How to drive like you don't want to murder cyclists

It's been a rough year for cyclists in terms of injury and even death across Michigan. The tragedy in Kalamazoo that killed 5 and injured 4 riders got national attention (deservedly), but close to home, things have been far from chill. Two regular riders were severely injured near Palmer Park late in June (good news, they both appear to be slowly recovering) and, that very same week, a woman lost her life in a hit-and-run on Grand River near the Boulevard.

It's human nature to take a limited data sample and run with this case, concluding that biking is becoming less safe would not be unreasonable but, that is most likely incorrect. What is probably the case is that, as we are seeing more and more bikes on the road, there are going to be more accidents. What is most troublesome to me, as someone who bikes most days but also drives, is how poorly these modes are working together. Or not.

It is often cited that a third of Americans ride their bikes at least once a year. I am gonna hazard a guess that, when riding said bike, they don't want to be struck down by a car.

I also think it safe to presume that the vast majority of these cyclists also drive a motor vehicle, even if occasionally. 

It would also be safe to assume that even if someone doesn't ever ride a bike, they are related to, work with or otherwise like or love someone that rides a bike. Let's also assume they don't want said friend or loved one to die when they are riding their bike.

So why do so many drivers -- many of whom have at some point in time, ridden a bike -- drive like they have murdering cyclists on the brain?

(I know someone out there is now exasperatedly saying, "But, but, but, cyclists break the rules all the time. They are annoying." And they do. And sure they can be. But, first of all, they are the vulnerable road user in this scenario, ya know, not being motorized and weighing a bit less than a couple of tons. And also, shut up and listen. You might learn something and not murder someone that happens to be on a bike some day. Do you really want to kill someone just because they rode their bike annoyingly? No, that would be super cold and mean and horrible, right?)

Read on for a few tips that might help a cyclist not die and keep a driver from committing manslaughter or worse. A real win-win, no?

Put your cell phone down. Period. 'Nuff said.

If passing a bicyclist, give them 5 feet of distance. This is not yet a law (although the good folks at the League of Michigan Bicyclists are working on that), but it is courteous and safe. If there is another vehicle to your left -- headed in either direction, depending on the setup of the road -- simply slow down and wait until you can safely pass with some room. This actually is the law in almost half the states in the union, and apparently life has gone on, so just slow your roll and wait until it's safe to pass that cyclist!

Don't drive in the bike lane. I don't care if you are in a hurry to get to the casino, just don't. Ever.


Don't park in the bike lane. Total douche move.

Use your blinker.  Blinkers are not optional and they are more than just about telling motor vehicles behind you what is going on...they let pedestrians and cyclists in any nearby vicinity know what you are up to. This is important stuff and again, more than just being polite.

When there's a stop sign or a light change, look like you are actually going to stop. I can't tell you how many times I have skidded to a stop because a car looked like it was going to blow a stop sign or speed through a pink light...and then they stop on a dime. No they didn't technically do anything wrong, but dude, you scared the crap out of me. Guessing you didn't mean to, so head's up: it is really thoughtful and cool for you to ease into an appropriate stop so that I know you are not trying to kill or maim me.

When you do stop, stop at the so-called stop-line. A lot of time, drivers pull way forward up to or even past the curb line to either get a jump on their green light or see if they can pull off a right turn on red. This is mostly uncourteous to pedestrians who lose their crosswalk, but creeping up means you might not see me on your right, which can be dangerous. So please, stop where you are supposed to and thank you.

Drive the speed limit. This one is so obvious, but bears stating. Roads where the speed limits are 30 or lower are the safest for me to ride in because if heaven forbid, I do get hit by a moving vehicle, my chances of dying lessen significantly. 

When you are parking, look for cyclists. This goes for when you are about to open your door and when you are pulling in or out of that parallel parking spot. I can't tell you how many times I've made eye contact with someone in the parking lane and really startled them because they had no idea I was there.

Golden Rule: When in doubt, give the cyclist the right of way. Remember, they are the vulnerable road user and we've established that you don't actually want to injure or kill them, so it's just the right thing to do.

I plan on updating and editing this post as I remember/think of more things or receive feedback, so please let me know what you think in the comments.

Drive & Ride Safe - Kelli Kavanaugh

River Days Parking, Access & Hours of Operation

It's that time of year again: Riverdays! This is an exciting time of the summer down here on the Riverwalk, but it can make parking and access to the shop a bit more difficult.

Parking is not available at the lot adjacent to the shop. Options are numerous and are detailed HERE.

Please approach the bike shop via the VIP Gate, located off of Atwater just east of Rivard. When you approach the gate, please tell the security guard that you are visiting Wheelhouse Detroit Bike Shop. They SHOULD let you in. If they don't, you can call the shop at 313-656-2453 and someone will run over to help or you can ask for their supervisor. If you are riding your bike, please dismount and walk it as you approach the entrance.

