Changing perceptions of Detroit one bike ride at a time

WDET had an interesting interview with Jeanette Pierce from her downtown tour company Inside Detroit. In it Pierce spoke about how challenging in getting people, but especially locals to “confront the perceptions they have about the city” — perceptions that are often shaped by the media rather than visiting the city.

I do feel that I have to work harder with people that are in the region because of that assumption that they know… that they know things… and because of watching the local news and reading the local newspaper… and yeah, I guess if that’s all you saw of Detroit was the crime and the violence and the government mishaps and stuff… it would seem pretty depressing… but that’s not the story of Detroit that we know… that I know as someone living here.

[By the way, Inside Detroit is now offering bike tours in addition to their walking, bus, and Segway tours.]

We believe that bicycle tours in the city of Detroit are perhaps the best way to change perceptions of the city. You’re not protected in an air conditioned glass and metal box, but you can still cover a fair amount of distance. Given the flatness of Detroit and the open roads, bicycling is downright easy. And with huge rides like the Tour-de-Troit and the numerous Wheelhouse Detroit bike tours, it’s seriously fun.

And another fun event changing perceptions is the Motor City Bike and Brew Tours which was recently covered by Detroit Public TV. The bike story begins just after a minute and is nearly 8 minutes long.

The Washington Post also recently wrote about their bike ride through Detroit and included quotes:

  • “The light traffic on downtown roads makes the Motor City surprisingly accommodating to visiting cyclists who don?t really know where they?re going.”
  • “Had I known about the show the city would put on, I would have gotten on a bike much sooner.”

Also changing perceptions of Detroit is Alex Gallegos’ Detroit Bike City video, which has been watched over 30,000 times in just 23 days. M-live had a nice interview with Alex as well.

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3 Responses to “Changing perceptions of Detroit one bike ride at a time”

  1. Adam D. Says:

    I loved the Tour de Troit ride last year. I saw more of the city in one day than 6 years living in the suburbs going down occasionally.

  2. Steve Johnson Says:

    Great points by Jeanette about how biking can change perceptions. I am amazed by how many people have come on our bike tours (Motor City Bike and Brew Tours) this summer and live in Metro Detroit, but never knew of any of the changes in downtown on the Riverfront, Midtown or any of the other spots we ride by on the tour. If you take people out of the car and put them on a bike, it forces them to look around and view things from a new perspective. Hopefully this starts the process of changing their perceptions about downtown Detroit. It sure has changed mine. Thanks to Inside Detroit, Wheelhouse and all of the other groups for helping open people back up to the Motor City! PBS link to the Bike Tour segment on Discover the D – – Steve Johnson

  3. Aaron Says:

    excellent post todd!

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