Cyclists and pedestrians will soon have an easier time getting around Detroit.
What was once abandoned railroad track will become 7.5 miles of paved trails for biking and walking. The city used $4.3 million in state grants to purchase 76 acres of land from the Conrail railroad company.
The new trail will help fill the biggest gap in the city’s Inner Circle Greenway, a 26-mile loop of bike lanes and trails encircling the city.
For decades, hunting and fishing would have been among the top answers.
But times change, and Michigan needs to retool the way it's pitching its outdoor charms.
Ted Roelofs looks at selling the Michigan outdoors to a new generation in his latest piece for Bridge Magazine. He joined us today to take a look at how the outdoor sports scene is changing in Michigan.
It appears old man winter is finally loosening his grip on Michigan. (Dare I type that sentence?)
With temperatures close to the 50s over the weekend, some folks may have busted out the grill. I dug around my shed and got my bike out.
My office in Grand Rapids is only about a mile and a half away from my house. But it costs $14 a day to park there. It makes sense most days to commute on my bike.
But I don't bike to work in the winter. I’m just not that hardcore. The black ice, the wind chill, it’s daunting. I already hate driving in the snow. I can’t imagine riding my bike in it. I just can’t.
But people do it. Maybe you’ve seen them around your town? They’ve got those weird fat tire bikes and full face masks with icicle mustaches. They’re crazy, right?
Bike share programs are not a new concept – there are successful bike share programs in major cities all throughout the world. If you travel around North America, you'll find citywide bike share programs in Chicago, New York, Boston, Austin, Des Moines, Denver, Boulder, D.C., Madison (WI), Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, Columbus, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Baltimore, the Bay Area, Toronto, and Montreal, among others.
At the end of September the new ArborBike bike share program in downtown Ann Arbor debuted, becoming the first and currently only public bike share program in southeastern Michigan.
More communities in Michigan are embracing bike lanes.
Grand Rapids plans to add 40 more miles of bike lanes in the next few years. Detroit has an aggressive approach to implementing them and they're popping up in places like Adrian and South Haven, not to mention the biking hot spots of Traverse City and Marquette.
New Michigan legislation would allow bikes and motorcycles to run red lights.
Many two-wheeled vehicles, like bicycles, motorcycles and mopeds, aren't heavy enough to trigger traffic sensors. The bill would require cyclists to wait for 60 seconds to show that their vehicle is not triggering a green light. After one minute, cyclists would wait for traffic to clear before proceeding.
Dwayne Gill is a legislative liason for the State Police.
"It's giving the green light to run a red light for those types of vehicles," Gill said. "A driver in a car may see that and want to go through a red light, too. It sets up a very dangerous situation and a dangerous precedent."
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee would vote on the bill next week.
An interview with John Lindenmayer, the advocacy and policy director for the League of Michigan Bicyclists.
Whether it’s commuters who are sick of rising gas prices, the hipsters moving into urban areas, or empty-nester baby boomers seeking fitness, the bicycle is growing in popularity. Cycling tripled nationwide from 1990 to 2009, and that growing popularity is reflected here in Michigan.
But it's not just riding for fun or fitness. Cycling can impact the way our communities look, and impact policy and infrastructure at the state and local level, as well.
John Lindenmayer, the advocacy and policy director for the League of Michigan Bicyclists, joined us in the studio.
Students across Michigan hopped on their bikes this morning, in celebration of the country’s second annual Bike to School Day. According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, more than 80 Michigan schools geared up for the two-wheeled holiday, up from 45 schools in 2012.
Bike to School Day rolls around just days after the League of American Bicyclists released their report on the most bike-friendly states in the country. Michigan earned a spot in the top twenty, falling in 12th place on the group’s survey. In the Midwest region, Michigan was ranked fourth.
That's basically the goal of Tour de Troit, an event happening this Saturday. That's when thousands of cyclists will take over the streets of Detroit and discover the pleasures of big-city biking during a thirty-mile ride.
Bill Lusa is the director of Tour de Troit.
Cyndy talked to Lusa about what's happening this Saturday?
This year the streets are completely closed to automobile traffic throughout the route, giving participants the opportunity to ride streets freely with other bicyclists Lusa said.
Last Sunday afternoon, Kris McNeal, 26, and Zach Chase, 25, rode their bikes into Duluth, Minnesota after a more than 5,300 mile bike ride around the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The duo had previously completed a 1,700-mile trip from Seattle to Mexico, but that seems like child's play compared to this 97-day long trip.
Averaging about six hours of riding per day, McNeal and Chase covered between 60 and 70 miles before making camp each night. They got their first flat tire after 3,000 miles and ended up having 15 flats by the end of the trip.
Hundreds, if not thousands of bicyclists in Michigan are expected to take part in a ride of silence tonight. The international ride of silence honors those who’ve been injured or killed riding their bikes. The rides all start at 7p local time.
The event is in memory of a cyclist who died in 2003 in Texas when he was clipped by the side mirror of a moving bus.
Tom Tilma heads the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition… which is organizing one of the rides. He says cyclists and drivers are making progress, but both need to be better at sharing the road to make it safer for everyone.
"I think cyclists are learning to follow the rules of the road more. I’m seeing more cyclists waiting for the red light to turn green before we go through the intersection. That’s very important we think. And we’re seeing more drivers chill out and not follow cyclists so close,” Tilma said.
The ride of silence coincides with national ride your bike to work week.
A series of bicycle lanes stretching 16 miles and connecting three neighborhoods in southwest Detroit has been completed. The Greenlink is part of the city's urban master plan for non-motorized transportation and allows bike riders safe access to the three historic neighborhoods.
A $500,000 Michigan Department of Transportation grant funded 80 percent of the project. Other grants and fundraisers paid for the other 20 percent.
Thousands of bikers are expected on Detroit streets Saturday for the 10th annual “Tour de Troit.”
Most of them will take part in a 22-mile, police-escorted tour that explores a different part of Detroit’s historic landscape every year. This year, it will kick off in the shadow of the Michigan Central Station, the hulking former train depot that’s sat empty for more than 20 years (there’s also a 62-mile loop for more adventurous bikers).
It's not the post-apocalyptic competition featured in the Mel Gibson movie.
Instead of "two men enter, one man leaves" ...
It's more like "around 100 men and/or women enter, around 100 men and/or women leave... perhaps with some scrapes and bruises."
A write up on this wild, anarchic race is featured on the Changing Gears website by WBEZ's Robin Amer.
Robin writes about how the organizers unearthed an abandoned velodrome in Detroit's Dorais Park:
It was literally unearthed by one of the city’s vigilante lawn-mower gangs — people who mow the lawns at city parks because the city cannot afford to do so. The velodrome, on the city’s east side, was repaired by racing enthusiasts who cut down trees growing in its center and invested thousands of dollars of their own money and over 4,000 lbs of concrete fixing its surface. And now, it has come back to life as home to a variety of competitions.
When asked who the sanctioning body for this race is, organizer Andy Didorosi replied:
We are. We're the only sanctioning body in the world for zany two-wheeled party racing on abandoned Velodromes. :) Sanctioning bodies are silly.
Here's a video of last year's race. I like how the victor, instead of doing a lap with a checkered flag, does a lap with a torn-off portion of a Pabst Blue Ribbon box.
Riding a bicycle is a classic part of childhood. But plenty of kids don’t have bikes. One program in Kalamazoo teaches kids simple bike maintenance and at the end of the program, kids get their own bike. But the people who run the Open Roads workshop say the heart of the program is about teaching basic social skills.