We do ask for your patience and understanding. Sometimes, a large event can be somewhat of an inconvenience, but we think it's worth it!

Wheelhouse Hours of Operation during Riverdays:

  • Thursday, June 23: 10am-4pm EARLY CLOSURE FOR SHIMMER ON THE RIVER
  • Friday, June 24: 10 am-8pm
  • Saturday, June 25: 9am-8pm
  • Sunday, June 26: 10am-5pm
  • Monday, June 27: 10am-5pm EARLY CLOSURE FOR FORD FIREWORKS

Wheelhouse On the Plaza - Rent a Bike for Free!

Wheelhouse is pleased to announce that we are teaming up with GMRENCEN, offering free bike rentals, for this summer's On the Plaza

Dates include:

  • Thursday, July 14th - 11:30am to 2pm
  • Thursday, August 4th - 11:30am to 2pm
  • Thursday, September 4th - 11:30am to 2pm

How does it work? We require a valid state issued ID to hold onto until you return, a phone number, and your signature on a waiver. Helmets included at no additional cost. 


Bike Racks for Businesses 101

As Detroit becomes evermore bike friendly, it is becoming practically the norm for businesses and institutions to install bike racks — which is great, no doubt about it. What is frustrating, though, is to see funds and good intent wasted when, simply put, the bike rack is not functional. This occurs when the rack is poorly designed or poorly placed.

Good racks, in general, allow for the frame of the bike to be locked to with a U-lock. Bad racks force the user to potentially lock a wheel or are awkward to reach.

We work primarily with Saris bike racks. They are made in the US and practical. If you decide to go the route of artisan-made, be sure to follow the guidelines set out by the APBP's Bicycle Parking Guidelines. We have seen several great examples of artisan-made racks but, sometimes, form can beat out function and racks that are pleasing to look at are not so pleasing at which to lock your bike!

We just installed squared post and loop racks at Bumbo's in Hamtramck ($125 ea.). They are nice looking and will hold bikes of various sizes at multiple frame points. The other rack we highly recommend is the Bike Dock (starting at $95 ea.) We have installed these at several local businesses, including the Skillman Foundation and Detroit Yoga Lab.

Click through the gallery for some other examples!

We are here to help! We've assisted several local businesses install bike racks that are functional, attractive and affordable...and we would like to continue to do so. We have experience with selection, placement and installation. Hit us up at to start the conversation.

Also, feel free to add your favorite and least favorite bike racks and we can update this post over time.

Movement Biking Guide

Movement is one of the best biking weekends in Detroit! Riding your bike from venue to venue saves time, money and hassle, and we are here to help make that happen!

We are offering rental discounts to anyone wearing a Movement festival wristband all weekend long. So whether you are looking for a quick ride to Eastern Market for lunch, a trip to Belle Isle for a swim, or want a bike for transportation the entire weekend, we’ve gotcha covered!

MOVEMENT FESTIVAL-GOER RENTAL RATES (CRUISERS) $10/2 hours (reg. $15) $18/half-day/4 hours (reg. $25) $25/full day (reg. $35) $40/2 days (reg. $50) $60/3 days (reg. $75) $75/full week (reg. $99).

We can accommodate walk-ins only at these rates. If you want a particular bike locked down, we recommend advance reservations, which can be made HERE. Lights, helmet and/or lock can be included at no additional charge.  

We've developed a self-guided tour you can ride on your own. Check it out on the Movement Blog HERE.

We are also offering free bike valet at the festival!

We will be located at 170 E. Jefferson, just east of the festival entrance in front of Mariner's Church -- #8 on the Movement festival map.

Hours of operation are 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. each day.



Detroit City Football Bicycle Parking

Since the Detroit City Football Club's inception in 2012, Wheelhouse Detroit has offered complimentary bicycle parking for anyone attending a Le Rouge home match.

With the club's move to Hamtramck's Keyworth Stadium, we are pleased to continue this offering. We are set up next to the east entrance, which is accessible via the alleyway off of Jacob Street. From Conant Street, you'll turn onto Jacob Street and make an immediate left onto the alley. 

We are also excited to team up with LE ROUGE RIDERS! This group will meet at Wheelhouse Detroit 2 hours prior to each home match for a group ride to the Fowling Warehouse to meet up with the March to the Match

Be sure to "like" Le Rouge Riders on Facebook!

Wheelhouse hits Eastern Market!

Guess who is now offering bicycle rentals in Eastern Market? Wheelhouse!

We are located at 1454 Wilkins between Russell and Riopelle, just west of the new entrance to the Dequindre Cut.


  • Tuesday 10am-4pm
  • Friday 10am-4pm
  • Saturday 8am-4pm
  • Sunday 10am-4pm

Rates start at $10 for 1 hour; helmets and locks are included at no additional charge.

Get our and ride the Dequindre Cut; check out the Riverwalk; explore your city!

