This weekend (Saturday, September 20) brings thousands of bike riders to Detroit’s streets for the city’s largest cycling event, Tour de Troit. The weekend’s main event is a 30-mile, police-escorted ride through the city’s historic neighborhoods. For a limited number of seasoned cyclists, there is also a more challenging 62 mile route. The 30-mile route is closed to car traffic, so this is a great opportunity for casual cyclists to practice biking around the city, with the support and safety of other riders and a full police escort. For even those who are familiar with the city, it’s also a great way to see the city from a different point of view. Organizers report that participants in the past have enjoyed seeing some of Detroit’s top sites from a new perspective and getting to know other riders.
Tour de Troit’s mission is to promote and encourage bicycling and bicycle safety through education, public events, collaboration with community and government organizations, and support for non-motorized infrastructure. The event was conceived as a way to raise awareness of biking as a mode of transportation and to publicize the city’s growing greenways network. In the 13 years the organization has been hosting the event, it has grown from 50 riders in its first to year to the estimated 7,500 riders expected for this weekend’s event and has raised almost $200,000 towards non-motorized infrastructure in the city. The organization now hosts other similarly-minded events such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Bike Ride, Paczki Run, Run du Nain Rouge, and Cycle Into Spring.
This weekend’s event kicks off with breakfast and coffee in Corktown’s Roosevelt Park. This year’s tour starts out on Southwest Detroit’s streets visiting Clark Park and Fort Wayne Historic Site, before heading to the neighborhoods of Woodbridge and New Center. The loop then goes through Hamtramck, past the famed ruins of the Packard Plant, and through the historic Village neighborhoods of West Village and Indian Village. The ride loops around beautiful Belle Isle, before heading back through downtown and Corktown, and returning to Roosevelt Park. After the ride, participants are invited to a festival in the park complete with food from top local restaurants, locally-brewed beer, and live music!
The main ride will take off at 9 a.m. Registration will open at 7 a.m. Online registration is closed, but on-site registration will be available until the event is sold out. For non-riders, being a Tour de Troit volunteer is a great way to be a part of the fun. If you’re interested in volunteering, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.