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Detroit Bike City 2013

March 16 and 17, at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit

I not only saw the Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie about bike messengers, but I also saw the Kevin Bacon one from 1986. I was the clear choice to cover a bike expo.

As I first entered the exhibit hall over at Cobo, it seemed as if Detroit Bike City wasn't big enough to fit the room. The extra space wasn't because of a shortage of exhibitors, it was so there was enough room for everyone to test ride the bikes. A lot of exhibitors were fledgeling or experienced bike makers, but not exclusively. There were exhibits promoting biking tours. You can choose from brewery tours, east-side mountain bike tours, west-side mountain bike tours, and tours of Palmer Park and its surrounding architecture. There was even a guy who would teach you how to make your own bike frames for $1000.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Detroit could be getting another nonprofit bike co-op. Southwest Rides wants to transform from an informal bike club to a full time bike institution. They'll be located in the Springwells neighborhood (the less popular side of Southwest Detroit).

The Slingshot bike uses a suspension method I haven't seen before, but this wooden bike was definitely the most unique bike on display.
I needed a closer look too to believe it.
By now you've probably already seen the bikes from Detroit Bicycle Company. They're sleek looking bikes that catch your eye. To me, that bike is just too pretty to ride. It just seems like the type of bike you'd be too afraid to take off of its pedestal. Can you imagine cruising down Woodward on that thing, with every bum and crackhead trying to size up the bike's scrap value?
My favorite bike builder there was Shinola. This company makes bikes and watches out of the Argonaut Building in the New Center area. I don't get the bikes and watches association either.
I'm not on-board with the renewed fascination with road bikes. I don't want to hunch over to grab rams-horn handlebars, and I don't care if my body is in an aerodynamic position or not. I like the vintage look, and they even have a model with a lugged frame. A frame held together by lugs doesn't offer any more structural integrity than a welded frame, and actually limits a designer's potential for customizing. To me it's just a way to make a bike seem more decorative (example here). The Shinola bike just along glided on the ground when I rode it, but with price tags ranging from $2,000 to $3,000, I don't think I'll be owning one in the foreseeable future. Irregardless, I look forward to seeing their new retail space when it opens on Canfield, across the street from Motorcity Brewing Works.
What this expo lacked was vendors selling bike specific tools, and used parts. The Hub/Back Alley Bikes was there, and had a few used parts to sell, but not much. The next best thing was a company that re-chromed old parts. Their wares were impressive, but I don't think I'll pay $50 for a vintage Schwinn chainring.
I don't know what this contraption is called, but it was wheeling all over the place.

You can see in the video that there were also Segway going around cones. Hines Park Segway Rental was giving free Segway tutorials. I agree that everyone looks comical riding a Segway, but I couldn't turn down free. The controls aren't immediately intuitive because they're not similar to any other small vehicles in production. Even so, it only took me about 4 or 5 minutes to get the hang of it. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I enjoyed riding it.
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I'm a dork, I live in the Detroit area, and sometimes I take blurry photos on an outdated camera