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Home > Magazine > Bikes > Season Opener: Detroit's Slow Roll & Nor-Am Bike Expo

Season Opener: Detroit's Slow Roll & Nor-Am Bike Expo
March 31, 2014

The season opener is NOT all about baseball.

I like bikes so the season opener is when it's warm enough for me to go out riding free as a jaybird.

A posse of four of us folding bike riders piled into a small vehicle (bikes folded) and drove from Lansing to Detroit last Sunday for the season's first Slow Roll. It's usually held every Monday after work, but this time it was Sunday to go along with the North American Bicycle Expo, a confab of bike culture between Detroit and Canada (say, Windsor and a bit o' Toronto).

Slow Roll is a mellower version of Critical Mass, held more often, and including a food and/or music stop. (CM is more just the ride then it breaks up.) Slow Roll launched from Eastern Market and included food carts and an expo of its own, plus the monster Red Bull boomer truck.

It was the first time for 2 of us. But I think all of us felt like kids again, playing with 2000 of our friends.

So many fun bikes and fun people. We toured the D for almost 2 hours then partied back at Shed 2, courtesy of New Belgium and others.

Here's a slideshow of a Picasa/Google album of a couple dozen pics from the weekend. (Let's hope this works. Picasa changes, I don't know Google "extras," embedding is what I do with YouTube...)



Here's a direct link to the album:

plus.google.com/photos/104110048140101006653/albums/5997119516716765377

The day before I drove into town with a different posse of pals, to see the Expo at Cobo Hall. What a blast of bike culture and bike fever. I was overwhelmed. It takes me hours at such an event to calm down and really take it in. The people are game to engage. They all have something to offer. And there are hundreds of them!

Bike builders, bike stuff makers, event hosts. ...It was a neat place to cruise around a few times and a few times more, then hang out a bit. ...I wish there was food and seating right IN the expo hall. So you could keep absorbing vibes even when taking a break. Indeed, while taking a break one might find the more substantial impacts sinking in.

As it was, I passed up a Wheel Truing Stand for $20 in the Swap Meet area. I wasn't thinking straight (or "true"). I didn't realize it folded nor that it was so cheap. I've been truing wheels for, like, 10 bikes for 20 years -- all "in the forks." ...But I did have the presence of mind to mention it to my cohorts who WERE on their game and snatched it up quick.

I also played the roulette wheel for WindsorEats.com. What a fun couple run that show! They present the food and drink of Windsor to the world. They're Italian. ...The Ciociaro Club of Windsor has always been the best bike racing scene on that side of the river. They have a notorious Thurs Nite Training Race that has the rep for being true Eurostyle. That is, mayhem. The Detroit side is more about the Wolverines and the Belgians, with their singular Cadieux Cafe.

So I spun the wheel. You could win pins and shirts and water bottles and high-fives. One chance to win a Wine'n'Dine trip in Windsor. ...And I won! I got to ring the Bell-lap Bell. I look forward to visiting their fair city.

For lunch I realized we were near Lafayette Coney Island so went there. Dang, it's still oldstyle! LOVE IT! It's one of the few 30's-era type diners with pro's slinging the dogs.

After THAT we went to John King Books. My cohorts had never been. Last week JKB got rated as America's Best Bookstore by Business Weekly!!! And 2nd best in the world! Crazy! (How could it beat The Strand and Powell's?) I love that place, so it's fine with me that it's best.

I found a sweet copy of "Look Cook Ski Pleasure Book" for $5.

I saw a book about the martial art of "drawing the sword," like you know, pulling it out. Lots of amazing drawings, too. Like of cutting off body parts. Like, a diagram of a guy with parts labeled and no head. Yikes! It was only $7.

Like the Expo, I needed more hours. But it was great to be there!

So here are some pics...

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