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

Home Commute: 06/05/2012

The simple fact of the matter is that it is not hard to lose your focus and balance when you choose to immerse yourself in your carrier/profession. Every year about this time I find myself looking into the mirror and asking myself when will I choose a different path and allow for balance to return. This morning, I loaded my bike and took it to work with me as I was hell bent on getting on the bike and riding home from Grosse Pointe via Downtown then north out to Lathrup Village.

Whenever I am out alone riding through the city I always hit the exploration button, to get off the auto route and see yet another part of the city. Today was no different. For those of you that ride from the east side down to the city only a few choices of passage can get you there. To the south of Jefferson you have Freud, and then Jefferson or you can choose to head all the way up to Mack. For me today it was Jefferson.

Bombing right with the wind at my back I imagined myself flying in the air like a kite flaps full of wind. Flowing/sweeping through construction barricades and chin music cars letting me know that they were bigger than me, my tension melted away and a smile finally made it way back to graffiti joy on my face. Just past St. Jean I made a quick right onto Beniteau then a quick left on Charlevoix. If you have never been this way please make time to do so. Another one way 3-4 lane historic stream is waiting for you to explore! This was a first time for me and well worth it. As I approached the Gratiot twist as I like to call it I turned north onto Mt Elliot and then left on Canfield for a Quick stop/hello to all of my friends at MCB.

After liquid hellos I mounted up again riding through Wayne State on by the Fisher on into Palmer Park. At the corner of Pontchartrain and Merrill Plaisance I saw Mr. Eric Sabree down at the South-west corner of the Orchard that did not suit his interest. I chose to turn left this time instead of heading on through the Park as I always do. I rode on down and turned around to say Hello neighbor with all of the Compassion I could summon and muster. From there north through Ferndale, west through Oak Park and back home where the trilogy of youthful exuberance came crashing out the back door to welcome me home.

Bike Detroit! James Meyers bike explorer

City Loop Circa 1909 Run: 05/24/2012

Well we all started getting in to MCB just after 5p.m., Amber and a new friend were in, Andrew and his Pal form Western, then Honest Jeff and two of his Pals showed and the group started to feel even better. Tonight’s ride was retracing our History as in the history of 1909. Not many are aware that the city of Detroit was limited only to Grand Blvd way back when. Hind sight being what it is I wonder now if it really was a good idea to expand and expand and expand out into Greenfield Township, turning all of the once pristine farm land, into the sprawling city residential. Why don’t we ask Highland Park what they think? OK let’s let others decide on this one and get back to the action and fun.

Since Honest Jeff was already in the house with his posse there was no need to swing on by his place. We slid over to 3rd and then headed down to Martin Luther King Blvd. Turning right we made our way west out to the Blvd boundary trail. It was fun with this group as all of us took various turns sprinting up, reeling in; back and forth we went like a fun dance in search of deeper breath. As we made our way to the once North West corner of the city we were all rewarded for our efforts, with a chance to stop and take in of one of the great Tudor Revival Residential Master pieces, still left standing and alive in our wonderful city. Just across 96/Grand River, tucked back into the corner, lost against monstrous trees, you will have to look hard but will find this work of art. For me the triple 6 pointed star conjoined central chimney speaks of many wonderful things. Okay back onto the ride.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Heading east on the mighty Grand Blvd. you will soon find a split to slower minor blvd. a minor to major if we are talking classical music in terms. It keeps the cars out there rather than right in here next to us. We all felt some relief from the Amplified Steel Reflections and welcomed the relaxation of riding without the close encounter of cars. Back and forth we were all feeling it. I felt it so much I turned north rather than South on John R so we could make our first pit stop of the night. Lucky for Ambers/our new friend! He knew the way. If you have never been you have to check out V’s. Outdoor Beach Volley ball, a couple of Horse Shoe pits, big outdoor Patio, Tables and good pizza and food to if you find yourself hungry. Guess what we ordered? More than a few sips in Honest Jeff sparked the instance for a game of Shoes! What fun, I think he won 10-9, as it was a neck and neck affair! Val took shoe next and bounced a couple, not off of the wood back board behind the steel pin, but rather off the wood privacy fence situated behind. It had been awhile and with all of her new muscles form working out at the gym she had to simmer down about and dial-er-in just a weeeeeeeeeee bit.

From V’s we Bombed Ferry Street all the way east, had its own sense of history/historic vibe about it. Better yet no dance along For us it was more-better-best than out with cars on zee Grand boulevard. Turning right onto the boulevard once again we headed south all of the way to the River. Hitting the River walk once again we just had to stop in at Andrews and see big ole burly once again. And while we were at it why not a quick stop into Atwater as well? From there it was a fun tour up the Dequindre-cut and on through the Market back on over to MCB. A quick goodbye and we were off once again to our sleeping children this time!

Bike Detroit! James Meyers bike explorer

Belle Isle Run: 05/17/2012

Amber and James made it back and have become such a wonderful regular addition to our burgeoning group. Amber gets all of the credit for snapping the pics. which now have become a mainstay in all of our post. More and more people are coming out to enjoy the city with us as we truly welcome everyone and anyone who can check their judgment at home and get on the bike and ride!

We swung on by Honest Jeff’s but saw none and continued back around north on 2nd only to then turn R/East on Canfield. Out past the 5 wonderful Historic Churches we slid by the Heidelberg project. Once we crossed Gratiot Dan suggested we take group by the old Pfeiffer Brewery before we found our way to Grand Blvd. and then onto the island.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Belle Isle was already dressed up for the Indy Car race. We all had fun cursing the course but found the time to stop by the old Casino and take a goof photo of One arm James and the three lovely ladies laying on the Casino sign, (hot Stuff!) From there we did a mid way loop and circled back onto Jefferson after the headlong into the wind sprint across the bridge. We slid along the river walk and landed into Andrews place once again. Jen was in PBR Prison out on the patio with a wonderful smile as usual. Mr. Burly man was happy to see us and had a heartfelt hello and goodbye to offer to the group.

Since we were right around the corner we rode our bikes into Atwater for one and then spun back around on the river walk heading west. James ripped up the Hill just before the DNR park and with well lit Helmet spot light blazing, flew down the hill like a “Blue-Streakier’ off the coaster tracks. What a sight. From there it was onto Jacoby’s for some grub and then back to Dan and Johns place for a good night Gracie!

Bike Detroit! James Meyers bike explorer

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!