Tag Archives: Advocacy

Upcoming Bike Advocacy Events in Detroit

On March 23, Jim Sayers, the executive director of Adventure Cycling Association — America’s largest cycling membership organization — will make a presentation on the joys of bicycle travel and cool projects happening at the national and state levels, including a new Underground Railroad alternate route through Michigan.

The event will run from 7 to 8:45 pm and will be held at the International Institute on E. Kirby.

Next up is a Complete Streets community education session on March 31 at the Gaelic League in Corktown. It runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and will be catered by Slows BBQ.

Richard Wooten from MSU-Extension will give an overview of Complete Streets, what they look like and how they benefit everyone.

It is hosted by the City of Detroit’s Department of Health and Wellness, and you should RSVP by March 25 to Myra at tettehm@detroitmi.gov.

Find out more about Complete Streets in Detroit here.

We hope to see you at one or both of the events!

How to (legally) install a bike rack

Since we talked about bike rack design last month, we’ve gotten lots of questions about bike rack installation. So here is a handy-dandy guide to petitioning the city for the legal installation of one on a sidewalk outside your business.

Copy the letter below and and fill it in with your info.

June 26, 2010

Detroit City Council
c/o City Clerk
Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
Room 200
Detroit, MI 48226

RE:   Petition for Right of Way Encroachment Approval to Establish / Install an Outdoor Patio / Bike Rack / Bench / Etc. along the Sidewalk on the east side of Woodward, between Temple and Charlotte submitted by Wheelhouse Detroit, LLC.

Dear Honorable City Council Members:

Wheelhouse Detroit is a bicycle shop offering new bike sales, retail, service, bicycle rentals and tours. It opened in 2008, and is the only full-service new bike shop in Greater Downtown Detroit. Wheelhouse currently operates from March through November in a small space located on the Detroit Riverwalk at Rivard Plaza.

This letter from Wheelhouse Detroit requests a petition number to grant approval for a right of way encroachment to install a bike rack along the sidewalk along the east side of Woodward Avenue, between Temple and Charlotte.

Attached you will find the specification cut sheet for the bike rack to be installed as well as a measured drawing indicating the as built location of the bike rack.  As the petitioner, Wheelhouse Detroit understands if the right of way encroachment is approved, Wheelhouse Detroit must enter into a maintenance agreement with the City of Detroit to accept liability for the encroachment and ensure the proper maintenance of the rack.

Please feel free to contact me at 313.656.2453 should you require any additional information in order to proceed.  Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Wheelhouse Detroit

Attachments: The cut sheet isn’t necessary, but a site plan is — you’ll just need a measured drawing that shows the building, where the fence for the patio or the bike rack will be installed, where the right of way is (sidewalk, street, property line). For this, it doesn’t need to be to scale, but it should indicate the measurements. Maybe throw in some photos of the site.

You submit the package to the City Clerk and in about 2 to 3 weeks you’ll get a petition number and someone from the City will contact you, more than likely the Survey Bureau from the Department of Public Works. They will assist you in processing your request, but they need a petition number to start.

Again, feel free to contact us at info@wheelhousedetroit.com for advice or assistance. We love seeing bike racks sprouting up around town, especially when they are done well!

Short but sweet Complete Streets update

Thanks to League of Michigan Bicyclists and other coalition members for their efforts on garnering support for Complete Streets at the State legislative level. Check out their latest recap here.

June notes

Red Bull Air Races necessitates our closure from Thursday, June 3 through Sunday, June 6. We will reopen Monday, June 7 at 10 a.m.

Our friend Steve Roach with the League of Michigan Bicyclists asked us to pass the word along on a hearing in Grosse Pointe about bike lanes. Here are the details:
Designated Bike Routes in the Pointes: Open Community Forum for the GP Chamber’s Live Well in GP Designated Bike Routes Initiative
Wednesday, June 9
6:30 -7:30 p.m.
Connelly Auditorium @ Beaumont Hospital, 468 Cadieux, Grosse Pointe.
For more information, please contact the G P Chamber 313 881-4722 or www.grossepointechamberofcommerce.org

There will be another hearing for Complete Streets up in Lansing on June 10. Our friends with the coalition are doing great work, but make sure your legislator knows that his or her constituents support this. There are organizations pushing hard against it, so we need to remain vocal. Follow their work here.

