Motor City Morning (by Bike)

6:30AM Today may be a holiday, but I’m determined to start this week like any other. Crawl out of bed, throw on shorts and a t-shirt, and jam down breakfast. I recently started working out twice a week and have to be at the gym in 30 minutes.

The commute is a quick two-mile bike ride including a cut through the north end of Eastern Market. Things are usually quiet on the street this time of day, but the roads are even more empty than normal this morning because it’s Memorial Day. With the light traffic, riding already is vastly different here than in Portland or Seattle. I’ll admit to rolling stops at most of the intersections these days. Today, however, was flat out the whole way. Record time. Sorry, mom.

7AM Did I mention that I’m headed to the  Downtown Boxing Gym? Only recently host to wannabe adults like me, the gym’s mission is academic support and community service with at-risk youth. The chance to train with a top coach may be the carrot that gets kids in the door, but it’s the impressive high school graduation rate — near 100% — that has the real impact.

Training today is tough! Coach Khali works me into more of a sweaty mess than usual. I love every minute of it; even the ones where my arms and shoulders are on fire. (Ok, I didn’t actually love those moments at the time.)

8:15AM Back on the bike and headed down to the Dequindre Cut. I have to swing through Lafayette Park on my way home to grab something that I left behind yesterday in my Zipcar. After “preaching the gospel” of a car-free life for years, I finally cut the cord and ditched my car when I moved to Detroit. Jeep Compass Chamers helped me get to a hiking/biking excursion at Pinckney State Rec Area yesterday.

9AM It’s too nice to go home, so I decide to jump back on the Dequindre and ride down to the Riverfront trail. People are definitely up and moving now, and the cut is hopping with — moms! As I ride along the river, a runner ahead spins around to hustle backwards. He’s struggling a bit but working really hard. Our eyes meet, and I spontaneously throw up my hand to hit him with a high five. He grins and slaps it back. Sweet.

9:10AM I hear a cup of Jamaican Blue Coffee calling to me from Roasting Plant. It’s obvious now that the day is going to take me where it wants. And that is sitting at the beach, feet in sand, in the morning sun at Campus Martius. A few other refugees clearly felt the same pull, and we relax in a companionable state with a little friendly banter back and forth.

10:05AM A pair of cyclists roll into the park, and despite my pathetic distance vision, I recognize them right away as my neighbors. I stroll over to say a quick hi and ask if they’re going to Slow Roll tonight. They are.

10:30AM The sun has ducked behind the buildings now, but it’s still far too nice to get up and move. I’m just starting to feel guilty for being so lazy when my phone vibrates with an alert. It’s a text from a friend in San Francisco that I haven’t heard from in awhile. We kick off a conversation which is the perfect excuse to stay planted right where I am.

11:10AM Now with a second wind at my back, it’s finally time to head toward home. As I’m cruising by Comerica park, it dawns on me that I have yet to snap the mandatory photo of the Tiger out front. Two seconds off the bike, a quick Instagram, and I can check that one off the list.

11:45AM Still not quite ready to go home, I ride a quick loop through my neighborhood, Brush Park, to grab photos of a few of the mansions. There are some interesting clouds in the sky, and I want to see if I can get a good picture to include in this post. Luck was really on my side, and I captured this gem of a fellow bike rider cruising down the block. His hat really makes the shot.

Postscript

My last post was some time ago and highlighted moving to Portland. That things have been quiet here on the blog since then is no accident. A lot has changed in my life over the course of the past nine months. It certainly was not all fun but is definitely for the better. The short version is that I relocated to Detroit early in 2014 and am loving the adventure of plugging into life here in a new city. Detroit has so much to offer beyond what the news headlines suggest!

Work continues to take me on the road regularly, and city exploring is one of my favorite parts of the job. I look forward to sharing some of those experiences here too.

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