plus and was scheduled to take people along a partial section of the Emerald Necklace route that runs in concert with the Rouge river on the cities far west side. Gary was apprehensive at first learning how far the ride was scheduled for but we convinced him to come anyways.

Off we went on Canfield heading west to Grand river where we would make the turn right and head up to old Redford where the trail begins. Traveling smack into a strong westerly breeze after about 6-7 miles Gary stopped and said he was going to turn around? We stopped too and told him, “then we are all going with you as the group never breaks up”. Chris Frey was most supportive and what was decided next is that Gary would lead the group so we would all be traveling at his pace.

Slicing through Rosedale Park North we charted our way over to Margareta making our way across Lahser we found ourselves back on the Emerald Trail. Just behind Billy Rogell golf course you will find some amazing home’s, virgin watershed topography dotted with Virgin Oaks, ahhhhh the way it is supposed to be. The group was surprised by the beauty and the up and downs of the winding road. Crossing Grand River then 6 mile on Beaverton we snaked with the river until we found ourselves at the now closed corner of Riverdale and Dehner. The abandoned park returning back to nature Dan pulled out some fresh Brews he brought with him on his bike and we all enjoyed the fresh suds as we tried to catch up with our breath. Everyone there was amazed that THIS IS DETROIT.

With a quick up hill and around we found ourselves on the gravel service trail that runs between 5 and 6 mile. Too bad illegal dumping is taking place as the short-cutting fools efforts were blocking our path. Across Five mile into Eliza Howell park we took the group across the pedestrian bridge over the river stopping for a minute to enjoy the view. Up the east side banks on through the virgin trees all were amazed that THIS IS DETROIT. It is like an undiscovered country in so much as nature can be found unadulterated, still in its original splendor.

As we came up and out into a neighborhood some local kids were taken aback by the sight before them. We encouraged them to check out the trails and although they live right next to them they had never traveled in? Much to our surprise they turned and walked right in. At this point Gary was pooped so we ditched the trail and turned back east to start our trek home. Along the way the rain finally showed up as we made a break for shelter under a awning at a marathon gas station. All joined in and purchased gator aid and snacks as we enjoyed the food the vibe started to change from judgment and tensions to smiles and hellos. The kids in the SUV filling up nearby made it easy. Act like a kid and be a kid!

Bike Detroit! James A. Meyers bike explorer

7/16-23/2012 A Week Spent Riding

With the Holidays behind us we once again headed north to Mackinac Island to spend a week saying Hi to Horse’s with our wonderful kids. In a world without cars there simply may be no better place to relax. No need to look for a car blowing an intersection. The only thing you have to swerve to avoid is the piles of horse poop. From great mountain bike trails, to the inner bike paths all the way out to the circle tour the place simply feels like no other we have visited.

Bike Mackinac Island! J. Meyers bike explorer.

6/21/2011 Inner Park Loop

Tonight’s ride was going to be a tour around our proposed ‘Inner Emerald Necklace’ route that connects 22 parks together on the street less traveled. Angie was ‘Up’ for it but others were not. Bending towards the strong influence of the group we altered our plan and decided a trip down the Detroit River was a good idea. I would like to take a moment here and step towards the direction of please read up on the type of ride prior to coming out and along. Seeing the path that was out before us I decided with some delight, to head on down to River Rouge to ‘Belanger Park’, the City’s finest Park that the good ole stubborn Dr. himself left it behind for all of us to enjoy.

We slide on down and picked up the trail along the river at Riverside Park, over rail road and service trails we made our way by Fort Wayne and knocked but could not come in? From there over the Rouge at ‘Bat Man’ bridge we cut hard left and found ourselves cruising in on East Anchor Street, determined to stay on the back alley trail as much as possible. With a left and spun around right we turned left on Belanger Park Road. Slicing through Industrial Buildings ‘Fortress of Boom’, Banging, Clanging, Stamping….. We feel out of the stinky industrial tunnel and emerged through the green gates/park entry and felt better when we arrived down at the water. It is an amazing site, vistas unlike any along the Detroit River walk. While we were there we saw a Tug Boat come to the rescue of a wayward freight liner spun sideways in the current trying to ‘Back-Into’ the Canadian Port.

We found our way into the Rouge Bar on East Rockwood Street. We headed out to the back deck to take in the Sun. While we were their staring back at the oil refinery the sunlight hit the structure in such a way it turned the white faced into Golden spheres and towering spires. Some saw the ‘Taj-mahal’ while others imagined ‘practical earthly parts’! It was a strong sprint back from there as Amber got hung up with a peddle issue Dan lead the others back to Cork town. We caught up with the attack near Ft Wayne as Dave looped back to see what was taking us, good man that Dave! Amber jumped 6″ off my wheel and we cut the wind all of the way back to the main group.

