First ever Detroit chicken races!

The first ever chicken races were held in Detroit on Sunday. Seventeen Detroit-based hens competed in the races.

The word  “competed” implies there was actually some racing. The chickens seemed rather indifferent. Now and then a couple birds sprinted, but at the end of the event, none reached the finish line.

Noting the chickens’ disinterest in the foot race, the race promoter wisely changed the rules so that the bird closest to the finish line after 3 minutes was declared the victor.

It was a great time, especially hearing the pre-race scuttlebutt from some of the chicken owners.

“She laid an egg this morning. That’s a great sign.”

“Dude, don’t smoke near my chicken! She’s gotta race.”

Although they didn’t win, Team Cluckstrong was among the more organized teams with T-shirts and Team Cluckstrong arm bands (and leg band for the bird.)

Overall, it was a great time — the silly side of urban ag.

Our Detroit chicken race photo gallery is on-line.

The Detroit News has more coverage of the event.

There’s also a Detroit Chicken Race page on Facebook.

And here’s a short, but interesting video from the Detroit Free Press.

Watch the video on the
Web site

Springtime big ride in Detroit

I took the fixie out last Sunday on a 50-miler around Detroit. There’s so much happening in the city, that my rides are often unplanned connections between events and sites.

The first stop Sunday was at the new Ferndale Bike Shop. Nice shop, good start. Jon Hughes (and family) is no stranger to bike shops. Is this the first bike shop in Ferndale? Is it in recent memory.

Next stop was the soon-to-be-demolished Romney family house in Palmer Woods. What a shame that such a house has fallen in such poor condition. One-time occupant Mitt Romney agrees but says it’s “sadder still to consider what has happened to the city of Detroit, which has been left hollow by fleeing jobs and liberal social policies.” Detroit has been left hollow by families moving to the northern suburbs, something Romney’s family did in 1954.

Once in Midtown, I checked the construction progress on the UCCA’s newest community garden project on John R and their greenway along Kirby.

Since the Tigers were playing, I made a quick pass by the park to get a score update. My normal stopping spot is now occupied with fenced in stadium smokers. Bummer, but at least the Tigers were still ahead.

Heading east, I sneaked through Flower Day at Eastern Market. The place was hopping with people, music, and, of course, flowers.

After a visit to the RiverWalk, Milliken State Park, the Wheelhouse Detroit, and a lap around Belle Isle, I headed home.

A great day. Another great ride.

Detroiters march against the Nain Rouge

You don’t believe a red dwarf has terrorized Detroit for over three centuries? It’s true. It’s in Wikipedia.

Starting in 1710, Detroiters marched to banish the Nain Rouge from the city — along with all the terrible events associated with him. For the past century, there was no march, but on Sunday — the 300th anniversary — we marched again.

Both the Time Magazine blog and Model D have good accountings of the event which saw 200 people march through the Cass Corridor.

Surprisingly enough, Mayor Dave Bing didn’t mention the Nain Rouge or his banishment during yesterday’s state of the city event. You’d think that was good news.

I’ve uploaded a modest photo gallery of the Nain Rouge march.

Happy Birthday, Babe!

Yesterday, February 6th was Babe Ruth’s birthday.

Now that’s not something I’d normally get excited about, but there is an annual birthday party for the slugger at Tom’s Tavern in Detroit.

This was my first time going, and the small bar was absolutely packed but friendly. The Stroh’s were cold. Everyone got a Babe birthday pin, too.

And here’s some interesting local history from the Babe Ruth article in Wikipedia:

Ruth’s name quickly became synonymous with the home run, as he led the transformation of baseball strategy from the “inside game” to the “power game”, and because of the style and manner in which he hit them. His ability to drive a significant number of his home runs in the 450–500 foot range and beyond resulted in the lasting adjective “Ruthian,” to describe any long home run hit by any player. Probably his deepest hit in official game play (and perhaps the longest home run by any player), occurred on July 18, at Detroit’s Navin Field, in which he hit one to straightaway center, over the wall of the then-single-deck bleachers, and to the intersection, some 575 feet from home plate.

That intersection is presumably what’s now Trumbull and the service drive. With Tiger stadium gone, it’s easier to visualize just how far that home run was.

Beers and Gears Detroit Bar Tour

Chilaxing at Coogan's Bar in Southwest DetroitSordid tales from last year’s ride and amazingly warm November weather led to a huge turnout for the Beers and Gears Detroit bar tour on Saturday.

Sixty-degree weather, thirty-eight riders, and six bars.

The first stop was the Lockerroom Lounge on Livernois near Curtis (6.5 mile.) Cleo was working behind the bar and was awesome. I’d already mentioned the music history behind this bar, including it being Bettye Lavette’s stomping grounds. As it turns out, her cousin was bellied up to the “dirty end” of the bar.

Bar number two was Abick’s in Southwest Detroit.  Without even a sign out front, many asked me how I’d ever found this place. The answer is this Neil Rubin article in the Detroit News. This bar was built in 1907. The proprietor is 86 year old Manya Abick who woke up early that morning to make chili for us. Abick’s certainly seemed to be the crowd favorite. It’s the perfect neighborhood pub.

After taking a photo with Manya behind the bar, one of our riders stepped on her cat, who let out a huge screetch.  Lila Lazarus, who was knitting at the bar, blurted out, “Had a great time until we killed the cat.”

Don’t worry. The cat was fine.

Next up was the nearby “Red’s” Coogan’s Bar which also had a Mexicana Cantina sign over the door.  A bar can’t have enough names. Gilbert served up some cold ones while some in the group went next door to El Rancho for margaritas.  Birkett played some Kid Rock on the jukebox, we finished our beers, rang the cow bell and head towards downtown.

Before the next bar, we rolled past the RiverWalk and then up the Dequindre Cut, a first for many on the ride.

Stop number four was Joey’s Meatcutters Inn or Cutter’s for short. They reportedly have the best angus burgers in town but I’m the wrong guy to vouch for that. The beers were distributed via ice buckets as some old-school Curtis Mayfield played in the background.

Next up was a beverage break at Hamtramck’s Whiskey in the Jar, formerly known as Mr. Joe’s back in the day. This was a quick stop as the sign was getting low on the horizon and not all of our group had lights.

We rode west on Caniff into a beautiful sunset.

The last official Detroit bar was the Dakota Rathskeller Inn on John R and… Dakota! This German bar is simply amazing. Again, with the daylight fading, we unfortunately couldn’t stay for long.

Heading up Woodward, our group split. A contingent went to the Stonehouse bar on Ralston near the State Fair. This was the final bar stop in last year’s tour.

We eneded up D’Amatos in Royal Oak. It’s ironic and frustrating that Royal Oak perhaps has more than it’s share of bars yet perhaps only one (Gus’) would be worthy of a stop on our beer tours. They lack the character, history, uniqueness, and grit of what we’d visited this year.

Yes, my bike tour photos are on this web site .  Andy Correll also posted some on Flickr as has Marielle Deighan.

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