Archive for the ‘General bike news’ Category

Exciting January bike events in Detroit

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

CAID Anti-Auto ShowAh, the old days when it was rare to find others to ride with in the winter in Detroit… If you were lucky you might find another couple diehards riding a Critical Mass.

Those days are over and now colder months are getting their share of bike-related events.

Last weekend was The Hub‘s 24-hour bike ride fundraiser event.

CAID Anti-Auto Show

Starting January 12th this this interesting Contemporary Aid Institute of Detroit (CAID) event at 5141 Rosa Parks Boulevard:

The Fourth Annual North American International Anti-Auto Show opens to the public on January 13, with a private formal charity Gala Preview on Friday, January 12 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., and open to the public from 9 – midnight.

Tickets to the future-themed Gala include sneak peeks at this year’s rollouts, drinks and hors d’oevres, entertainment, and a chance to say you attended the hippest party of the brutal winter. Last year’s guests are still talking about car karaoke, so this is an event not to be missed!

Tickets are $25 and can be reserved by calling 313-898-4ART.

The preview event on the 12th helps support CAID’s Community Bikes Project:

CAID Bikes Project is run by CAID Board Member Professor Nic Tobier from the University of Michigan. Students at Detroit Community High in Brightmore will build bamboo bicycle trailers and utility tricycles (among them a pedi cab, a recycling business and a landscape/gardening vehicle)!

There’s also this intriguing video about the event.

MLK Ride

On January 21st is the inaugural and free Martin Luther King Jr. group ride.

Join Tour de Troit and Detroit City Council Member Ken Cockrel, Jr. in a cycling celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. This will be a free ride. Families are encouraged. The ride will begin and end at the McGregor Memorial Conference Center on the Campus of Wayne State University.

The route is approximately 10 miles and will take in the length of the 1963 March to Freedom and several historical sites relevant to King and other local activists that were integral to the March and and the impact of the I Have a Dream speech delivered at Cobo Arena afterwards.

Registration is FREE, but required.

Bicycle Bicycle!

The Detroit Creative Corridor Center is opening their Bicycle Bicycle! art show on January 23rd. They are still seeking submissions!

The Huffington Post wrote this article about this event:

Katherine Maurer, curator of the gallery, said the increasing popularity of bikes in the city inspired the show.

“Bike lanes are cropping up, new companies are designing and manufacturing bicycles, while at the same time organizations that have been involved with bicycles for years continue to do their work,” Maurer told The Huffington Post in an email. She added that Detroit’s upcoming annual auto show also played a role because of the dialogue it generates around transportation and vehicles.

“In January so much of the city is all about cars, cars, cars and while given our history I certainly think that is valid,” she said, “it is important to remember that cars are not the only mode of transport that power the city and the people in it.”

Correct, cars are not the only more of transport — even during January in Detroit.

Southeast Oakland County bike summit

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

A bike summit is planned for this Wednesday, December 12th at 7 PM in the Royal Oak Public Library (222 E. 11 Mile Road.)

The purpose it to provide updates on efforts to improve biking in Southeast Oakland County, primarily Berkley, Birmingham, Clawson, Huntington Woods, Madison Heights and Royal Oak. There will also be an update on a new bike route map some of us have been working on. The Road Commission for Oakland County will also share their recent Complete Streets report.

The Detroit Free Press has this article describing the summit as well as this interesting story from Huntington Woods.

In 2010, Berkley and Huntington Woods residents who live on 11 Mile Road rejected what could’ve been a bike-friendly narrowing of 11 Mile during repaving from Woodward to Coolidge.

“We thought it would improve everyone’s property value along there, to have one lane (of traffic) each way instead of two, but the residents didn’t want it,” Huntington Woods City Manager Alex Allie said.

A road diet on 11 Mile would have had no affect on vehicle congestion. Some people just don’t want improved property values, less speeding, reduced noise, safer streets and a more walkable, bikeable community.

This raises the question of why do we let those who live along a public road limit how safe it will be? Isn’t safety more important than the opinions of some residents?

Apparently not yet in some parts of Southeast Oakland County.

Gran Fondo

The Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) will also be at the summit to discuss their Complete Streets planning effort and proposed race/ride on Woodward.

The ride and race event is called the Gran Fondo, and while the WA3 boards, MDOT and others support it, Royal Oak’s city manager has come out strongly opposing it. The police chief opposed the ride because motorists speed on Woodward, will get road rage, and senior church goers will be confused.

Modeshift has excellent coverage of the recent Gran Fondo discussion before the Royal Oak City Commission.

Royal Oak’s bicycle ban

While the Royal Oak Commission did not vote on the Gran Fondo, they did move towards banning bicycle riding on downtown sidewalks. What the Commission failed to discuss is why cyclists ride on the sidewalk to begin with. Mayor Jim Ellison was quite certain it was only because they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to.

Apparenty Royal Oak Commissioners don’t ride bicycle much downtown. If they did they’d know that the city’s streets are not comfortable to ride for a majority of bicyclists. They feel safer on the sidewalks. If they made any investments to make more bike friendly streets in the downtown, it would draw cyclists off the sidewalks.

Instead the City is proposing they invest in signs banning bicycles. We estimate it will take about 40 signs or roughly $6,000 to properly sign the downtown per state law requirements.

And contrary to what was said at the recent Royal Oak Commission, without these signs, the city’s ban on bicycle riding is not enforceable.

One thought we’ll share at the summit is these Southeast Oakland County communities are relatively more progressive than many of the other neighboring communities, but they’re much less progressive compared with the city of Detroit. For as much attention Detroit gets for having a “broken government” they are consistently more supportive and committed when it comes to being bike friendly.

Better for biking: Republican or Democrat?

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

We were recently asked which party is better for bicycling. As you might guess, the answer is “it depends.”

Generally speaking, over the past decade, Democrats have been more supportive of bicycling at the state and federal levels. ?At the National Bike Summit in DC, you can usually count on a friendly welcome with Senator Carl Levin or Congressman Gary Peters.

There certainly are Republican exceptions, of course.

Governor Rick Snyder seems to be a strong supporter of cycling. He seems to recognize it’s value from a tourism aspect as well as a means for attracting and retaining young adults. We’ll probably know more as he fleshes out his urban agenda over the coming months.

But perhaps an even bigger Republican bicycle supporter is U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. He’s really moved the conversation forward, tied it to livability, ?and given us “equal footing” in Washington DC. He vowed to retire as Secretary at the end of this presidential term, so it remains to be seen how his replacement will far. We’ve heard at least one very interesting rumor so far.

One thought to keep in mind is some Republican politicians support bicycling but are unwilling to support it at a federal or state level. I’ve heard it before that a politician supports bicycling but doesn’t think the federal government has a role. Or they are a supporter but not enough of one to buck the party vote. We’ve seen that too in Michigan.

So given the recent election results, we’re hopeful to see continued support for better, safer bicycling at the state and federal levels. It won’t be easy, but we could have been moving in a much more challenging direction.

We should also mention that the failure of State Proposal 6 decreases the potential headaches while building a new bridge to Canada, one that has bicycle access.

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)