– John Gielow, Vice President Director of Digital Strategy
By day, SMZ lives and breathes Detroit. Whether working on Detroit gems like the Tigers, Red Wings, Fisher Theatre or the Detroit Goodfellows, we’re all in. As we participate in what we all believe to be a great comeback story, many of us embrace and support the city outside the walls of SMZ as well.
As an avid cyclist for 25 years, I’ve experienced a lot on the roads after 100,000 miles. I ride with the O2/Cadieux Bike Club and as the name suggests, this club’s roots are in Detroit, founded at the Cadieux Café in Detroit in 1965.
Today most of our club rides are based in Metro Detroit, yet within the past couple of years there has clearly been a movement to include rides to downtown Detroit. We start those rides from Biggby Coffee in Birmingham (great coffee by the way) work our way downtown to Belle Isle and end up at some of our favorite establishments like Astros Coffee on Michigan Ave. or Avalon International Breads just off Cass.
As we ride through the city, many residents wave and express support, some surprised to see a group of 20 cyclists coming down their street. On one recent ride, a kid no older than 14 was out on his barely rideable bike with no brakes (used his shoes to stop). He saw us coming and jumped on to ride with us for several miles. I could see the excitement in this kid’s eyes as we may have been his first opportunity to experience a group ride. I also thought, give this kid a real bike and he’d probably dust us all.
Sure, cycling through Detroit might not seem like much. But by connecting with some of the residents and patronizing some great small businesses, we feel like we’re helping bridge the gap in supporting the city we love.
What a great story! You not only inspired that young kid, but inspired those of us from Metro-Detroit to participate in new ways in Detroit. I hadn’t considered biking around Detroit, but I actually know someone that bikes to Cass Cafe all the time. Maybe I’ll join him!