Our June tours feature some old favorites (Eastern Market, Architecture, Grandmont Rosedale and Creekside) as well as some newbies (Gallery Scene, Family, Public Art). They are starting to fill up, so check your calendar and choose one for the month! Read more and register here.

Hope everybody had a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Ride of Silence 05/19 + Bike to Work Day 05/21

This year’s Detroit Ride of Silence will take off from Scott Fountain on Belle Isle at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 19. This slow paced, silent ride will commemorate cyclists that have been injured or killed while biking.

Friday, May 21, is Bike to Work Day. Detroit Synergy’s Detroit Bikes! is hosting the event, which has three options, all of which end Downtown at Campus Martius:

  • Ride 1: Woodward Ave ride (Royal Oak/Ferndale/Midtown)
  • Ride 2: Jefferson (Grosse Pointe/East Side/Rivertown)
  • Ride 3: Michigan Ave ride (Dearborn/Mexicantown)

Find out more here.

Bike racks on the brain

As Detroit becomes more bike friendly, more and more businesses and institutions are installing bike racks — which is great, no doubt about it. What is frustrating, though, is to see funds and good intent wasted when, simply put, the bike rack is not functional. This occurs when the rack is poorly designed or poorly placed.

The sad thing is that it is not inherently more expensive to buy a properly designed rack, or even build one. A great example of a do-it-yourself rack is at the Woodbridge Pub. It uses varying lengths of metal pipe and couplers for a functional rack that even has a cool industrial look to it.

There are several standard racks that are great: The post and loop, which you can find at Mudgie’s Deli and the simple inverted-U, which can be seen below.

Landscape Forms, which is a Michigan-based company, makes a couple of very functional racks with pleasant designs. The Pi is a take on the inverted-U and the Bicilinea is based on a design you might see employed in Europe. We really like how the angle makes it easier for many frame sizes to lock up to the rack.
Another great basic design can be seen right here at Rivard Plaza. (Not at all our doing!) There are lots of them, they are well-spaced and well-placed! This rack is a step up from the inverted-U and the post and loop because the angle, like the Bicilinea above, accommodates many different sizes and shapes of frames. They do take up more room though, so if space is limited go for the inverted-U or post and loop, which are both perfectly adequate.

Onto the bad. The wave rack, which can be found everywhere. Why is it bad? Unlike the inverted-U, there is only one possible connection point to the frame of a bike. The frame is the point, people. It’s the most valuable part of a bike.

The worst bike rack of all is the classic “comb” rack, the kind you probably used at elementary school. There’s one of these at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center as well as at the Broadway People Mover Station. There is no place to lock a U-lock to, except at either end, and all the interior spots are great — if all you care about is your front wheel. Say no to comb!

Here are some links that talk about good and bad examples of racks, they really help you get the idea.





One last quick note. Designing your own rack, whether to save money or to add a creative bent to a functional item, is awesome. And totally encouraged. Just make sure to consider the goal of the end object: something to lock a bike to. If that sounds obvious, well, you should see some of the racks out there. They look rad, but if you can’t lock your bike to it, it’s just an ornamental sculpture. A prominent example of artsy racks can be found in NYC, where David Byrne, an avid cyclist, designed nine iconic racks. That, importantly, also work.

If you are thinking about installing a rack – yay! – swing by the shop or shoot an email to info@wheelhousedetroit.com. Kelli and Karen have tons of information on styles, specs and prices.

Lucinda Means Advocacy Day

If you are all fired up about making streets safer for cyclists, consider heading to Lansing on May 26 for Lucinda Means Advocacy Day. League of Michigan Bicyclists hosts a day of meeting with lawmakers and, of course, a bike ride! It costs $10 and starts at 8:30 a.m.

