Monday, May 13, 2013

Get Your Slow Roll On

A few years ago I experienced my first Tour de Troit. Two of my brothers and I drove down to the city at the crack of dawn and joined thousands of other riders to venture throughout Detroit on our bikes. This experience was fun and exhilarating. To ride through the city and see people, places and things that I don't usually see was eye opening and fun. My only complaint was that this event only took place once a year. There was so much more that I wanted to explore and its is much more fun and much safer to ride with a group.

Shortly after wishing for more rides in the city I learned about Detroit Bike City and their weekly ride called Slow Roll. Unlike Tour de Troit, Slow Roll is not a big corporate event that you must pay to be a part of. Slow roll is a weekly ride put together by Detroit Bike City that encourages people to come out and ride around the city with a big group of people and see people, places and things that they might not usually see. It is family friendly and rides at a steady pace so that no one will feel left out.

The idea is that the group takes off from a bar or restaurant in the city and rides around looking at some of the landmarks of Detroit. Then, after the ride is over, they all head back to the meeting spot for some drinks, food and camaraderie. It started with about 40-50 people and has turned into over 200 people meeting and riding weekly. They will be hosting rides all summer and each week they take off from a different location. To keep up on their plans you can go the their website and check out the calendar here. In the meantime, we sat down with Detroit Bike City and had them fill us in on all the details. Hope to see all of you at the next ride!

Hip In Detroit- Why did you start Slow Roll? When was the first roll? What is the basic idea of the event? 
DBC- "We started Slow Roll in Spring 2011 as a means to connect with other riders. Once we saw that we had an audience we thought why not take advantage of that and use that show people Detroit and what we felt like the real story is about our great city. Since then we've used it as a means to help repopulate the city by showing people the real community and beauty in the neighborhoods."

Hip In Detroit- Where does the ride start and where does it end? What time do you usually take off?
DBC- "The ride meets at rotating Detroit venues like Sugarhouse, Rodin and Lagerhouse at 7pm and leaves at 7:30pm, returning to the venue for a free after party with live entertainment and food and drinks specials catered specially for our riders."

Hip In Detroit- How many people usually ride? What's the most you have ever had? Is this family friendly or mostly young adults?
DBC- "This season has been amazing! We started our first week with 40 by week 6 we had 275+ and we expect to keep growing. Theres several reasons we believe our ride has grown so fast. First off we are 100% family friendly. We pride ourselves on being safe and keeping a decent pace so that everyone can feel comfortable riding with us. We aslo work very hard a providing information and educating riders on proper laws and how to interact with traffic."

Hip In Detroit- Does the ride cost anything?
DBC- "Our ride is 100% free! It's really just a ride where you see the route and choose to come. We dont sell tickets or make any profit off of this. It's just our way of giving back to the great city we love. If one person moves here because of Slow Roll then we've done our job."

Hip In Detroit- What should a first time rider bring to join the group? Any special items or suggestions to make for a better ride?
DBC- "The first time rider should bring a helmet, a light kit, a good assortment of tubes and patch kits for light repair on their bike if needed. They should also bring the willingness to listen and learn the proper way to ride in a group."

Hip In Detroit- Do the bars that you ride to/from offer any specials to entice people to join in on the fun?
DBC- "The bars/restaurants all have to have drink and food special. Whats been great is a lot of the venues offer to contribute to some type of after party thats always free. We've had Dante Lasalle, Cold English and DJ 2040 so far, but we have plans for live bands and films after as well. This summer were we will push the fun limits of what we can connect to bicycles and Detroit."

Hip In Detroit- Tell us about Detroit Bike City, what is it all about? Do you do any other events that we would be interested in?
DBC- "Detroit Bike City is actually the name of our major bicycle expo that we do annually at Cobo Center. Detroit Bike City is everything that is bikes. We have bike demos, custom bicycle builders, major bike brands, tech shops and a bike swap all under one roof. It's a fun day for everyone that once again showcases Detroit true place in the convention center world, its rightful place in the top cities as far a bicycling and that Detroit has amazing events that everyone from everywhere can attend. In our second year attendance went up 10% to 2,000 and vendors and sponsors up 50%. It is our intention to become not only the show to attend in Michigan, but in the mid-west region hopefully becoming a 2 day trade show by 2015. Along with Detroit Bike City we also have movie series that we run at the Woodbridge Community Garden on Sunday nights called "Bike-In Theater" starting May 26th with the premier of Arrested Development."


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