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The Motor City's Burgeoning Cycling Scene

10:56 AM EDT on July 7, 2011

All indications are that the bike scene in Detroit is really taking off. Group rides are teeming (3,200 people are registered for this year's Tour De Troit). New bike shops are springing up in some of the city's hipper neighborhoods.

The cash-strapped city still only has one bike lane. But evidence like this video, posted on Transport Michigan, points to a brighter, less-car centric future for the Motor City. The short film by Alex Gallegos shows that the city has the most important ingredient for cycling progress: a growing and energized community that is committed to biking.

Transport Michigan's Joel Batterman shared these observations on the film:

From the East Side Riders to Critical Mass, from The Hub to Corktown Cycles, people are taking to pedal power as a way to save money, lose weight, and just get around in style.

It's tempting to wonder whether Detroit, after giving the world the automobile and suffering so much from the momentous changes it brought to the metropolitan landscape, may yet point Michigan and the nation towards a wiser transport model as well.

Count me as excited to see some of these "laggard" cities really embracing the cycling movement. A recent article outlined a similar, grassroots movement taking place in Cleveland, again around group rides and cycle shops. These cities have a tendency to be hindered by some old-fashioned leadership, but this kind of energy is bound to produce some positive change.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Active Transportation Alliance reports that the Federal Highway Administration has approved new guidance on rumble strips, and it's bad news for cyclists. Bike Portland shares the results of a new study finding that cyclists who pedal in heavy traffic face increased risk of heart attack. And TBD on Foot explains that the U.S. Department of Transportation has given the nod to flying cars.

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