The tentative schedule is:

8:30 am – Bike rally leaves from MSU Bikes to State Capitol
9:15 am – Opening session
10:15 am – Meetings with Representatives and Senators
1:00 pm – Lunch on Capitol grounds
2:00 pm – Group photo on Capitol steps
2:30 pm – Lansing by bicycle tour

This year, LMB is joining forces with Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance and Michigan Mountain Biking Association for a triple team of bike-related issues.

Find out more and register here.

Misc. Bloggage

Just a few notes for the week:

  • We are launching a Featured Item of the Week that will be broadcast to our Facebook Fans. The item will be on sale and will be a product that we heartily recommend — as in, we use it and believe in it. This week it’s a light set, but you have to become our Fan to get all the deets!
  • Ladies, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals has launched a survey called “Writing Women Back into Bicycling: Changing Transportation Culture to Encourage More Women to Cycle More Places More Often.” Here’s what they have to say:
  • While it is an exciting time in the U.S. as many new bicycling projects are being installed, women continue to participate in bicycling at lower rates than men.  We are conducting a survey of women and girls  to hear from them about the many possible factors influencing their cycling decisions.  Take the survey (open until May 15, 2010 – women and girls only please) at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/womencycling. We would like to hear from non-cyclists as well as current and past cyclists.  Final results will be available after May 15, during National Bike Month.

  • We got some nice coverage in Real Detroit Weekly!
  • Extensive bike riding in a city that centers around the fundamental tenets of car manufacturing is, of course, no small feat of accomplishment. But encouraging riding as a form of personal transportation and fostering a more healthy community identity are some of the core principles practiced by the owners of Wheelhouse Detroit, along with the shop’s devoted following of wheelie worshiping disciples. The Detroit biking tours, especially, are a landmark way for Detroit area dwellers to step off the confines of their front porches and really take in the classic, pristine beauty of some of Detroit’s forgotten architectural majesty.

    Check it out here.

We Support Complete Streets

Detroit’s relatively well-maintained wide roads, built for a much-larger population, mean that Motor City cyclists have it relatively easy. We get to cruise down streets with nary a car in sight oftentimes! But that doesn’t mean that things can’t be better. Complete Streets are those that are designed so that they are safe for cyclists, pedestrians and the handicapped — not just for moving the maximum number of cars at a time.

This brochure breaks down the concept pretty clearly: cs-brochure-features

The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition is working to make this concept a reality statewide, meaning that any road built or even rebuilt would align with the Complete Streets model. This weekend is the Michigan Bike Summit, pushing this issue is at the top of cycling advocates’ agenda. Can’t make it to Lansing on Saturday? You can still support safer roadways by signing the petition.

Bike Summit 2010

Kelli attended the 2010 Bike Summit in Washington, DC last week and came back brimming with ideas from around the country. A random sampling of thoughts and ideas…

(Kelli on a pedicab on Capitol Hill!)

  • Revolution Cycles in DC has added a fourth location that functions as bike share, rentals, service and retail accessories. It was interesting to hear a larger retailer talk about rentals turning more people into cyclists, ultimately helping his business. We would concur!
  • Learned a bit about the cycling commuter tax benefit, although more research is in order. Certainly, our employees would qualify…
  • Adventure Cycling, an organization we first encountered last year when they came to town to discuss the Underground Railroad Cycling Route they are working on, talked about cycling tourism as a growing industry. This is a concept we are really trying to nudge our Convention & Visitors Bureau to “get.” So far, not a whole lotta luck, but we’ll keep plugging away.
  • Quebec’s La Route Verte bicycle route looks amazing. Road trip 2011?
  • The Michigan delegation at the summit, which included — among others — Todd Scott of Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, John and Wes from PEAC, John Lindenmeyer from League of Michigan Bicyclists, Rory Neuner from Safe Routes to School and two guys from Copper Harbor that are building an amazing trail system up there in the UP, spent a day meeting with staffers from the offfices of Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow as well as members of Congress. We discussed Complete Streets and other issues near and dear to our hearts, and heard many comments about how much more sophisticated and persuasive the bike lobby has become over the last decade.
  • All in all, it was a great experience. Special thanks to the National Bicycle Dealers Association for the new bike shop scholarship that afforded Kelli the trip!