Something new came to the city a few weeks ago. Navy Week, commemorating the War of 1812 bicentennial, which was the subject of the first piece in this year’s series. This week, the city of Detroit welcomed back the tour-de-troit, an urban bike ride/race through the city of Detroit. Over 5,000 riders participated in both the 30-mile ride and the metric century (62-miles).
The race for the riders started in front of the abandoned Michigan Central Station in Roosevelt Park in Corktown. The metric century started at 8:00am while an hour later, the 30-mile ride started.
Altogether, the ride encompasses all of Roosevelt Park, much of Corktown, and the Detroit Police even participated, blocking off many streets to keep the ride nearly car-free. The registration fee was a little high (discounted for students) but it wasn’t about how much the fee was. The ride is meant to instill an attitude into the people of Metro Detroit and the city itself that biking is a viable means of transportation, that it should be utilized more and the ride benefits the creation of more bike lanes in greenways in the city.
The ride itself is a long ride, and if you aren’t in decent shape, it can really be tiring. The great thing about the post-ride is that with the entry fee, included after is two tickets for food and beer. Among the options after the ride included chili from Slow’s BBQ, pizza, subs, mexican food from the Honey Bee Market among a few others.
PJ’s Lager House partnered up as well to provide live musical acts after the race as well. Tables were set up for people to eat, drink, relax and enjoy the music after the ride. The committee that puts together the ride does a great job every year.
The ride route changes every year in some parts, but most of it stays the same. Corktown, Fort Wayne, North Corktown, New Center, the Packard Plant, Indian Village, Belle Isle, and Downtown Detroit are all along the route. You not only see great parts of the city, but you see bad parts too. Shells of burned out houses, empty lots, stray dogs, empty buildings. It’s very sad and disappointing.
The more that bikes are used as a reliable means of transportation in the city of Detroit and around Metro Detroit, the more we can figure out where those bike lanes can go, where people will want to live, how to adequately appropriate mass transportation better and have fun doing it.
Next year’s ride is scheduled for Saturday, September 21, 2013. If you want more information on this ride, check out their website, http://www.tour-de-troit.org.
To read the original article that appeared in the second issue of The Michigan Journal, on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, go to www.michiganjournal.org