Posts Tagged ‘Tour de Troit’

Still more Tour de Troit talk

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Photo from the Bikes, Books, & a Little Music blog

Additional Tour de Troit ride reports have been posted in some local blogs and web columns.

First is a guest column in the Heritage Newspapers titled, Tour de Troit eye-opening ride. It’s a bit heavy on the outsiders OMG-there’s-blight theme, but it also give a nod to some optimism.

There’s a youthful, arty and optimistic vibe among the ride’s organizers. In pockets along the route, one encounters that same vibe in the neighborhoods. Sometimes it comes from just three or four homes or stores with vitality, a grouping surrounded by scary wasteland.

Next is from the very intriguing blog, Bike, Books & a Little Music. The author Charlie has a nice summary of both the Critical Mass ride and the Tour de Troit. Woven into the story are some great photos, including the one shown here.

The Transport Michigan web site offers a very comprehensive look at the Tour de Troit.

The Tour’s dedicated organizers deserve credit for their success. But they’ve also got larger trends blowing at their back: a resurgent interest in rebuilding the American city (and Detroit especially) as a sustainable, just, and prosperous metropolis, and an emerging global movement advancing bicycling as a healthy means of transportation in these times of sedentary lifestyles, economic dislocation, and mounting climate change. Given the symbolism of bicycling in the world’s automobile capital, the Tour’s ascent is a bellwether of truly national significance.

“It’s just like Amsterdam, with helmets,” one rider exclaimed as the Tour prepared to depart.

Is the Tour’s success reflect this renewed interest in urban environments?

Longtime cyclist Karen De Coster wrote a fine article that covered much more than just the Tour. Its title asks the question, Is Detroit a Bicyclist’s Paradise?

As we ride, people pop out of everywhere to watch. Businesses and shops empty out. Who can resist watching a line of 3,000 cyclists passing by? People hang out of apartment and residential home windows – waving, cheering, watching, and smiling. My friend’s 18-year-old daughter said she was quite taken by that whole experience. She had only seen and known about the warts of Detroit, with its all-too-obvious ramshackle topography. Yet there is another and more extraordinary side to the city, one that most people never experience because they only zing through Detroit on freeways or crawl along the surface streets behind glass.

Unfortunately, perceptions are often built on hearsay rather than concrete experience. It’s easy to sit around all day watching anemic television programming and news bites, yet pretend to know what’s going on outside of the uninspiring shelter so many people create for themselves. Criticism is an important outcome of critical thinking, but it should be the culmination of one’s own experience and taste, not the result of impetuous me-tooism. Accordingly, getting out and seizing the adventure firsthand is the only valid way to form judgments and gain knowledge of the orbit around you. So, even if Detroit is not exactly the traditional bicyclist’s paradise, spontaneously exploring the city and its history on two, non-motorized wheels is undeniably a memorable experience.

We agree. Bicycling is a great way for people to see and experience the real city of Detroit.

When Detroit gets back on its feet, will we credit the Tour de Troit for helping thousands of Metro Detroiters gain a more accurate view of the city, its people, and its opportunities?

Yep, David Byrne rode the Tour de Troit

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

While sitting at Blocktoberfest, an artsy gentlemen with white hair and a Kona Smoke walked down Lafayette.

It was David Byrne of the Talking Heads and much more. He was in town for a Sean Penn movie according to the Free Press.

The innovative musician arrived in town a few days ago and described Detroit as endlessly fascinating.

“Beyond the devastation, there’s all this stuff going on,” he said. “I’m noticing little initiatives happening all over town.”

He decided to stay another couple days and ride the Tour de Troit. He wrote about Detroit on his blog with an article titled, “Don’t Forget the Motor City.” (The title is perhaps a reference to the X song, The New World, which was perhaps a reference to Martha and the Vandellas, Dancing in the Street.)

While the blog is more than just about biking, as we understand it, we used his Wheelhouse Detroit rental bike to get around.

It’s a great city for biking. Not much traffic, and flat—apparently there were some hills but those got smoothed out to create more arable farmland. Right now the weather is gorgeous, sunny, but not too hot. There’s an event on Saturday morning called Tour De Troit; it’s a 30-mile group ride with beer at the end. It’s not a race.

3,000 folks joined this thing—they could have gotten more people but I was told the police said that without more cops they’d have to cut it off there. The ride began in the morning at the abandoned train station. Sometimes I sensed that folks here have gotten used to how things are, while we out-of-towners stare at the massive abandoned buildings with our jaws dropped.

Byrne does mention the house that MOCAD was moving around on the city streets. The police assured the Tour organizers that the cyclists had priority over the house.

Also, Wayne State University’s The South End has a great article on the Tour.

