Archive for the ‘General bike news’ Category

Detroit Bicycle Fest: A week of highlights

Monday, September 17th, 2012

On Thursday, a visitor from San Francisco wrote that Detroit had “no bike/hipster culture.”

True in the suburbs, it wasn’t a good week to stand by that claim in the city of Detroit where eight days of bicycle events drew large crowds.

Unfortunately we were unable to attend all of the week’s events, but here’s what we saw and heard.

Tour de Ford grew by 200 cyclists and broke the 500 mark for the first time. It was encouraging to see Henry Ford Health System’s growing support and enthusiasm for cycling in Detroit.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Bicycle Dreams movie attracted a very impressive crowd. Given this response, we can probably expect more bike-related films during the Fest.

With ride volunteers, the 11th annual Tour de Troit sold out and had over 5,000 cyclists. This was the first year that all the streets along the entire 30-mile route were closed to vehicles.

From the Detroit News:

“It really becomes a little community,” he said. “You all have something in common even though you don’t know the person next to you.”

And that is exactly the point, says Bill Lusa, chairman of the board for Tour de Troit.

“For the first timers, especially the people coming from the suburbs, most of what they know about Detroit is going to a game, going to a show, getting off a freeway and going right into a parking lot,” Lusa said. “This is a great way to get out of the car and see the city with others.”

The Detroit News published a second article as well. The Huffington Post and Detroit Free Press also covered the event.

The DIA’s Inside | Out Bicycle tour sold out as well with about 100 cyclists. The Detroit Free Press covered that event.

After Sunday’s ride, bicyclists were invited to go inside the DIA to see the original works.

“It’s a combination of two things we love: art and riding,” said Harley Miah, 39, of Wyandotte.

Besides the movie and tours, the DIA has stepped up their support of bicycling by adding racks near the Farnworth entrance. There are also free bike lockers available just across John R as well.

We also heard good things about the Celebration of Cycling ride and Slow Jams ride, but were unable to attend.

Mike Kiewicz, who helped start the Tour de Troit in 2002, told the Detroit News, “To see what it’s become is absolutely amazing.” That can be said about all of these events. The growing interest and participation is exceeding expectations.

And with the Tour de Troit raising funds for more bike infrastructure in Detroit, we can expect to see even more growth in the years to come.

Bicyclists part of moving light show at DLECTRICITY

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

DLECTRICITY in Midtown Detroit on October 5th and 6th will feature a number of bicycle-related exhibits. What is this event?

DLECTRICITY is a new contemporary light art festival in the City of Detroit. For two nights, the historic architecture of Midtown will become the canvas for local, national, and international artists to display their cutting edge works of art. Over 35 projects will be shown including video projection, 3D video mapping, lasers, light sculpture, interactive design, performance, and more. The event is FREE to the public and open to all ages.

Here are a few bike-related events and projects from the DLECTRICITY web site:

Light Bike Saturday Oct. 6th

Workshop 5:00 – 7:00 PM – Wayne State parking lot 54, Southeast corner of 2nd St. and Warren Ave. DLECTRICITY is proud to host a workshop geared towards Detroit’s growing bike community. Sponsored by Shinola, the light bike workshop will show cyclists of all ages how they can add light and creativity to their rides. Free and open to the public.

Parade 7:00 PM – Starts: Wayne State parking lot 54, Southeast corner of 2nd St. and Warren Ave. Immediately after the Light Bike Workshop, DLECTRICITY will hold a 3.75 mile Light Bike Parade, encouraging workshop and festival attendees to show off their uniquely lit-up cycles as they ride through Midtown. Also sponsored by Shinola, this event is free and open to the public, please visit www.dlectricity.com for more information.

10. Velociplosion (A Muybridge Influenced Spatial Event)

The iconic photographic explorations of Eadweard Muybridge depict and distill continuous movements, from the mundane to the exceptional , into isolated frames of regard. These exercises, intentionally or otherwise, allow the idiosyncrasies of an object in time to be represented out of context, within a two dimensional medium (the genesis of cinema). This transformation is inherently one of reduction, contraction, minimization “Velociplosion”, an event of matter and light for Dlectricity, proposes to inverse these operations and re-contextualize these frame into space.

This exercise intends to reverse engineer a mechanical phenomenon into a set of sculptural “frames” across 100 feet of installation space. By constructing a series of identical objects in linear space, modifying each successive object slightly, and successively illuminating each object with a brief but powerful strobe, we may intimate Muybridge cell-motion with tangible, three dimensional objects. As subject matter a form has been selected that is both easily manipulated and commonplace to the urban vernacular- a street bicycle. (Emphasis added)

34. Share Detroit (Rheostat Ride)

Winding through the streets of midtown at night is a jumble of luminous letters floating seven feet above the pavement, each casting a halo of red light beneath it. As the letters draw near, you see the bicycle under each one, and the riders propelling them, each letter flying flag-like from a mast. More riders arrive from other directions, and each one stops in a predetermined spot. They form a line, spelling a phrase, and stand there for a few moments. They ride away one by one, and the letters peel off into side streets, only to reassemble somewhere else as a different phrase.