As we stopped in Cork town it was time for Michael to say good bye. He rode down from Ferndale earlier in the afternoon and figured it was time to get going back. He gets the award for best rider this week. After brief stop @ Cici’s we mounted back up and made it back to MCB sometime after 11, I was thinking maybe I should have left with Mike?

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

Pimp Your Bike Ride: 06/07/2012

Okay, big Mike wanted this themed ride that he made suggestion for during our annual meeting on January 31st. Nobody came pimped out, although I had a Ace of Clubs card in my spokes when I left Lathrup village to ride down. Needless to say the Ace of Clubs card didn’t make the trip. As I rolled into the parking lot I was happy to see James and Amber’s car with bikes in tow. I was hoping tonight’s ride would be filled with more new people, all of which we have thoroughly enjoyed meeting. Dave’s wry smile and good sense of direction is always welcome! All told 12 people came out on the ride and none of them were shy about stepping on the peddles and I mean stepping on them hard!

Michael and John joined in with the fun as Michael had once again rode down from Ferndale on his vintage classic 820 hard tail trek, recently renewed by a master bike tech. Since nobody was big NYC Pimping we decided to do an east side run out to Algonquin Park via Heidelberg and Vernor Hwy. Dropping down to Jefferson at the once famed water works garden grand limestone entry we headed a few blocks east and turned down Marquette on our way to Freud so that all of us could be psychoanalyzed about our OCD approach to bike riding. Sigmund couldn’t be found but Algonquin Park was.

Sliding into the park on the Asphalt pedestrian trail we all pumped it on up to overlook hill so that we could take in the view mouth/gateway to the Detroit River. What a beautiful site, the sail boats, the cool water, Belle Isle, Bay View cocktail dresses in party along with the lovely ladies of tonight’s ride, a glimpse of Heaven! After a few minutes of deep breathing, stretching, smiling, realizing, and photo pics taking it all in we mounted back up and rolled fast down the hill, across the footbridge onto the small island attached to the park by way of asphalt trail. From there it was a kerb hop down and another kerb hop up and we set out to cross the vast field on a single track that was barely visible. I could have sworn I heard some belly aching back round but the exhaust pressure of my own deep breath drowned out the perceived complaints. Turning right cutting through the old Gar Woods Property we soon found ourselves back again on Freud as we then made our way over to Marshalls.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Yup you guessed it what would a Bike Detroit ride be without dive bars and PBR’s? Marshalls sits right at the foot of the Conner Creek water shed as it finally opens up to the air once again, smiling up at the sky as it slowly return to the sea from whence it came. Hard to imagine the city engineers captured and buried this once watershed all the way from Palmer Park, sad but true and yet here it is. Needless to say the peeps at Marshalls were a little bit surprised by the colorful bike riders that had converged on their ‘Local’ place, but the lovely Bar Keep remembered us from last year and sooner than you could take your helmet off 12 PBR’s were brought up counter side. Many of the group went out the back door to take in the unique historic sight of the late 1800’s architecture, which included hand hewn wood beams for span and support of the back concrete patio. I thought to myself why not take the fences down and build a couple of steps so that Kayaks and Canoes could head up through the canals and stop in for a beer?

With a good 20 minutes spent it was a quick sprint on through Grosse Pointe Park where then we made our way to Ye Old Taproom. Peanut shells flying and John with 4 pitchers of beer we laughed and mowed our way on through it all except that last assorted picture of heavy dark beer. Somehow that stuff is hard to stomach wile out on the ride. With the shadow of twilight falling down on the sidewalk, we looked out and decided it was time to get headed on back. Jen opened up and shared and it was then I decided to take the group down Charlevoix along the same route I had just experienced a few days earlier. As we mounted up Honest Jeff showed up with his good Pal and Dan and I both questioned why we did not swing on By HJ’s before heading east?

Down to Jefferson back around and on up to Charlevoix and yes everyone enjoyed the relaxed beauty of the open lanes and the historic Homes. I think what they like most was the absence of any cars coupled with the sounds of the living meadows as block after block nature sung her songs. Past Grand Blvd. the call went out for an ‘Andrews’ stop, so of course we did. From there up through Eastern Market once again and onto Cass Ave. Shortly after the right turn, once again looking for my breath, Jen rolled up and said, “left at Canfield right”? With my weak yes her, Amber and James came bye like a freight train coming down hill, whoosh and before I knew it they were two blocks ahead. I looked deep within and after all of the attach sprints I led from earlier I did not think I had anything left to give. Knowing this I jumped up out of the saddle and spun as fast as I could. As the group hesitated at the light at Canfield I caught them, James was wise, and I think he saw me coming? He stepped too and was breathing hard down on my neck as I boxed out the inner line and made it back to MCB ahead of Jen and her sprinting group. As I walked stiff legged all the next day I decided next time they win!

Bike Detroit! James Meyers bike explorer