In a different post I talked about how I enjoying using bike riding to see the city. One of my favorite bike rides, and discovery of one of my places in the city, happened by accident one day.
This summer is my first summer spent in an urban environment, I’m from a rural town in West Michigan, and so usually my summers are spent in my backyard and by lakes. One thing I was thinking about going in to this program, was this difference in a summer experience in an urban environment rather than rural. One thing that I’ve missed is the water. One day I didn’t have to go into my internship so I decided to go to a random park and read a bit. I also wanted to ride down the Dequindre Cut bike trail, so I had my path and I ended up at the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor near the river.
First of all, the Dequindre Cut is compelling because it’s a bike path with graffiti art along the walls and lots of activity. This alone is striking because I believe that a lot of the art was commissioned, and so it’s a situation of wanting to keep this idea of urban Detroit but then hire other people to create the art. The Dequindre Cut lead to this park, where I stayed for a long time, reading, and putting my feet in the water. For some reason a part of my Michigan-raised soul feels complete when I’m near or in the water, so it was very relaxing and now my favorite place in the city.
After I was done, I decided to do some more exploring and I discovered that this was actually very near the Riverwalk by the Ren Cen, so I got to see an interesting mix of business people and families interacting in this space. This bike ride exhibits why I enjoy going on bike rides so much, because it gives me the opportunity to see the city in a different perspective, and understand more about the people that live there. What started as a decision to find a nice park to sit in, became one of my favorite spaces in Detroit, and demonstrates why I put such an emphasis on exploring the city.