The first five miles were absolutely incredible. The shining sun, the brisk wind rushing against our faces, the daredevil feeling of speeding through an intersection under a red light – it was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. As we pedaled down Michigan Avenue through the shadows of the buildings surrounding Campus Martius, one thought kept reverberating in my mind: It’s good to be right here right now.

Tour de Troit still grows and glows

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Well  over three thousand cyclists participated in yesterday’s Tour de Troit.

The Free Press coverage noted the fundraising aspect of the ride.

The Tour de Troit was organized to publicize the growing greenways network in Detroit and to raise funds for Corktown-Mexicantown Greenlink planned for 2011. The series of bike lanes and off-road pathways will connect the neighborhoods of Corktown and Mexicantown to each other and to the Detroit River.

“This is one of my favorite days in the city,” [Chris Frey] said. “It shows everybody Detroit is a wonderful city for cycling and there are a lot of things you can really only see by bike.”

It’s expected that over 30 miles of bike lanes will be added to the Corktown, Mexicantown, and West Vernor Business District by early next year. That’s in addition to the Michigan Avenue bikes being installed this Fall by MDOT.

The Detroit News coverage included some reaction from those who watched the procession of bikes.

Jan Rutzel and Pat Buckler marveled as scores of cyclists in bright gear zipped up and down Michigan Avenue today.

The buddies were on Rutzel’s porch on Wabash and became excited when told the cyclists were getting ready for a 30-mile tour of the city that included sweeps through some of Detroit’s most historic neighborhoods.

“That’s wonderful,” Rutzel said. “Anything that helps the city is thrilling.”

That’s one of the best parts of the Tour — the welcoming spectators along the route, especially the wide-eyed children. Many spectators took photos of the riders just as cyclists took photos of the city.

Of course 3,000 riders is quite a huge group. To give some perspective, the lead cyclists were already miles away at the Dequindre Cut while others were still leaving the start. As the first riders were coming off the Belle Isle Bridge, other riders were still going on the island — meaning the group was stretched over 6-miles.

An amazing showing for the Motor City!

Also, this wonderful video from MattMTB really shows just how many riders were on the streets of Detroit yesterday.

Huge ride weekend in Detroit

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

The August 2010 Critical Mass Ride in Detroit had nearly 500 riders

Without a doubt, this weekend has more Detroit riding opportunities than any other.

Friday’s rides

  • 7 PM: Critical Mass ride from the corner of Warren and Trumbull near the Wayne State University campus.
  • 9 PM: University of Detroit-Mercy Midnight Bike Ride. Registration begins at 8:00pm in Kassab Mall at the McNichols campus at the Livernois entrance.

Saturday’s rides

  • 6 AM: Beat the Train ride. The group rolls out at 6:30 AM from historic Fort Wayne on the Detroit River.
  • 9 AM: Tour de Troit Metric Century
  • 10 AM: Tour de Troit. Over 2,700 cyclists have registered as of yesterday. Registration closes tomorrow, so sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Tour de Troit seeks volunteers

Monday, September 20th, 2010

First, a quick update from the Tour-de-Troit web site:

REGISTRATION WILL CLOSE ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 at 8:00 pm! If you would like to register in-person instead of on-line, we will have a booth at Blocktoberfest from 12-8:00 on the 22nd.

THERE WILL BE NO ON-SITE REGISTRATION FOR THE 2010 TOUR! Response to this year’s ride has been huge, and in order to be able to guarantee a safe and fun event for our riders, we will not be able to register anyone on site. To guarantee your spot in the 2010 tour, please register now!

If you want to volunteer, please try attending tonight’s volunteer meeting at the Boll Family YMCA. With the huge turnout, the Tour is going to need more volunteers than ever before.

Here is more information on tonight’s meeting or you can visit the Tour-de-Troit volunteer web page:

This year’s Volunteer meeting to discuss the 2010 ride and volunteer roles and responsibilities will be on Monday, September 20th at 7:00pm at the Boll Family YMCA.  The meeting should last less than one hour.

This event is considered mandatory for our volunteers; however, if you can’t join us at that time but still would like to volunteer, please contact us.  Also, please feel free to invite friends and family that may be interested to volunteer, as we could always use a couple extra helping hands!

Additionally, we will be having a registration packet assembly party at 7:00 pm on Tuesday the 21st — we will provide food & drink for this one (think beer and pizza) and we will be putting together 3000+ registration packets.  It should be a good time, and it is a great way to help out and still be able to ride on Saturday.  If you are interested in helping on the 21st, please email us at or let us know at the meeting on Monday.

Here’s a link to the Boll Family Y, and metered street parking is free after 6:00pm.

Thanks again, and we look forward to seeing you on the 20th!


Your 2010 Tour de Troit Planning Team