I bike Detroit

A few weeks ago I went on the Colin Hubbell Memorial bike ride through the city of Detroit. It was a beautiful day (those clouds cleared up) and a whole bunch of people gathered at Belle Isle to ride. We rode along the riverside, which is beautifully redone and expanding. We rode the Dequindre Cut, which is an outstanding paved bike trail and has the potential to be even greater. Then we rode north and south, through Midtown by Wayne State, to the New Center and then back south and along the river and back to Belle Isle. For a ride through a city, it was really peaceful.

The New York Times had an op-ed about Detroit becoming the next big biking city. I chuckled at first, but after remembering my ride and paying more attention to all my pedaling people during the work week, I think I buy it. I'm trying to figure out if I'm just being a sappy optimist, grasping at anything that can ease the regular burden of bad news around these parts. The other option is finding a way to combine two things very near and dear to me: Detroit and biking.

These paragraphs in the op-ed particularly caught my eye and roused my imagination:
"With the legendarily affordable real estate and without needing to pay for car payments, gas or insurance, bicyclists could rebuild Detroit into a model of a two-wheeled economy. They could pass laws promoting bikes over cars and designate entire avenues motor-free zones, which, given the state of many of them now, wouldn’t be so much of a stretch.

Maybe it sounds far-fetched, but then again maybe it’s just destiny. Look at a map and you’ll see that Detroit is designed in the shape of a wheel, with streets emanating like spokes from the downtown hub. It looks like a premonition, a city uniquely designed to alter transportation forever."
Is this really something to believe in and explore? Could it be true that Detroit could transform its mode of transportation with the bike like it transformed the world with the car?

And could this new mode of movement in Detroit help with maybe moving Michigan a little lower on the fatty list (we're #9). It could motivate people to be more active and have a better chance at preventing heart disease and diabetes. Fewer cars would equal less pollution. There's a lot of potential here to make huge moves as a community. Grassroots, son. Grassroots.

Read the NYT's op-ed: Bike Among the Ruins


Some links for your Detroit biking pleasure:

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