Photo courtesy of Jason Hall
Detroit Slow Roll
Three years ago, it was a weekly bike ride with about five people. Today, hundreds of riders show up every Monday throughout the summer for Detroit’s Slow Roll, a free group ride founded by business partners Jason Hall and Mike MacKool. In total, Slow Roll draws more than 8,000 people every summer.
The Slow Roll is about connecting a hugely diverse group of people with a common interest. “Everyone is welcome to the Slow Roll. We want people who are invested in the ride and our city so we can build the community,” said Hall. “And we respect each other. I say to people, ‘this is your ride. If you see someone litter, say something.’ We talk to drivers. We have a code of conduct that we follow on the ride.”
Hall and MacKool lead by example and have big goals. Not only do they want to promote the health benefits of riding, they also want to improve Detroit and contribute to its bike culture. In 2011, they started an annual bike swap and expo that, just like the Slow Roll, would appeal to people of all riding styles. Now in its third year, the Detroit Bike City EXPO is expanding to a four-day event, mainly due to the success of the Slow Roll and the dedication of Hall and MacKool.
Slated for March 27-30, 2014, North American Bicycle Week (NABW) will be packed with bike-friendly events. On the schedule are numerous day and evening rides geared for people of all ages, experience levels, and riding styles; demos from industry heavy hitters such as Trek; presentations and open forum discussions on regional and national policies that affect the bike industry; and ample opportunity to socialize, eat, drink, and listen to live music. And of course the Detroit Bike City EXPO, which expects to draw about 4,000 visitors this year.
So what makes this show different?
NABW isn’t geared to one particular style of riding; all different types of bikes and riding will be represented throughout the four days. “This is an event for every type of bicycle and cyclist alike. It’s the event made for people who ride bikes,” Hall went on to say. “Come here and see what riding with people of all colors and ages is like. See what Detroit is all about. Experience it.”
North American Bicycle Week: March 27-30; multiple hours, events, and locations. Check out the full schedule at detroitbikecity.org
Detroit Bike City EXPO: March 29; 10 am to 6 pm; Wayne Hall at COBO Center, 1 Washington Boulevard, Detroit; $12 admission (kids under 12 free); bike valet parking available.
Where to Stay
The closest hotel to the EXPO location is the Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront; their website shows room still available starting around $116 per night. Click here for other hotels around the Cobo Center.
A less expensive option includes Hostel Detroit, about two miles from the Cobo Center with lots of rooming options. Reservations include access to their on-site, $20 per day bike rental. Single beds in a semi-private room start around $30 per night; a shared private room with a double bed is $52 per night. (They don’t accept walk-ins, so reserve ahead of time.)
By bike: Valet parking is available at the Cobo Center. For a bike map of downtown Detroit and bike rack locations visit m-bike.org
By Detroit’s People Mover: Hop on the People Mover, a light rail system, to get around downtown. There’s a stop inside the Cobo Conference/ Exhibition Center, third floor near Congress Street. $0.75 per ride. Click here for a station-to-station guide.
Hours of operation: Monday-Thursday 6:30 am to midnight; Friday 6:30 am to 2 am; Saturday 9 am to 2 am; Sunday noon to midnight.
Suzanne is a writer, designer, and photographer. In any spare moment, she can usually be found riding and taking photographs in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. Her unique perspective often brings focus to street art and the beauty of an urban landscape as only can be viewed from a bike. She embraces all types of cycling, and rides a road bike, a commuter, a vintage Peugeot, and her latest find: a 1975 Schwinn Breeze. Suzanne is also a contributing writer for lovingthebike.com and Foodable WebTV Network. Twitter: @soozed Flickr: soozed LinkedIn: Suzanne Deveney