Dive Bar Tour 05/10/2012

Tonight’s ride was really about the group more than anything else. The two of the three dive bars we made it to will leave a lasting impression on all who ventured out with us. Missing form tonight’s ride was Dan and Val as well as John and Michael, the 4 of them sure did have a positive influence on our last sojourn and hopefully they will be back out with us next week. New to the group was Rick and Amy, Lisa and Scuba ‘motor city brew tours’ Steve made their long awaited return as it has been about a year since they last ventured out with us. Rick was kind enough to map the ride so that people can see the route and more over the circle tour we took around LaSalle Garden Park. Everyone agrees this place is magical and the collection of Architectural Styles is nothing short of Amazing!

Our first stop was quite a haul out to the northwest. Toms Tavern (7 and Wyoming) first opened 4 years before prohibition began. Gus the old Greek’s pictures still adorn the walls as a portrait of the infamous Bill Bonds hangs nearby. Billy boy had a wry smile as he was leaning into a beautiful Blonde many, many moons ago. This place is as old school as it gets. It may very well be the greatest dive Bar in the entire City. If it was up to me it would willing get my vote! The shop keep was startled at first with the some 14+ bikes we asked to bring in? Control freak statements made by both, we streamed them or shall I say, piled them into a corner and ordered a full round of PBR’s for the entire group. If it is not Motor City Brew Works beer then make it a Miller or PBR. There is a spot in the floor near the corner of the bar entry that has settled some -18-22″. That’s right a real dive in no uncertain terms. We think it is the ultimate test to see if one had too much to drink? If you have, you may very well be on your way down, quite literally. My main man James pulled a wheelie as he came through the door opening and with fond fare-thee-wells; we headed out east to find the long since buried Conner Creek Watershed Trail.

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A quick dip south and a left on Clarita we headed east on thru the University district, on up to 7 mile where we made our way through the Palmer Park central trail once again. Snaking around the northern most tennis court we cut across Woodward and onto Nevada Street. Next we heard the roar of a south bound train, then a Whoosh as James sprinted on by, doing his own version of beat the train! He chose wisely, (Indian Jones Last Crusade) and waited for the rest of the group but he swears he could have made it? (Dirty Mary/Crazy Larry) comes to mind. Although my eyes are getting on in age, it looked like a potential ‘T’-bone to me. Waiting on the train big Mike found the opportunity he needed to adjust his seat and with the train gone by we crossed I-75 on East into the old farmland beds that used to follow the Conner Creek watershed trail out from Palmer Park.

Realistically Nevada does not feel particularly good in-between Woodward and old Mt. Elliot, but as a group the Bubble of good intent has a strange and powerful effect on those who perhaps are a wee bit disconnected from the stream? It was Dark as night fall when we all finally arrived at the Two Way Inn. This is the oldest Bar in Detroit, in good working order, not really a dive. For History’s sake we thought it best to include it on tonight’s run. Rick and I spoke about how he was “feeling it a bit” and the group decided to head on back to the Brewery as it was getting near 10:00 p.m. The Comet ride down to the Comet Bar would have to wait until another night. Perhaps we will include it on the return from the Tap Room trail in the near future.

As we all left and headed our way down to Caniff, Brazilian Butt, Jen and the young Bucks Drew and his Pal could not hold back any longer they were gone! 20 something young men chasing hot 30ish tail, sounds about right to me! Out of sight and wonderfully out of their minds, deep down into their lungs looking for Air. Man some of the riders can really fly! By the time the rest of us made it down John R and back to Motor City Brewery they had their beers half way finished and their Pizza’s sitting hot on their plates. Good sprint! Again my special thanks to Amber our group’s unofficial photographer. What her eyes see is truly a beautiful sight and hopefully will be an inspiration to those of you who wish to ride with the group someday. James is a Lucky Man to have found his own tower of Pisa.

Bike Detroit! James Meyers, bike explorer

From Ken, one of our riders: I just wanted to say, thank you VERY MUCH for a great time last night. Granted I wasn’t expecting such a ride, but I feel great today… (a little sore) but I want to say thanks for the guidance, and words of advice to keep me pedaling. 🙂

If you’re interested… this is what my phone documented as far as the path we took… it might be off a little bit because it wasn’t keeping constant GPS signal… but still quite a map.

Hope to see you soon!

