4/18/13 Boulevard Run

The first 5 runs of this season have been relatively uneventful. Let’s face it, wet and cold is not fun unless you are masochistic or in training. Our 3/21/13 ride brought Jen, Lt. Dan and Skater Boy Derek out of the warm winter closet and back out onto the Thursday night trail. We decided to check out Abicks Bar, a historic place been open for 104 years in SW Detroit. Going into that place is like going over to your Aunties living room. You will know who is in charge right away while you in turn can relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of another piece Detroit History. For tonight’s ride the weather would be no different than before and perhaps even worse. Some of us decided to show up anyways.

As I looked out my studio window it had been raining all day and the forecast indicated that it would not stop. I took a good 15 min. to change into my gear as my internal monolog switched gears along with each passing minute. First gear, “no one’s going to show up anyways, so why ride?”, second gear “you are going to be soaking wet and won’t dry off once you get there”, 3rd gear, “your cables are going to get grimy and need to be cleaned”, 4th gear, you did not pack your rain fenders and you brought shorts?” catch the drift? Soon it became clear, not from the top down, but rather from the ground up, defeat the conversation in your head and then you can be free!

7.2 miles through the rain and street wide puddles, smeared with the type large dirty streak up ones back that would make a Porn Star smile. While we are out getting down and dirty, lets fill up our shoes with similar water and enjoy the squoose with each peddle pressed. I loved it! I slowed down and breathed deeper than I have in a long while. Sort of found my center and let what I have been holding attached to wash down the drains, along with the rest of the dirty water. When I finally arrived at MCB smiling I walked in to find my main man Gary suited up in gear and ready to roll, what a site!

Been a long while since I sat down with Gary and had a chance to catch up. Seems he has been in training down at the Athletic Club all winter long and his quadricep tear drop looked like a nice sized orange pressed under his skin. Watch out Chris Frey this guy will be keeping right up with us on our trail exploration rides. The rain did stop, just long enough for Gary and me to catch up, and when Rain returned she decided to bring her friends Down and Pour along with her. I told Gary I really did not want to continue out with the ride and he agreed. I saddled up and hit the 7.2 back, changing as I walked in through the door, stopping only long enough, to pour the water out of my shoes, back out onto the front porch.

Bike Detroit! J. Meyers bike explorer.

1/21/2013 Chicago Run

I have been hung up on writing this blog first before I wrote about any of the other rides that have happened since then. Sorry for the delay and so here goes it:

The 49th annual Moose Jaw Snow Safari was looking sketchy on account of thin snow so Big Mike had the bright Idea that we venture out to Chicago to do an Epic ride on Saturday in place of the storied Moose Safari? Why not? It had been 7 years since I was out to ride in the windy city and in those 7 years a major transformation had occurred which firmly I was unaware.

In the summer of 2005 Jen took me out to Chicago to meet the family, we naturally brought our bikes. Jen was almost hit twice, cars and streets could care less if we were there let alone hit or otherwise maim anyone who got in their way-ed? Add to this we had a pedestrian almost take us both out on the famed river walk trail. After that weekend and with her being upset I thought why venture back to ride when we have so many open wonderful streets right here in Detroit? Needless to say I am so glad we did.

I posted a bit on face book back then but by viewing these pictures you can see some of the things we encountered on our journey,

The Jump Park was great except for the bent rear sprocket. Mikes flat came next and both of our Co2 infrastructures were caput. Then thanks! To the great guys at Iron Bikes getting us back out on the trail with the best city Bike Map we have ever seen. They pointed us in a new direction out to the Forest and newly opened rails to trails. What a vista without a single sky scraper to be seen! With a brief stop at the Pressure Billiard Café (NW corner of Clark and Highland) we continued on back into down with a magnificent stop at the Rosehill Cemetery.

Rosehill has the greatest single collection of obelisk/monuments in the entire world. By my estimation the second largest obelisk in the USA can be found here, (second only to the Washington Monument in D.C.). The Masonic symbolism is a symphony to thus trained ears. Next time you go to Chicago visit the old Rosehill open your mind and be amazed.

The way back into town was wonderful as bike lane after bike lane guided us back south into the city center. Cars stopped, people slowed down and let the Bike Detroiters flow on through like a stream, respecting the flow rather than interrupting it. We booked 43 miles and were later joined by an original musketeer named Drew who drove in from The Three Cities to have some Din-din and catch up with his old high school pals.

Bike Chicago! J. Meyers bike explorer.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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