DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – Careful while driving near Eastern Market later — as thousands will take to the streets Monday night in the city’s first Slow Roll of the season.
Slow Roll Detroit has attracted up 12,000 bicyclists during the evening rides which tour through about 10 miles of the city’s landscape.
This is the seventh year for the bicycle ride series that provides a different perspective of the city and its neighborhoods, educating people about the city, while bringing together riders with local businesses and charities.
The family-friendly rides and festive atmosphere have spawned affiliates elsewhere, including Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland and Washington, D.C., and even two in Sweden and one in Iraq, that draw riders into the city streets.
In Detroit, its popularity has soared as the city works to improve services and its image after undergoing the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. A population drain since 1.8 million people called Detroit home in 1950 even works in bicycling’s favor.
In 2015 Slow Roll had about 5,000 card-carrying members – paying a $10 annual fee that became a necessity as numbers and liability concerns grew. Although co-founders Mike MacKool and Jason Hall say no one is turned away if they cannot afford it.
The group works with the city and police to avoid dustups with motorists. That includes getting permits, keeping the throngs to the right with a squad of about 50 volunteers, and police escorts to control disruptions.
“We just do as much as we can to be as accommodating as we can to the traffic,” MacKool said.
Tonight’s Slow Roll takes off at 7:30 from Shed 2 in Eastern Market.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)