Southwest Run? 05/3/2012

Tonight’s ride had good anticipation as Amber posted on our Facebook page that her and James were coming down for some Carbs prior to the ride and had asked if we would be joining them? Running a bit late Jen and I relaxed on in as she was excited to see Val and I was excited to see the new Bottling line fresh in from Italy. We all enjoyed talking and sharing as the group assembled. Upstairs I looked out on the open deck and saw Craig Vick out there already enjoying a good conversation with Amber and James. I thought for a minute about ‘Group’? Tonight’s ride was filled with people who had never met nor had been on a ride before. A Doctor, Overseas purchaser, Architect, Artist, Brewers, Salesmen and House wives all assembled. By the end of tonight’s ride it was like we were all old friends. Kids again playing free!

As we swung out of HJ’s parking lot a heavy west wind hit us all firmly in the face. It would have been a hell of a slug out going west against the 25 mph breeze so we put it to the group to ‘Tact’ the wind like we were sailing, north then south. A cry for the ‘Stone House’ went out and we shot north for the first of many sprints. Ms. ‘Brazilian Butt’ on her new composite road bike caught up with me north of Wayne state Campus and she said that I rode pretty fast and her words “let’s go” came next. I did just that I let her go and kept the group in eyesight, her in front the rest in back. In the middle of the bubble as it were. Back and forth, one attack after another we were all pushing hard, Dan flew by then Jen, than John, back and forth we all of the way north of Mc Nichols. Dan sprinted up and said let’s take John by the Orchard that him and Dan donated. Funny thing was John had not been up to the Park since we started all those years ago. I took the group through the Historic Apartment district then turned right on Hamilton so John could see what he had helped create. To the tip and then right around we headed back down, entered into the park near the mounted Police building. I saw my favorite friend ‘Elmo’ and had to say Hi. Next we took people by the composting operation currently underway then on into the woods via the Asphalt trail.

In less than 20 yards in you are quite literally in another world. People are always amazed at the sudden magnificent change that occurs when you step foot or pedal into a Virgin Forest. With one fallen log laying in the way the mountain bikers hopped over where as Ms. Brazilian Butt had to unclip and walk on over, I think she bitched just a little bit. May this be fair warning to all that please come out and join us; we recommend an urban cross over or Mountain bike for our rides. Charting our way north we all scrambled a bit as we made our way through the 12th precinct parking lot on over 7 mile and on into Palmer Woods. John or James, maybe both asked if I could take the group by the ‘Big Houses’. First we rode by the last standing Fisher Brothers mansions then North to see the rest. Along the way we said hi to Barbara Barefield who was out visiting neighbors. Winding our way through, slowing down to take in the trees and the architectural magnificent we finally found our way out to Woodward and with a quick hairpin we soon found ourselves on Ralston sliding on in to the Stone House once again.

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A group of Vespa rider’s (mods) bikes were first to greet us while the larger leather clad Harley’s, (rockers) grouped just north set the tone for what we would be experiencing next. As I strode up the steps first one of the Harley riders said, “We are not going to have any trouble with your gang are we”? I said 2)-Two wheels right as I made the peace sign with my right hand? He said come on in. We made our way past the groups crowded on the famous front porch taking in the Sun and headed in for 3-4 pitchers of beer. The sprinting all the way north had us thirsty and ready for Carbs! (See the pictures). After a good 30 minutes of relaxing and fun the sky north started to turn dark cloud grey. James had the weather chart on his phone saying that a tail whip would be coming in for us shortly. The wind started to swirl and we took it as a sign from above that we should go. Val said lets Hamtramck it on over to the Pink Lady. Sounded like a great idea to me.

We headed wrong way south for a block so we could turn left and head right way east on over to the north south connector that would bring us to Nevada street. Jen and the Brazilian Butt girl blew by me taking away about the triathlon she was getting ready for, (damn hot chick in shape runners, I thought to myself) I practice my middle bubble justification again and simply watched them soar on bye! Needless to say, I did not mind the fleeting view! As we turned right on Joseph Campeau I looked back to see Johns brother Michael falling a bit behind. He had already ridden down earlier from Ferndale and given his old school steel bike, he was perhaps feeling a bit winded. Circling back we talked briefly about bike upgrades as we followed the ‘Hot Chicks’ to the Pink Lady. Back in the 90’s it was called something else as I remember standing like a smelly sardine in an over packed can to watch Buck Cherry sing on about some crazy bitch. Once again the Bar keep said bring um on in as we asked if we could. To coin another musical group phrase we tried, ‘Riding the storm out’ as REO Speed wagon once put it. But after a few pitchers more and James’s ever present radar phone app., we decided we could wait no longer.

