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Tour De Troit

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Every year, towards the end of the summer season, Michiganders flock far and wide to Detroit to celebrate their love for cycling. The city where the automobile  turned its first wheels also holds the state’s biggest bicycle event. With the first Tour De Troit holding only 50 riders, it’s a huge celebration for their 12th year, bringing more then 6,000 cycling enthusiasts to Roosevelt Park in Corktown.

You can pick from two different rides, a 30-mile ride and a 62-mile ride. With this type of layout riders are able to draw from two major biking crowds, the die hard, spandex wearing, $5,000 bike riders to the causal, ride my bike once a summer type. The first two groups that leave early in the morning all opt for the 62-mile ride, which is separated into 15 MPH and 18 MPH categories. The 30-mile group slowly gathers and leaves the park at about 9 am.

I was volunteering for the day through my job at Wheelhouse Detroit, a bike shop located on the Riverfront. This past summer I became intertwined in this mass uproar of biking, popping up all around the city and embracing a community that is making moves for Detroit. Being able to volunteer for the Tour De Troit and helps show riders what this city has to offer was a true blessing.

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Taking off on a bike ride with thousands of people sounds like a hectic process because it is, but thanks to generous volunteers, the ride started off smoothly. At first I felt trapped, with bikers all around me, one small crack or slip up not only would I be down for the count, but I’d probably take at least 20 other people with me. As the ride carried on though, we came to main roads which were four lanes wide and blocked off from cars thanks to the awesome officers from the Detroit Police Department.

The ride takes you all around the Detroit area and what was interesting to see was all the riders who had no idea that spots like this were a part or the city. We rode all around from New Center, Woodbridge, Indian Village, the Packard Plant and before you knew it, you are cruising across the MacArthur Bridge, the same bridge where Harry Houdini performed one of his famous escape acts over 100 years ago. When you get onto Belle Isle, there are more volunteers waiting for you with snacks and water for a quick break before you made your way around the island and back to Roosevelt park.

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Arriving back at the park I was greeted with two necessary items after a long bike ride: food and beer. Local food for eager stomachs came from Honey Bee Market, Slows Bar B Q, and Amicci’s Pizza, and the beer was provided from Millking It Production. It was a marvelous welcome. It was also nice to see the use of local products and businesses at the end of the event. Not only does this help the city by putting money back into its businesses, but it engages the riders who do not live downtown. Most of them barley make it downtown and if they are coming to play, its usually for a sporting event or concert. It’s events like the Tour De Troit that are making headway for positive actions in the city instead of the derogatory manifestations that have been broadcasted across screens around the world.

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