Detroit: Bicycling is a horse of a different color

Urban Adonia is an anthropology grad student from LA studying bicycling in four different U.S. cities, including Detroit.

She recently posted about Detroit, including this snippet:

The city’s wide avenues work well for bicycling, especially because density is a hard thing to find here. The only crowd I’ve seen so far had gathered around a high school football game. I knew something must be up, cause I was riding along an otherwise empty street and came upon lots and lots of parked cars. Then I saw the game, which explained the people.

Bicycling here feels very free in some ways. The painted lines of the street seem irrelevant on a four lane street with nobody else around. I can turn in wide arcs instead of sharp darts. Oops, missed the turn; make a big ol’ U turn, no problem.

At the same time, many parts of the city have been abandoned, creating grids of empty fields marked by one or two remaining old row houses. As an outsider I don’t know how to gauge where it is a better or worse idea to travel. I like to drift around and explore unfamiliar cities, and it is so easy to bike here that it seems inviting to just wander around.

Unfortunately it sounded like Detroiters were trying to be a bit more friendly with her than she was comfortable with.

(via Model D)

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