Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Social Forum’

The eminently bikeable city of Detroit

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

The title of this post is a quote from one of the BikeIt cyclists who rode from New York to Detroit for the U.S. Social Forums.

The U.S. Social Forum really put large, diverse group of bicyclists (and pedestrians) on Detroit’s streets for nearly a week. Is this how Detroit could look in the new future after a bit of transportation mode shift and infill?

Another Forum visitor added this excellent write up on Streetsblog: Detroit: The Return of the Repressed (Bicycling Culture). That article includes a photo caption which notes, “Detroit’s once bustling streets are a bicyclist’s paradise now, wide open and empty.”

The author also participated in our monthly Critical Mass ride.

Detroit has had a small-ish Critical Mass going back some years, but this was its biggest ever, about 375 riders. A great route was planned and most followed, which took us downtown, along the riverfront, out into eastern Detroit, through the remarkable Heidelberg Project, and finally back into the center of the City. One of the best parts of this Detroit Critical Mass was the enthusiastic reception by locals all along the way.

Detroit is a city reinventing itself. After a generation of abandonment by business and capital, the residents who have stayed are fully engaged in a process of rethinking what their city should look like, who should have the power to make decisions about it, what kinds of work should be done, and so on. The bicycle is making a comeback too, and though it’s still at the beginning of a regenerative process, the roots are well implanted and it’s very exciting to see what develops in the years to come.

Matt Dughi made this amazing, must watch video of the ride. Critical Mass is looking a little Tour de Troit-ish. Did you see Pingree smile as the ride passed?

U.S. Social Forum bike tour of Detroit

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Yesterday, The Hub of Detroit led a group ride around the city of Detroit as part of the U.S. Social Forums. Starting at bike tent city on Woodward and Temple, the ride went past the Joe Louis fist, the RiverWalk, Dequindre Cut, Eastern Market, and more.

About 50 people participated. Many of them had ridden to Detroit. Everyone was super friendly, including the many motorists who yielded to the parade of pedalers.

Allison Mannos, an Urban Programs Coordinator at Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition was in the group. Allison gave an excellent presentation on diversity at the National Bike Summit earlier this year. She gave us big kudos for the Dequindre Cut.

U.S. Socials Forums group ride in Detroit

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

The U.S. Social Forum is coming to Detroit and begins on Tuesday, June 22nd.

The BikeIt group has helped organize and encourage people from across the U.S to ride their bicycles to Detroit.

Imagine 5,000 bicyclists riding into Detroit, the Motor City, to help bring about a different world. We see thousands of cyclists coming from every direction converging on the United States Social Forum next June, voting with their legs for a greener, cooler, fairer society. We’re taking that ride, and we invite you to join us.

Many of the cyclists will be staying at the bike tent city at Woodward and Temple.

Also, the Hub of Detroit is organizing a ride for Tuesday, June 22nd. Cyclists should begin gathering near the tent city and the 16 mile bike tour around Detroit will begin at 1pm. Experienced local cyclists are needed to assist in the guiding the group. It’s expected to be 2 hour ride that will join up the the U.S. Social Forum Grand March at 3pm.

The U.S. Social Forum is also really pushing bicycles as transportation. Their program strongly promotes biking in Detroit and will leave a positive impact upon it’s completion:

One way Another World is Possible is through our commitment to bike more – using less gas, putting less pollution in the air, and improving our physical health as a movement! Detroit is a fairly flat city, therefore it’s easy to get around. If you brought your own bike, this is the best way around town. We have bike racks for parking at Cobo Hall, Youth Bike Village (Woodward and Warren), the People’s Village and Hart Plaza.

Limited bike rentals are available for the duration of the forum for $15-$60 sliding scale at King Solomon Church (6100 14th Street). Pickup is on Tuesday June 22, from 10am until 2pm.

We are grateful to, The Hub and everyone who contributed bikes to Detroit for use during the Forum and as a long-term contribution to the community. Bicycles and funds will be used to improve the community bicycle infrastructure in Detroit during and following the Social Forum. Bicycle donations are still accepted, and greatly appreciated!

