My 12 Most Memorable Rides of 2007

I don’t recall ever having so many memorable rides in one year. Maybe I’ve been too caught up in training rather than just riding. Maybe I just haven’t been as adventurous riding around town. Maybe it’s because I’m older.

No matter what the reason, I had a wealth of memorable rides last year. Rides that have stuck with me, changed me. Rides that give me a little flush of adrenalin just replaying them in my head. Rides that make me feel fortunate.

Before getting to the top 12, I need to start with a couple honorable mentions. First, I was riding north of Old Tiger Stadium in the North Corktown neighborhood when I heard goats. I swung the bike around and there was a yard with a half dozen pygmy goats, some white geese, roosters, and more. The goats came over one by one and greeted me. A couple of them began sparring over a used Cheetos bag that had blown into their pen. What an unexpected find on an ordinary ride in a major urban city.

But sadly enough, the goats are now gone. The bare dirt in their pen area is now covered with weeds. A neighbor and the nearby party store owner don’t know where they went.

The other honorable mention was a ride to the CityFest on the Boulevard. I was walking near the Fisher Building in full-on cycling/clown gear when I see Martha Reeves. I stopped to talk with her and thank her for all the great Motown hits. I just happened to have watched her Nowhere to Run video on YouTube that same week, so she talked about how that came about.

I swear I’m not doing this on purpose, but this is the third major musical artist I’ve met while in cycling gear. The others being Isaac Hayes and the Marvelettes (“You’re dressed up like that Lance guy.”)

#12. Kona Detroit Ride

Dale Plant, our Kona Rep. comes to town each year and we take him on a urban adventure with the good folks from the Kona Midwest team. This year we spent a lot of time riding in the Dequindre Cut and Riverwalk. We even got a tour of the Boblo boat. Bryan Mitchell is a pro photographer and took many great shots of the ride.

# 11. Milford Mega-Ride

Actually the ride was the Milford Trail Challenge. It’s organized by Bill Hermann, who has just done an amazing amount of work on the trails in and around Milford. He was the lead developer of the Milford Trail just outside of the downtown. So, I rode to the event from Royal Oak, road the Milford Trail then drank a cool pint in town. (Bill made me.) I headed out to ride all of Highland, Proud Lake, Hickory Glen, then back home. All in all it was 108 miles in some beautiful Michigan weather on some beautiful Michigan singletrack.

Black Eyed Skeez

#10. Gleaner’s Ride

Jack Van Dyke organized a very cool November ride between a handful of Detroit grocery stores where we bought canned goods for Gleaners Community Food Bank. I started in Royal Oak and rode to Hamtramck to pick up roller derby star, Black Eyed Skeez. We headed down to the ride at Eastern Market. The weather was crummy, chilly, overcast, misty, but it didn’t slow us down. We filled our backpacks with cans of beans, tuna, and more beans. Some girl scouts at University foods convinced me to buy their fundraiser peanuts. The rain picked up as the group ride ended, so Skeez and I biked over to Harry’s for food, coffee drinks, Red Stripe and to watch the Michigan/OSU football game on the big screen. The rain stopped, we rode home, and I found myself in a well-deserved nap. Photo gallery

#9. Detroit Fireworks

Our annual ride from Royal Oak to the River to watch the fireworks was extra special this year. We rolled out of 48073 and headed south, picking up friends in Ferndale and Corktown. We swung by a party in front of the Kern’s Building in Grand Circus Park. The hosts coerced us into drinking some quirky adult beverages. Wanting more, we rode to a party store in Greektown on our way to the Boblo boat. We got a quick tour of the boat before pulling up chairs on the deck to watch the fireworks. I won’t lie, it wasn’t optimal. The wind was blowing the smoke towards us and obscuring the fireworks. Still, we had a great time, hopped back on our bikes and rode frenetically through the crowds on our way to the Detroit Beer Company. As we learned later, we even made it briefly on TV as we rode past a reporter.

Boblo boat returns#8. Racing the Ste. Claire

This was perhaps my most spontaneous ride. The Boblo boat Ste. Claire was being towed up the Detroit River to be moored at Tri-Centennial State Park. As I about to leave work, I looked at the web cam that was on the boat. I could just see the Ambassador bridge. Rather than bike home, I headed south to the river. I was racing to get there in time, hustling down Woodward, then Oakland, then Dequindre. I got to the state park just in time. The boat was pulling in before an excited and nostalgic crowd. “(Your love keeps lifting me) Higher and Higher” by Jackie Wilson was blasting from the boat. So many of the folks greeting the Ste. Claire were full of good memories and willing to share them. It was a great place to be. Photo gallery

#7. Java Junket

Detroit Synergy puts on a lot of great bike rides, but this one was extra cool. Maybe it was the caffeine. We visited many of the locally owned coffee shops in Downtown Detroit, Midtown, and Hamtramck, including the Amsterdam Cafe, Tech Town, Cafe 1923, Jazzy Cafe and Beans and Bytes. Cafe 1923 gave us a tour and a great deal on hot cider, fruit, and bagels. What a great collection of unique Detroit coffee shops.

