Saturday was a perfect day in Detroit to be on a bicycle. It was breezy, sunny, and the temperature was in the mid-seventies; an unusually warm day for mid-March. So I took advantage of the day’s heat by jumping on my bike and riding the ten or so miles to downtown. Pedaling along, I was quickly reminded how cautious I needed to be on my spring rides. Not so much because of buses and traffic; that’s a given…but because of the broken glass and trash that seem to accumulate along the curb areas this time of year. I didn’t want to fix a flat tire on my first two-wheeled trip downtown this year.
On my way I passed through the Historic Eastern Market. It was jammed with shoppers pulling carts and carrying bags of fresh goodies. Russell Street, the main through street of the market, was gridlocked with cars, all vying for a place to park. Like most warm days at the market, blue smoke from barbeque pits that lined a section of the street cast a sweet-smelling haze across the area. It was also St. Patrick’s Day, and plenty of shoppers were dressed in green.
From the market I zigzagged through numerous downtown streets to check-out the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Like Eastern Market there were gobs of people dressed in green wandering the streets. The city’s most famous downtown Irish pub had two circus sized tends set up in parking lots behind the place, and they were jammed with revelers. In fact, there were long lines of motionless people leading into the two tent entrances. The lines, at least four people wide, stretched a block from each opening. I could hear music coming from tents well before I got there, and surprisingly it wasn’t Irish. It was Techno! So much for a true Irish celebration.
Next, I biked out Michigan Avenue a mile or so, to Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, Corktown, an early enclave of Irish settlers. The Corktown area of Michigan Ave. is lined with Irish saloons and, like the place downtown, they were crammed with party goers brightly dressed in the color of the day. Many were moving from pub-to-pub taking in the activities. But unlike the place downtown, the music of Ireland was pouring out of the drinking establishments.
Since I haven’t been out on my bike for a few months, checking out some of the city’s graffiti hotspots was in order. Therefore, I headed out Trumbull Street to one of favorite outdoor galleries, an unassuming wall along some railroad tracks. Once I made my way to the wall, I found some fresh, colorful pieces that weren’t there last fall. Checking them out, I was amazed, as always, at the flow and how creative the graffiti artists can be using only paint from spray cans. After poking around the site for a while, I hopped on my bike and headed back to the eastside.