There are also some bike-related workshops at the social forum, including the following:

  • La Bici Digna/A Bike Worth Living For: Community Bike Co-ops as a Resource for Community Empowerment & Innovation
    June 24th from 10AM to Noon
    This is organized by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, who was quite impressive at this year’s National Bike Summit when presenting on building diversity in the bicycling culture.
  • BikeIt: Pedal to the USSF – Testimonials & exploration of the Bicycle as a Tool for Social & Environmental Justice
    June 25th from 10AM until Noon
  • Organize, Build & Dream on 2 Wheels – Social Justice Bike Touring
    June 25th from 10AM until Noon

There are some Urban Agriculture bike tours planned as well.

For those who’ve ridden to Detroit, here’s hoping you enjoy our bike friendly city (except for the difficulty in getting across the river from Windsor.)

Detroit Bike Shorts

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Green Alley construction begins

Model D is provides a significant amount of Detroit biking coverage. Perhaps due to May being bike month, they’ve got even more stories, including this one on Midtown’s Green Alley.

This is Detroit’s first green alley, and like most all things green, it caters to cyclists.

The alley will consist of native plantings and a 6-foot-wide pedestrian and bike pathway constructed of reclaimed historic brick framed by permeable pavement — which ensures emergency vehicle access. It is lit by induction lights, which are more efficient than LED and last for 25 years. “I hope one day to be have to climb up there and change a bulb!” says Tom.

The alley will provide a connection to the Motor City Brewing Works and include bike racks.

Detroit Critical Mass

Here’s a little video of the April 2010 Critical Mass ride in Detroit. Isn’t it ironic that the Motor City’s ride deals with fewer cars than perhaps all other citys’? (via Model D)

Michigan’s Top Five Bike Trails

This is part of a story from Metro Parent magazine’s May issue. This article lists great trails that the entire family can enjoy.

Bike Tent City registration now open

The U.S. Social Forum (USSF) is coming to Detroit this June. Biking is a big part of this event. People from around the U.S. are biking to Motown through the BikeIt project. Registration for their Tent Bike City is now open.

Bike Trailer Building Workshop

On a related note, the Hub of Detroit is hosting a trailer building workshop this Saturday.

When: May 15th from 3:30pm-7pm
Where: Back Alley Bikes space (entrance in alley behind of The Hub of Detroit)
What: The goal of the evening is to use wood and recycled bicycle parts to make simple bicycle cargo trailers. The trailers built will be used to pick up waste during the forum and will be a part of environmental management efforts reduce the ecological footprint of the USSF and beyond!

If you’re interested in volunteering at the Hub, their next volunteer orientation meeting is June 2nd at 6pm.

Vote for a Detroit Bike Video

Bicycle magazine’s video contest has a Detroit-themed entry named Catalyst. Voting ends on June 6th, 2010.

Fort Street Construction in Detroit

Yes, Fort Street in Southwest Detroit is being reconstucted. Yes, the Detroit Non-Motorized Plan calls for bike lanes on this road. Yes, the road is six-lanes but the vehicular traffic levels only require two. Yes, this road would likely be part of the U.S. Bicycle Route 25 through Detroit.

No, MDOT did not include bike lanes in the project.

Why? No reasonable answers have been given so far. MTGA and others are continuing to discuss this with MDOT. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be a four-lane road with buffered bike lanes.

Detroit biking featured in Momentum magazine

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

The current issue of Momentum (“the magazine for self-propelled people”) features Detroit.

Following on the heals of Portland, the main article describes biking in Detroit — the conditions, culture, people and future.

There’s also a visitor’s guide, which is helpful for all those U.S. Social Forum folks who are biking to or at least biking around Detroit this June.

And, there’s a rider profile of Cassandra Spratling, a member of Sisters Cycling. We could not find the profile Wheelhouse Detroit co-owner Kelli Kavanaugh on-line, so you’ll want to head down to their bike shop and pick up a printed copy.

We really like this Momentum article and hope it brings a bit more national recognition for some of America’s best urban biking.

Disclaimer: We’re absolutely biased. We wrote the article.