Detroit Bike Life
by Todd Scott, Executive Director, Detroit Greenways Coalition
Originally published in DetroitIsIt, October 31, 2019
Bike lanes cut against the sidewalks, connecting the farthest reaches of the city to its towering downtown. This is a city with a culture of people proud of their bikes. Hot Rod Glamour begs the question of who’s in charge of the roads these days. Go for a ride and see what cycling does for a city like Detroit. Sprawling roadways with intersecting neighborhoods throughout the highways have made safety of little concern.
Biking is at the intersection of Detroit’s past and future. A city long-ruled by favoritism to cars moved into the middle of the 20th century with strife and civil unrest. The aftereffect of which removed purchasing power, business ownership, and even the ability to buy cars for what’s been hovering around 1 in 4 Detroiters.
Since a quarter of people living in Detroit can’t afford to own a car or just don’t want to, something different has come from the city’s self-reliant mentality. A long timeline of disinvestment in the city brought the need to make getting to work easy. “To make it a cool thing,” said ’40’ Hardaway, leader of one of Detroit’s many, now thriving, bike clubs.
Detroit’s bike scene has been covered around the world. Bikes have been photographed for British Newspapers, flown into Berlin art galleries, and brought to nationwide bike gatherings in Las Vegas, Nevada – one in particular called “One Big Club.” It’s captivated people beyond the City of Detroit with lights, streetwise style and strong community elements that are all proof the bike scene is here to stay in the revitalization of Detroit.