Friday, September 22, 2006

A Different Way to Explore the D

When you think of Detroit, urban biking probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. After all, we are talking about the Motor City here.

Yet, while we Detroiters can't - and won't - deny our love for all things auto, we will cop to the fact that the view from the driver's seat doesn't always cut it, especially if your goal is to explore the D.

Biking, on the other hand - now that's a smart way to scope out Detroit.

As an increasing number of Detroiters will tell you, peddling around the city has several advantages - you'll get an an up-close and personal view that cars can't match, and great exercise to boot. Plus, bikes don't rely on gasoline or harm the environment, and, other than the initial price of equipment, biking doesn't cost a thing.

Thinking about giving bike-riding in the D a try? Read on and learn about three Detroit biking events set for this weekend, and consider giving one of them a try:

Midnight Bike Tour: this non-traditional orientation of sorts is designed to help new students at
University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) get acquainted with the city, but anyone that can ride a bike is invited to join in on the fun.

Now in its 18th year, more than 85 people are expected to participate in tonight's annual UDM midnight ride, including students and members of
Detroit Synergy's Detroit Bikes! group.

Accompanied by UDM's Public Safety Department, participants on this slow-paced, 35-mile ride will meet up at the college's McNichols Campus at 10 pm before heading off on a seven-hour trek that is set to include Detroit neighborhoods like Palmer Park and Palmer Woods, along with unique spots like City Airport and Belle Isle.

Riders will also stop at a true Detroit landmark, Lafayette Coney Island, for hot dogs between 12:30 and 1 am.

Image by K1dS3ns4t10n on BTT forum

Beat the Train ride: If late-night rides aren't your thing, join Andy Staub and the rest of the
Beat the Train in Detroit (BTT) crew at 6 am on September 23 for the group's weekly Saturday morning ride.

Departing from Fort Wayne in Southwest Detroit, tomorrow's ride - sandwiched between UDM's midnight ride and Saturday's Tour de Troit (more on that below) - will cover 30 miles at a 10-15 mph pace.

If you're the gutsy type, join in on BTT's Triple D Challenge, a combo of this weekend's three biking events that, in total, will cover 100 miles.

Tour de Troit: If you're not a fan of late-night or early-bird rides, join more than 250 people at 10 am for Tour de Troit, Corktown's highly-anticipated annual bike ride and fundraiser.

Riders of all ages are set to participate in the 35-mile, police-escorted Tour; it begins and ends at Roosevelt Park near the Michigan Central Depot.

At a leisurely 10-12 mph pace, cyclists will explore areas like downtown, Midtown, New Center, Woodbridge, Arden Park and more. All registrants are invited to stick around after the ride for music from DJ Greg Mudge and Spira, as well as tamales from Tamaleria Nuevo Leon.

Designed to promote biking in the city and support the proposed Corktown-Mexicantown Greenlink, a series of bike lanes and pedestrian paths that will connect the communities of Greater Corktown and Mexicantown/Hubbard to Detroit's West Riverfront, Tour de Troit is a great way to give urban biking a try and make a difference while doing it.

If you're ready to check out urban biking in the D, these three events are a great place to start.

UDM's midnight ride on Friday, September 22, and BTT's ride on the following morning are free; registration for Tour de Troit, also on Saturday, is $25 and begins at 9 am. Helmets are mandatory for all three events.

Happy trails!