This work, created for DLECTRICITY, is a dance on bicycles that will extend over the entire footprint of the event. Our goal is to be visible both as disparate neon letters moving through the event, and as a poem that progressively unfolds over the course of the two nights. Each line of the poem is an anagram of “SHARE DETROIT.” By riffing on the well- known bicycling slogan “Share the road,” we hope to start a conversation about midtown, transportation, the people attending the show, and the city in general. (Emphasis added)

Veteran shot while biking home from work

Monday, July 16th, 2012

This is a tragic story of a 54-year old veteran biking to and from work on Detroit’s west side. On Monday morning at 5:30am, he was shot in the leg and his bike was stolen.

From Fox 2 Detroit:

Rick Neely is a 54-year-old. An army veteran who worked for a steel company for 20 years before losing his job in the economic crisis. Now, he rides dozens of miles to work each evening for his midnight shift at a packing plant.

But Monday morning, as he was riding home about 5:30, his family says four men on bicycles surrounded him – demanded his bike. They then shot him in the leg.

Neely has had his bike stolen twice before. He just got a new one last week. Now it’s gone too and he’s hospitalized.

Neely’s sister has already bought him a new bike. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Based on Fox 2’s reporting, it appears the crime happened on Michigan Avenue just east of Wyoming.

Property crimes and shootings are far from uncommon in Detroit. But before concluding the safety of biking in the city, one should recognize the likelihood that a greater number of pedestrians are assaulted and motorists carjacked. Still, it’s something to be aware of in most any major urban environment.

Fox 2 News Headlines

Bicycle history in the Henry Ford Collection

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

The Henry Ford has some key bicycle history. Perhaps the most well-known is the Wright Bicycle shop that Henry Ford worked with Orville Wright and relocated to Greenfield Village in 1937.

The museum also owns a considerable amount of other bicycle history, which they are digitizing. There are over 8,000 items in the collection now and 197 match the keyword “bicycle.”

Most of the bicycle items appear to be from other parts of the county. Still there are a few local favorites.

We especially love this “tweed ride” photo of Edison Illuminating Company employees in 1895.

In the 1890s, the safety bicycle became a way for many workers to travel to and from their jobs. This group of employees from the Edison Illuminating Company poses with their bikes for a photograph taken about 1895. The photographer was a fellow employee at the company and also owned a bicycle, Henry Ford.

Mr. Ford was better at building cars than framing his photograph.

Also among our favorites are these photos of Henry Ford with his bicycle in 1893 and famous Detroit bicycle racer Tommy Cooper in 1890-1891.

They also have the only known version of the ten-person Oriten bicycle by Orient. They also have a photo of it from 1899 on a street in Detroit .

Women leaders in the Detroit bicycle movement

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Detroit’s ever-growing bicycle scene is largely due to women leadership.

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, SDBA, Midtown Detroit, Wheelhouse Detroit, Fender Bender, DECC, MTGA, Criterium Detroit City, etc.

And that influence continues to grow.

Detroit Je T’aime published a story on Fender Bender called, Detroit’s Real Bike Chix.

Sarah Sidelko goes by the nickname “Sidewalk” – in matters of transportation justice, she’s the boss. Sarah has been living in Detroit for 10 years – out of which she spent 7 years without a car. That inspired her to create Fender Bender, a bike shop exclusively dedicated to women, queer and transgender folks.

“It’s about creating a safe space where we can have free conversations. We use bike mechanics to think about ourselves”, says Sidewalk.

The article also mentions Fender Bender’s successful SOUP pitch which earned them $514 – a story also covered in Model D.

Fender Bender Detroit will use the SOUP grant funds towards funding the July and September Fender Bender Detroit bike mechanic training course. This six week series of bicycle mechanic training classes comprehensively covers bicycle maintenance and repair skills for each function, system, and component of the bicycle. We learn, understand, and demonstrate the anatomy of the bicycle, tools used in repair processes, and repair skills.

Skirts and Wheels

Melanie Piana has been very busy on the other side of Detroit’s north border. She led efforts to pass Ferndale’s Complete Streets ordinance. She’s now starting a woman-focused group as mentioned on Mode Shift.

Forget the Lycra, Spandex and jerseys. Bring your skirts, heels and other “normal” clothes to this new monthly Ferndale bicycling gathering for women.

Inspired by the CopenhagenCycleChic.com website, the new Metro Detroit event is organized by Melanie Piana, mayor pro tem in Ferndale.

“We need to educate people that cycling can be a very normal part of your life, and that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on clothing and gear to do it,” she says. “Cycling is a very normal, everyday activity and in Michigan and other places it’s something viewed as a fad or a hobby, not something you do as a very normal daily activity to get around and do daily things like going to the grocery store or pharmacy.”

The Ferndale Patch also covered this story.

MASH Ride

Back within the City, MASH magazine had their first ride last Saturday.

This RIDE was created to encourage YOUNG WOMEN (and men) IN DETROIT to BIKE!

Their next ride is June 16th.