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Thousands of bikers poised to "take over" Detroit streets

A scene from a past Tour de Troit
A scene from a past Tour de Troit

Thousands of bikers are expected on Detroit streets Saturday for the 10th annual “Tour de Troit.”

Most of them will take part in a 22-mile, police-escorted tour that explores a different part of Detroit’s historic landscape every year. This year, it will kick off in the shadow of the Michigan Central Station, the hulking former
train depot that’s sat empty for more than 20 years (there’s also a 62-mile loop for more adventurous bikers).

The event has grown from much humbler origins 10 years ago, to a symbol of the historically car-oriented city’s growing bicycle culture.

Mike Kiewicz, one of the tour’s founders,  says it’s fun to see how the initially small event has blossomed into one that attracts thousands of riders (more than 4000 have registered this year).

“Coming from just an idea [I had] after doing a ride in New York, and after having 43people the first year…seeing what it’s becoming is really, really cool,” says Kiewicz.

The tour will also raise money towards expanding bike paths and greenways in Detroit.

“The goal is to show people that live in the city that it’s great idea to ride a bike, and to show people that ride bikes our city,” says organizer Bil Lusa.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.