As Detroiter’s know, this spring has been nothing but cool, in the frigid sense of the word. In fact, early Friday evening a bunch of snow flurries turned into almost white out conditions for a couple of minutes. Not a good thing for those that may have headed downtown to ride in the first Critical Mass Bike Ride of the season. However, this spring has not been a total freeze out when it comes to bike riding. We did have a couple of 50 plus degree days a week or so ago, and I definitely took advantage of that heat wave (relatively speaking) and was able to ride 60 or so miles.
During those warm days, I managed to get a quick round trip ride from my home to Belle Isle Park, which included a leisurely lap around the island. On that 5-mile loop, I took a scenic turnout on the east end and made my way across the rolling, open prairie land to check out the Livingston Lighthouse and the ice dams that tend to build up on the tip of the island this time of year. While pedaling along the barren, gravel pathway leading out there, I inadvertently got a little bogged down in a deceivingly sizable mud patch. Fortunately, I didn’t fall or have to step off the pedals into that goop while slugging my way through the sticky, syrupy mess of water, mud and Canadian goose droppings (that seemed to be everywhere on the island). The only casualty, as I soon discovered, was my water bottle. It was covered in goose crap, making for an appetizing, refreshing drink.
Riding east on Jefferson Avenue out to the east side, I decided to check out the latest bike lane addition to the Conner Creek Greenway that runs along Clairpointe Street from Jefferson, south to the Detroit River. This is a recent addition to the larger, multi-mile pedestrian and bike friendly path that will eventually wind its way along the original Conner Creek footprint throughout Detroit’s east side. The new bike lanes are well-marked, smooth, and snake their way for a mile or so along the winding street, lined with newly built homes, to Maheras-Gentry Park along the river front. Once there, the bike lanes changed to asphalt and it sloped to the river’s edge where it ends.
I wanted to check out the view of Lake St. Clair, so I left the park, pedaled through the streets of Detroit’s Creekside Community to Ford-Brush Park, at the foot of Lenox Street. Approaching the park, I could see ice jams in the river and I felt the air temperature drop by at least ten degrees. The ice, coupled with a steady breeze from the east, sure made a difference in the temperature. Riding east along the park’s walkway at the river’s edge, toward the canals that run into the Detroit River, I could hear the blue colored chunks of ice moving and sliding into each other. It was a calm, soothing rhythmic sound. Although it is slowly warming up, the canals were still covered with layers of ice.