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Ask An Expert: Best Bike Rides In Detroit

April 6, 2013 9:00 AM

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Kelli Kavanaugh, one of the owners of Wheelhouse Detroit Bike Shop, gives us her top five faves for riding in the D.

(credit: istock)

(credit: istock)

Kelli Kavanaugh is one of the owners behind the coolest bike shop around town, Wheelhouse Detroit. It is located on RiverWalk and offers awesome bicycle tours, sightseeing and more, all within city limits. The company was started in 2008 by bike enthusiasts Karen Gage and Kelli Kavanaugh. They turned their entrepreneurial spirit, love of the city and passion for biking into a successful company. The shop rents out all different styles of bikes including cruisers, urban mountain bikes, children’s cycles and tandems. Wheelhouse Detroit is located at Rivard Plaza on the Detroit RiverWalk.

Kelli Kavanaugh
Wheelhouse Detroit Bike Shop
1340 E. Atwater St.
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 656-2453
www.wheelhousedetroit.com

Belle Isle

The stunning landscape of this park makes this one of the best places to bike. The riding is smooth and unhurried. Sights include stunning architecture, the Belle Isle Aquarium and Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, both designed by famed architect Albert Kahn. Catch a glimpse of the Detroit Yacht Club as it stands stoic alongside the Detroit River and listen to the chimes of the clock tower as it plays a string of tunes.

“This is a no-brainer! The island park is more than five miles in circumference and there are bike lanes all around. The interior roads meander through an old-growth forest and there are playing fields, a beach and attractions like the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Conservatory and Aquarium to pedal to and from. It is great for recreation or to gain some serious training miles.”

Southwest Detroit

The southwest Detroit neighborhood is full of energy. People, cars and buildings are all set out before you. This area includes a vast amount of restaurants, shops, churches and homes for your viewing pleasure.

“This area has more traffic on the streets than most places in Detroit, which makes for lots of vibrancy. Some reasons to ride include the Southwest Detroit Greenlink (17+ miles of bike lanes), Woodmere Cemetery, Fort Wayne, taco trucks and murals.”

Palmer Park and Environs

Ride past stately historical homes and towering trees in one of the neighborhoods surrounding Palmer Park. The park itself covers a good amount of space, with biking trails throughout.

“Cruising the extensive paved trails of Palmer Park is well and good enough, but getting onto the streets to tour the beautiful neighborhoods of Sherwood Forest, Green Acres, Palmer Woods and the University District is architecture-gawking heaven.”

Related: Best Historic Detroit Tours

Near East Side

A unique journey awaits cyclists who are seeking an urban adventure on the East Side. Pass by abandoned structures and sullen homes, beautiful to many, an eyesore to some, and definitely check out one of the city’s artistic wonders, the Heidelberg Project. It has become a must-see cultural destination for residents and visitors alike.

“Some parts of the East Side are quite vacant, but there are great destinations like Lafayette Park, the Heidelberg Project and Elmwood Cemetery. This neighborhood has nice wide streets for riding and pheasant-spotting opportunities galore.”

RiverWalk/Dequindre Cut

The recently revamped RiverWalk takes bikers on a lovely ride along the river, with an abundance of sights along the way. Watch as the light sparkles on the water with the Ambassor Bridge anchored in the distance. Dequindre Cut features colorful graffiti and a mix of urban and natural landscapes.

“The beautiful RiverWalk continues to grow, someday to connect “bridge to bridge.” Even unfinished, it’s a wonderful gateway to biking in Detroit. The Dequindre Cut, an abandoned rail line that was transformed into a biking/walking trail, is currently just over a mile long, but it’s still worth a visit. Awesome graffiti and landscaping are the perfect backdrop for a bike ride in Detroit and the sheer potential embodied in this amenity, set to continue north in the coming year, is a wonderful thing in and of itself.”

Related: Best Bike Repair in Detroit

After receiving a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design, Nicole Wrona began working with a diverse range of musicians. In addition, she is a freelance writer for numerous publications. Her work can be found at www.metalleaves.com and Examiner.com.

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