Who would have thought it would be clear and in the mid-fifties for a late November evening bike ride in Detroit? That was the case for the recent Critical Mass Detroit bike ride held this past Friday night. Only about 150 cyclists took advantage of the warm, dry weather by joining in on the ride; fewer than I thought there would be. The pace was faster than many of the previous Critical Mass rides. Perhaps it was because of the smaller amount of cyclists.
The evening’s route took us from Wayne State University (WSU), the starting point, through Southwest Detroit; on to Downtown Detroit where we jumped on the city’s riverfront walkway for about a mile. On the unplanned route, we sped past many of the city center’s gems, such as the Renaissance Center, Penobscot, Buhl, Ford and Guardian buildings, most of them decked out in holiday trimmings. We also made our way through The Dequindre Cut Greenway, a once abandoned rail way line that has been converted into a paved walkway with bike lanes.
From the Cut we made our way over to and through the Historic Eastern Market, while on our way to Campus Martius Park in the heart of the city. We circled that cozy, urban park and caught a glimpse of the many skaters that were taking advantage of the warm evening. It was a gorgeous sight with the large, brightly lit Holiday Tree anchoring the south end of the park. From there we wound our way through a few side streets that led us to and past Ford Field (home of the Detroit Lions) before heading back to the ride’s starting point at WSU.
Riding through the city I couldn’t help but notice there were a lot of people out. Perhaps they were black Friday shoppers or just folks out for a walk on a nice warm evening. It was most likely the cusp of winter’s inevitable arrival. Those we rolled past offered up smiles and friendly, encouraging waves. There is something about a group of 150 or more bicyclists that people seem to relate to and enjoy.
Is this the last organized ride of the year for many of us? Perhaps. If so, it couldn’t have happened on a better late fall evening in Detroit.