#6. Ride to Toledo

For a long time I’ve wanted to bike to Toledo but I never really had a special reason to go. This year I did. The Detroit Derby Girls were in a parade on Toledo’s north side. I left the house just before sunrise and headed south through Detroit then jumped on Fort Street. I basically took that until it ended and jumped onto Dixie Highway. Most of the roads were great for biking due to the lower weekend traffic and the paved shoulders. The only bad portion was trying to share the road south of Monroe. It was only 70-some miles and I got there right as the parade started. Afterwards I hitched a ride home with the girls. Photo Gallery

Richard Scott biking near Belle Isle#5. Dad’s Downtown Ride

This summer I took my dad on a bike ride around Downtown. We started at Avalon Bakery and went all around town. We rode through the Heidelberg Project and heard a live turkey in some nearby bushes. We found my parent’s original apartment building not far from the Macarthur Bridge. They lived there in 1961, which is also the last time my dad had been on Belle Isle. We did a quick lap around then rode the Riverwalk. We even took a spin on the Rivard Plaza carousel. Photo Gallery

#4. Tour de Troit

This ride has such humble beginnings. In the early days it was just a small group of cyclists trying to stay together while riding across the city. Now it’s a huge group of cyclists still trying to stay together but now with the help of a police escort. The registration limit of 600 cyclists was easily reached. There was probably another 100 or so that just joined in. My Dad and I rode this together along with a lot of other friends. There was great food from Slow’s at the finish.

#3. Highland park Slushies

I ride through Highland Park often. I don’t make a habit of stopping. There are a lot of rundown, burnt, and boarded up housing along Second and Third Avenues. It just doesn’t feel safe to me. Once while riding down Third at Puritan this summer, a bunch of young girls yelled that I had to stop for a smoothie. As a rule, I always stop at lemonade stands — I couldn’t say no to a smoothie. I must say, it was a darn good smoothie. While drinking it, this group of girls were asking questions (“What’s that boo boo from?”) and telling me about their bikes. The only time they stopped talking was when a car approached and they had to make their smoothie sales pitch. According to their mom, the money they made was to help pay for a family reunion. I came back a couple weeks later for another purchase. One of the girls said, “Do you remember? You were here before for a smoothie.” Yeah, I remember. Highland Park feels a bit safer now.

#2. Our Never ending Detroit Ride

It started on a Friday after work and I got home 135 miles later on Saturday afternoon. Our small group of endurance nuts (Alex, Jim, Mike and I) crisscrossed all across Detroit. Our ride included UDM’s annual student ride. We ate meals at Honest John’s, Lafayette Coney Island, and Toast. We visited and met with the creators of Theatre Bizarre and the Hamtramck Disneyland. We did laps around the old Dorais velodrome. We even spent the night sleeping outdoors on top of the Park Shelton Building. It was a long, carefree ride that, like many of my rides, ended in a long nap at home.

#1. Windmills of your Mind

It was during a Detroit Synergy ride and I was a rear sweeper. Our ride regrouped in front of the Detroit Institute of Arts then slowly pulled out as one again. I noticed a woman sitting waving as we left so I rode near her to do the same and noticed she was wiping away tears. I stopped and asked if everything was okay and she told me her story. She was sitting on the bench singing the “Windmills of your Mind” to herself when our bike group pulled up. She was overwhelmed with emotion. When she was a child, she hurt her eye which limited her vision. Her mom became very protective of her and never let her learn how to ride a bike. She was now in her 50’s I guessed. When she saw our colorful cycling clothes and the apparent fun we were having, she so badly to join us. I kept repeating “it’s not too late to learn” but I’m not sure what happened. I deeply regret not getting this woman’s contact info and promising her bike lessons, but the bike group had long since pulled out and if I didn’t leave, they’d lose me. I did put Windmills of your Mind on my iPod and when it played during my Leadville 100 run, I just choked up. I am so fortunate having the opportunity to participate in these events and rides. So fortunate.

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