Detroit – is a place for lovers, friends, sisters and bothers, uncles and cousins, family, growth, change, acceptance, fear, style, class, fun, amusement, music, dance, bars, restaurants, bikes, cars, the future and the past.
I like to start with a random train of thought and then play off of it. For today’s blog I want to write about Detroit. Not unlike what I do most days, but today I want to write about the city and the people that come here. Working in the Welcome Center I meet new people every day, people who come to Detroit because they’ve heard good things, or bad things, and want to check them out. In the Welcome Center in just over a year, we’ve had all of these people come in to see us
How great is that?! And of course that isn’t everyone, those are just the people that we’ve remembered to ask to put a pin in the map (sometimes I forget to ask, since the map isn’t facing the store anymore). Point of the picture is to show you that people from all over are showing up and stopping into Detroit. They are asking questions, learning things and just generally curious about what it’s like in the city. I just spent the past 20 minutes helping 2 German tourists find some pretty cool things to do in while they stay in Detroit for 2 more days. Pretty exciting stuff!
I also, thanks to some pretty outgoing friends of mine, had the pleasure to meet Darren who is doing a Baseball Biking Tour. He is 144 days into a bike tour of all the Major League Stadiums in the country. He came to Detroit the day before yesterday from Toronto, and stayed with some friends of mine. He then needed a place closer to Tigers Stadium to crash for the night. I gladly excepted before checking with any of my roommates, I love meeting new people and love even more when they have something to do with biking. So yesterday Darren and my friend Dave stopped into the Welcome Center, Darren wanted to leave his packs somewhere while they went out to tour around Detroit and during the Tigers Game. Darren unloaded his very minimally packed saddle bags, and Dave unlocked my bike. Dave, having never ridden a fixed gear bike, wanted to show Darren around. Their plan was to check out the Riverwalk, then head out to Mudgies Deli for an amazing lunch, then to stop by and check out old Tigers Stadium, where Dave is very happy and proud to be a part (maybe a leader) of the constant clean up crew that helps keep that space clean. Then they came back to the Welcome Center, so Dave could go to the dentist and Darren could go and get some work done. I sent Darren to Volt where he could have a beer while surfing the web.
And then they were gone. I was a little sad to see my bike back after having an adventure without me… It was weird to think that while I was sitting here my bike was out there touring Detroit with a man who’s touring all over the country and then some. But as always my adventure continued, I spent the next few hours helping some Italians try and find a hotel, I sold one of my favorite photographs to a man who said he was “tired of seeing it on our wall and not his” and just working on a newsletter to send out to you today.
But then at 6pm, I logged myself out of the computer, left my backpack with Darren’s stuff headed home really quick to eat a bit more and then head back to the Tigers game with Martin. Before I even knew that Darren was coming to Detroit, I had made plans with my brother to go to the game with him. His best friend left today to go study abroad in Argentina for four months, and this was his going away party. So we met my brother and 8 of his friends at the game, went in, had the $8 beer and $6.50 nacho’s with jalapeno’s (my favorite reason to go to sporting events!). We watched the game and eventually Dave and JD (his girlfriend, one of my best friends and an amazing designer) showed up, Darren was being interviewed by Fox Sports and they wanted to give him some space, so they came and hung out with us. Even though the Tigers lost, it was a pretty amazing night. The weather was great, the company superb, even the kids screaming behind us when the marquee said “Make some noise” were really cute.
Then after the game we waited by the giant Tiger Statue, meet up with Dave, JD and Darren, said goodbye to my brother and his friends, unlocked our bikes and headed to the Welcome Center to pick up Darren’s bags. It was a surprisingly nice night to ride a bike home, normally I hate trying to avoid motorists leaving Tigers Stadium, but it wasn’t that bad last night. A few times I had to go around cars on the sidewalk, but nothing to terrible. We made it home and ended up talking about traveling, Martin and Darren talked about fresh powder, to which I could not chime in as I am still a newbie when it comes to snow sports. We talked for a while about just random things. One of my roommates is currently touring on his bike up around the thumb area of Michigan, so we talked about riding and touring, and Darren’s lack of ‘stuff’ for being 144 days into a bike road trip. He didn’t need much, sleeps on concrete when it’s convenient, sleeps in motels and with friends when concrete isn’t around. Just a pair of street clothes, riding clothes, rain clothes and when it’s right he can also pull out his hammock. I’ve seen seasoned backpackers carry more than Darren did. Really impressive. We eventually all decided to go to bed, we had all had enough fun for the day.
This morning Martin got up so he could go train on his bike, Darren ate a Cliff Bar so he could start his trip to Chicago, I forgot to eat my bagel which is currently still sitting in the toaster oven. We chatted, had a friend take a photo of the 3 of us, a tradition that Darren has after crashing at someone’s place. Then both boys took their bikes and left, leaving my dog Jake and I to sit on the stoop in our little house in Woodbridge and contemplate what just happened. Jake looked like he was contemplating more than I was, I sometimes get distracted by shiny objects.
With a little luck and some really good friends, we were just a part of history. The history of biking, of Detroit, of The Tigers, of Major League Baseball, of the many amazing couch surfers we’ve had stay with us.
Detroit does that to you, one day you’ll find that you are just hanging out, thinking you’re doing nothing special, and the next day you’ll realize that you were a part of history.