John kept going out to check and see and with a brief pause we mounted up and made ourselves ready to embrace whatever Mother Nature aka the ‘Holy Spirit/Shekinah’ had in store. The sky crackled then unzipped and what came down was a bit more than the heavenly flow quite literally it was the heavenly stream! I was sure glad I wore my waterproof sandals, waterproof yah right, maybe the straps but the rest of me including my underwear file dup like water balloons all ready for the fight. We all sprinted through the flooding, swelling, clogged drains that always seem not to work just when they might really be needed. Okay I will admit it, I did not practice group so good from the Pink Lady all the way to MCB. I sprinted all the way back. I trusted that 3-4 of the others new the way back home. When we all got there cold and wet Dan brought out a skimpy mid-drift cut MCB shirt for Ms. Brazilian Butt. Val said what about me? Dan came back with one for each of the ladies. Cold thermometers Val call out- noticed what happen next was an impromptu photo shoot as all of the ‘Motor City Brewing Girls’ worked it for the Camera. Man what a Sight!

Bike Detroit! James Meyers bike explorer

Middle Emerald Necklace Park loop Tour 04/19/2012

The winds of seasonal change were up and running again and with sunny clear skies predicted this time we were ready for whatever the chill of darkness would bring. Big Mike made time to come on down and join us as we were presently surprised by ‘Honest Jeff’ who came on over from HJ’s. He was stoked and ready in a ‘Specialized’ kind of way. We were all ready for the next great mountain bike adventure. Tonight’s ride was a 32-35 miler scheduled to travel into and through 28 different Parks.

Mike started to Belly ache when he first learned of the proposed distance for tonight’s ride. The words, ‘Heavy Pull’ came whimpering out of his mouth. A word usually associated with describing a female Cat came to mind? Instead I chose silence as Jeff took the stage and said he was ready for it! Blasting canfield to Buchanon west once again we were on our way with map in hand as it would be stuck to my handle bar and consulted often. Crossing over I-94 on Warren we made a quick turn down McGraw and hit three parks right in a row! North bound on Braden Street we entered into Park #8. A quick left onto Kirkwood we headed west to Lanyo then North on into Dearborn traveling down the hidden Mountain bike trail that runs parallel to the Rail road track dumping us out on Wyoming. North across Warren we turned left on Morross St. and headed on up and over to ‘X’ marks the spot. This park is slated as a potential spot for an Urban Farm Hub. ! of the 5 that we feel has a strong enough viable local residential community who might enjoy riding or walking on over to support the park system. In a world without cars, then what? The neighborhood is comprised of the intersection of Esper and Littlefield Blvd. The Masonic Mark and homes that Anchor each corner are unmistakable.

There are 3) ‘X’ mark the spots or in François De-troit. The second visible ‘X’ can be founded northwest in Redford Twp. Fordson Hwy and Plymouth road. The third ‘X’ is hidden but if you trace out the 45 degree alignments it will guide you through the center of U of D Mercy and hit the mark where Mr. Palmers father in laws Log Cabin would have been. Okay back to the ride. Through Anthony Park we turned right on Mark Twain and in through park #11 heading Northwest. Northwest turn through park #12 we turned west on Westfield and made our way to Stopel Park #2, which for us was #13. As luck would have it only two blocks away we were all pushing fast and hard. Westfield eastbound is about 4″ higher than the west bound at the center line crack. Jeff was drifting to his left and did not see the split. He went down hard like someone had tackled him? I stopped dead in my tracks in disbelief? Bloody knee dripping, yet saying he was ready to go, we finished the 2 block jaunt over to Stopel, hopped the kerb and set our bikes up against a virgin oak tree. Dan shared with the group about the proposed ROI urban Farm orchard that had been submitted a few years back. We hope another uncovered and polished Jewel in our proposed emerald necklace. Yet another ROI park initiative expressed as a way to pay for the upkeep and improvements for the park, for the good of everybody.

We ditched on the trail further west and decided to head straight north through Oshea Field crossing over the great I-96 pedestrian bridge we arrived on the ‘Other’ side and stopped to ask Jeff what we should do next? The truth of it was that every time Jeff bent his knee the blood started up once again. The call was to turn right onto Fullerton and head everyone back east along the old Massey Ferguson industrial road. A few miles east we turned right onto Grand river and started slapping the peddles hard all the way back to Midtown. Try as we may we did not find one single bar or watering hole open the entire length down. Grand River is DEAD! 8 miles of waste land. Not at all like it used to be when the Olympia stood its ground.

We all decided to head on over to the Woodbridge Pub to enjoy some fresh Apps and some healthy discussion about People for Palmer Park. Jeff seemed caught in the middle of a good heartfelt sometimes heated discussion but given his gentle demeanor he really did not mine that Dan and I were hogging the show. From there it was back to MCB for one more than back on home to our families.

Bike Detroit! James Meyers bike explorer