Here are a few more galleries of photographs I took on long bike rides around Detroit last year. Putting this post together, I recognized a funny little distortion in my memory. I had remembered spending all of last summer somewhat regularly taking these long photo bike rides, but I didn’t actually pick back up with them in this way until the middle of August.
The previous post in this series is here, a pair of galleries of bike rides from June. And I wrote a little more about how I’m thinking about these photos in the first Detroit Bike Rides post (which includes four other galleries).
Hamtramck to Belle Isle, Aug 16 & 17
It’s a hassle (and feels dangerous, because of cars) trying to bike through any of the area immediately south of Hamtramck until you get on the other side of the freeway. Which is where this picks up, in Detroit right by the Packard Plant (not pictured) and then following Grand Boulevard as it turns south. From there it’s a straight shot down the Boulevard to Belle Isle. This ride was really an excuse to get a lot of photos of Belle Isle in the middle of summer on a very sunny day, but I’ve always though Detroit looks especially interesting from the Boulevard. I’ve included a few photographs of Belle Isle at night from the next night, when my bike got a flat at sundown out in the middle of the tree graveyard, an event that finally convinced me to start carrying a flat kit on me.
Hamtramck to Downtown, Sept 1 & 2
This is actually two bike rides I’ve smooshed together. They’re different routes and I’ve sort of snaked them together into a fantasy route that kind of makes sense in my head. It’s not actually a long bike ride to downtown, and I’ve skipped most of the obvious way downtown, which would take you through Wayne State and the recently rebranded Midtown area. This was around the time that I had badly sprained my ankle when I tripped on a crumbled sidewalk while jogging in Hamtramck so I was taking a lot of these shorter downtown-length rides to try to keep exercising through that. I took these a couple of days when I was happy about the light, and I think the pair of rides to downtown hold together pretty well.
Hamtramck to Historic Fort Wayne, Sept 8
Historic Fort Wayne feels like a very long ways from Hamtramck, satisfyingly so for the sake of this project. It’s really not much further on the map than the ride from Hamtramck to Hubbard Farms in Southwest, but the city around Fort Wayne has been bulldozed for what seems like miles, and you have to cross an area where it seems like the only infrastructure is freeways and freeway construction, so you just feel like you’re really somewhere else entirely when you get to the fort. For now, it’s all for the purpose of building the new bridge to Canada, but the destruction of that part of the city started long before there was any movement on the bridge. It’s great inside Fort Wayne, if it just weren’t so hard to get to. A really underrated place for hanging out by the river.
Hamtramck to Belle Isle, Sept 30
Another ride out to Belle Isle, this time with a little bit more of the area just east of Hamtramck and north of the freeway, before connecting up with Grand Boulevard. I’d been trying to make a photo ride along Boulevard when the evening light was hitting the street just right, but I kept leaving the house later than it turned out I needed to. I’ve never been more aware of how much more quickly the daylight starts disappearing by this point in September.
Here are a couple more galleries of photographs I took on long bike rides through Detroit. When I started these photo bike rides I wanted to present the photos as an entire set for each bike ride. At first I tried posting them on social media as threads. I like the sets much better as galleries here. I wrote a little more about how I’m thinking about these photos in the first Detroit Bike Rides post (along with four other galleries).
June 25 2022. A ride to southwest Detroit, to Hubbard Farms, and back up to Hamtramck. About a sixteen-mile bike ride. I had an errand to run (that is, this was also a practical trip through the city) but I intentionally biked because I wanted a really long ride back home after sundown on the lookout for trees lit up by streetlights. Once you get to New Center you can pretty much stay on painted bike lanes the whole way to Southwest. The area between Hamtramck and New Center, though, you’re mostly just battling car infrastructure.
(Here’s a link to the second gallery if you don’t want to scroll. If you’re using a phone, tap the thumbnails to see the full photo)
June 30 2022. North and west, up along State Fair and up to 8 Mile and then we end up in Ferndale. I was really leaning into wide framings when I took these because I was having fun with how unexpectedly well my camera handled them, and I do like how the emphasis on wide shots holds this set together. I was picking up my car in Ferndale, so there’s no night bike ride home. It is hard to bike across 8 Mile into Ferndale (and probably significantly harder to walk). You can just feel the infrastructure discouraging you from using that space if you’re not in a car.