Posts Tagged ‘Cass Green Gym’

Bicycling at the Cass Green Gym

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

As part of their Earth Day coverage, CNN’s article Pedal power is fueling green awareness mentioned the Cass Green Gym in Detroit.

At the Cass Community Social Services in Detroit, the residents who are homeless, in transitional or temporary housing, never expressed any interest in environmental issues before.

“Homeless people don’t care about polar bears,” said the Rev. Faith Fowler, the organization’s executive director. “They care about jobs and health.”

But this year, the center introduced 10 stationary bikes (purchased through a donor) that send power back into the building. Residents became hooked.

They started asking, “Can we start a garden and can we start composting?”

Ninia Cobb, a 43-year-old resident, said the bikes give her two goals: to lose weight and to give back energy.

“I’m not going to light up a whole building by myself,” she said. “I feel like I’m helping the energy thing when you ride it. It feels good.”

The bikes attracted local cycling enthusiasts and youth groups into the center too.

“They care about the planet, but they didn’t care about the homeless,” Fowler said. “They’re sitting shoulder-to-shoulder to someone who has been homeless for two to three years, they sit and talk, and they’re both acting as problem solvers.”

The residents may not care about polar bears, but they might be more interested in biking as a lower cost means of transportation.

Stories like this reinforce how cycling has diverse appeal and benefit.

A press release from Cass Community Social Services adds:

The Green Gym is the nation’s first workout facility created specifically for homeless men, women and children. The grand opening of the Green Gym will mark a revolutionary step by Cass to improve its carbon footprint, reduce its energy costs and improve the quality of life for Detroit’s most at-risk citizens.

Initially, access to the Green Gym will be limited to the 240 men, women and children who live in Cass facilities, Cass 100 staff members and the organization’s loyal volunteers. The Green Gym will be staffed by volunteers and open six days a week, closed on Sundays. Plans include offering fitness classes.

And it wouldn’t be surprising to hear about some group bike rides starting at the Gym this summer… Anyone in?

Bike shorts: Brief updates around Metro Detroit

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Green Leaders

The Free Press recently honored green leaders throughout Michigan. Many of them have a connection to biking and trails:

  • Among other green things, Orin Gelderloos rides his bike to work everyday. He’s quoted as saying, “The idea was to always be close enough to ride to work.”
  • The Reverend Faith Fowler created the Cass Green Gym for her shelter residents which includes 10 stationary bikes (that happen to generate electricity for the shelter.)
  • The Greening of Detroit is more than just urban forestry and urban agriculture. This year they received grant funding to hire a crew of local young adults who are charged with maintaining three of Detroit’s greenways. They’ll not only provide the maintenance, but will lead community events along the greenways that will build neighborhood stewardship. This outstanding program is very unique in the U.S. — and it’s creating green jobs.
  • Yes, the Green Garage is all about sustainability, but Tom and Peggy also plan to make their building very bike friendly. And their nearby green alley will provide a funky back door bike route to Motor City Brewing.
  • Last but not least, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is one of the primary forces behind greenways in Southeast Michigan. They built excitement for greenways among private foundations which really gave the movement its forward momentum. There are very few greenways in Southeast Michigan that haven’t benefited from their efforts. Trail design and construction isn’t free, and given the tight resources within this area — especially Detroit — the help from the Community Foundation was invaluable. The Free Press has posted a Dequindre Cut photo gallery as well.

Dequindre Cut Closure

And speaking of the Cut, our friends at the Wheelhouse Detroit just posted this information on their Facebook page: “Yes, the rumors are true. The Dequindre Cut will be closed between Lafayette and Woodbridge on weekdays for 4 months while the Larned and Lafayette bridges are rebuilt.” We knew this was coming, but… ugh.

Also, the Wheelhouse got a great (and well-deserved) plug in the Living in the D blog for their Detroit architecture tours.

Bike Tunnels

Filmed by Bike was held last weekend in Portland. There was an entry from Detroit that made a tongue-in-cheek (or serious) call for underground bike tunnels. You can watch the Bike Tunnel video on-line.

Complete Streets

We’ve noted that Detroit’s Health and Wellness Promotion Department recently applied for and received a grant to pass a Complete Streets ordinance. The city of Ferndale is also looking to pass a Complete Streets proposal. We don’t have a timeline for when this might happen, but it’s in the works. There’s also some interest or discussion among other neighboring communities. If you haven’t already signed the Michigan Complete Streets petition, please do so.

Royal Oak Non-Motorized Planning

Planning has not yet begun. The city of Royal Oak is just waiting for the Department of Energy (DOE) to sign off on their much larger energy efficiency plan — and release the funding. The planner is ready to go.

Bike Parking

The city of Berkley and their DDA are still mulling over bike parking policy. The city of Ferndale is also dealing with parking both for motor vehicles and bicycles.

Woodward Avenue Non-Motorized Planning

There’s been further discussion among the Southeast Oakland County communities that border Woodward Avenue from Eight Mile to Maple. There appears to be consensus that Woodward needs a better balance of transportation options for those traveling along or crossing the corridor. How that is implemented is yet to be determined. One factor that greatly affects what’s done: future mass transit plans. Stay tuned.