Detroit: a terrific city for cycling

Steve Roach, the League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB) Director for Detroit and the Pointes, was recently profiled in Grosse Pointe Today.

Roach, 48, is a lawyer at Miller Canfield in downtown Detroit. Several times a week, weather permitting, he leaves his car at home and commutes from his Grosse Pointe Park house to his office by bicycle. The 8.5-mile route carries him into decaying neighborhoods, over rutted pavement and sometimes through sweltering heat, but all of this doesn’t stop him, or even slow him down, and it certainly doesn’t bum him out. Exercise is its own reward.

“It occurred to me that it takes me at least 20 minutes to drive (to my office), and I started thinking I bet I could ride (there) in 20. I’m able to clear my head and enjoy it. For an extra 20 minutes of commuting a day, I get an hour’s worth of exercise.”

Through my job as Detroit Greenway Coordinator for MTGA, I get to work with Steve quite often. He’s definitely one of the shining stars within the LMB.

And on our most recent Detroit rides we even rescued a baby goat. Serious.

While he’s been very supportive of the Detroit biking and trail efforts, he and others are also working to make the Pointes more bike friendly. One suggestion is having bike lanes on Jefferson, or at least some Share the Road signage.

Here’s a video from the Grosse Pointe Today article as well.

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6 Responses to “Detroit: a terrific city for cycling”

  1. Joel Batterman Says:

    Not a bad angle: at this stage in our region’s transportation progress, it’s good just to see articles that poke holes in the image of bike commuting as something limited to “masochists, fitness freaks, and the possibly suicidal.” Even if they do, well, resurrect that image in the opening sentences.

    I have to laugh, though, at the line that “bike commuters have issues drivers don’t.” True enough, but so is the reverse statement. Issues like having to spend nearly $1000/month just to get to work and back. (

    And there’s the almost obligatory assertion that commuting is only possible “for a few warm months of the year.” Last I heard, we had spring and fall in addition to summer, and even now, more than a few Michiganders bicycle in winter. Oulu, Finland is an interesting case: a town at 65 degrees N with a bicycle mode share of 20%.

    Still, given our current state of affairs, this kind of press is a small step forward. I’m sure things weren’t too different in Portland twenty years ago.

  2. Todd Scott Says:

    Very good points. And as for the weather issue, Canada’s Yukon Territory has a higher percentage of bicycling commuters than California and Florida.

  3. Jon MI Says:

    I find one of the best things about cycling is you get to places pretty quickly, but you’re still able to look around at the scenery and people easily – something that you can’t really do if you’re driving a car. Also if you see something really interesting you can just stop then go look.

  4. Kathleen Says:

    I love to ride my bike. In fact due to severe economic reasons, I got rid of my car 2 years ago. I’ll be honest, I’m not riding bike to work and was taking the bus from GPP…until I lost my job in June. I’ve ridden my bike to Belle Isle and on the RiverWalk. I’m not a Lance Armstrong wannabe. I’m overweight and I just love to ride my bike and explore. What bothers me is peoples comments about “where” I’m riding my bike. When I tell them things I’ve discovered (it’s new to me), like the DPL Monteith Library, they get all worried instead of being excited. I’m not originally from Detroit and the fear and prejudice astound me. And when you ask people if they have a bike…you get “oh it needs some work”, or some such excuses. I’m sorry to say but we are one sorry lot of spoiled gas guzzling, one person per car snobs. Once I let go of the fact that not having a car mean’t I was going to have to reconsider timing to get places, how would I get somewhere and did I really need to go there in the first place…it all becomes a good challenge both mentally and physically. Riding my bike is something I like to do at my own pace. I have rain gear for bad weather and the only time I don’t go out is if it’s icy. I load up my saddlebags with groceries and use a plastic milk crate for even more stuff I need to haul. Dust off that bike or find one at a garage sale…you just might enjoy being that kid again.

  5. Detroit Getting Some Negative Press - Dominik Stecula Says:

    […] However, there are some positives to this. The cheap real estate is attracting a lot of people with ideas, and small areas are transformed rather quickly (More on NPR). And apparently, Detroit is quite a good place for bicycling. […]

  6. Mike Says:

    Threw the single speed MTB and my daughter’s trail-a-bike on the car…gonna cruise downtown on Wednesday!

    I love the show Hung and the great filming locations; the reason I was reminded to get back downtown.

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