Wheelhouse Detroit Bicycle Rentals in Eastern Market are presented in partnership with the Eastern Market Corporation.

Inside a Wheelhouse Detroit Tour

Wheelhouse tours are a great way to gain road confidence and explore the city. All of our tours are led by an experienced guide, many of whom are experts in their field.

Kido, who leads the Urban Agriculture tour, is the education coordinator for Keep Growing Detroit, the city's leading advocate for urban farming.

Reg, who leads several of our tours, is a lifelong Detroiter with enthusiasm for the city's history and culture.

Henry, who also leads several of our tours, is a Slow Roll squad member, lead assembler for Detroit Bikes and ride leader for People for Palmer Park's weekly rides.

Marc, who leads our Public Art tour, is an artist and an archivist for the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Francisco is our new Architecture tour guide. He works for the College for Creative Studies and is a self-taught Detroit history junkie.

Mike, who leads our Auto Heritage tour, is a civil engineer whose firm is heavily involved in improving Detroit's non-motorized infrastructure.

Kelli, Wheelhouse's owner and a tour guide for several of our tours, has a background in community development and journalism and has been writing about and researching Detroit history since the mid-1990's.


Wheelhouse tours follow the Rules of the Road, so safety is of the utmost importance. Tours are also staffed by a sweeper, who helps keep the group together and safe and can assist with any mechanical issues.

Our tours are capped at 15 people so expect a personal experience.

Some tours include food others do have a refreshment stop; the descriptions will let you know what to expect.

Wheelhouse tours are experiential, honest, informative and FUN!

Find out more and make a reservation HERE.

And if you have a wedding, work outing, family reunion or just a group of friends that want a fun day out, we highly recommend a group tour. Find out more about options and booking HERE.

Help Wanted: Eastern Market Rental Operator

Job Title: Eastern Market Rental Operator

Pay Rate: $9/hour to start w/ $1/hr raise in 30 days w/adequate performance

Hours: Tuesday 9am-3pm; Friday 10am-6pm; Saturday 8am-6pm; Sunday 10am-4pm There is some flexibility with these days/hours, but a regular set schedule is a must.

Duties: Wheelhouse Detroit will be operating bicycle rentals at Eastern Market this year and we're looking for someone who loves bikes, people and Detroit to rent bikes for us! The Operator will be responsible to collect payment and signed waivers as well as adjust seat heights for customers to ensure they are comfortable. Helmets and locks will be provided as well.

Skills: Scared to talk to strangers? Need not apply. This job will require cash management, so some retail experience is preferred. Minor mechanical skills, including the ability to change a flat tire is preferred. Must have weekend and holiday availability.

The ideal candidate will be comfortable with diverse clientele and the ability to provide basic recommendations on cycling in Detroit. The ideal candidate will be willing to commit to working 4 days a week from April 28 through October. (Planned vacations/days off not-withstanding, of course!)

No uniform is required, although we will provide you with a couple of t-shirts. Open-toed shoes and fancy clothes are not recommended.

There will also be opportunities to pick up Bike Parking shifts, which also pays $9/hour and sometimes comes with free event tickets (ie, Movement Festival, Detroit City FC matches). It’s probably the most fun you can have working.

This job is at-will, part-time and seasonal. There is potential for this job to be combined with a Shop Help position if the applicant is interested in more hours.

Send note of introduction that includes any relevant experience and a job history as well as three (non-relative) references to All received resumes will be saved through the course of the 2016 season so, even if you do not hear back from us immediately, it is likely that you will at some point. No calls, please.

Help Wanted! Seasonal Shop Help

Job Title: Shop Helper
Pay Rate: $9/hour
Hours: Flexible, although some regularity is appreciated. Range of 10-40 hours weekly possible. Weekend and holiday shifts required.

Duties: A shop helper at Wheelhouse Detroit is an integral part of a busy, multi-faceted bike shop that services a diverse clientele with a strong focus on customer service. S/he will assist with renting bikes; general inquiries; minor mechanical issues such as changing a flat tire; restocking inventory; cleaning…and whatever else needs to get done!

Skills: The most important thing necessary for this job is the willingness to jump in and get your hands dirty! Scared to talk to strangers? Need not apply. This job can be high-energy and it can be fun. It can be stressful and it can be quiet. A successful candidate will be quick on their feet and nimble of mind. Must have weekend and holiday availability.

This job is the starting position at the Wheelhouse and, depending on your skill-set, can lead to another position at a higher wage fairly quickly (ie, Tour Sweeper, Mechanic &/or Retailer). Most shifts are 5-6 hours a stretch. No uniform is required, although we will provide you with a couple of t-shirts. No open-toed shoes and fancy clothes are not recommended.

There are also be opportunities to pick up Bike Parking shifts, which also pays $9/hour and sometimes comes with free event tickets (ie, Movement Festival, Detroit City FC matches). It’s probably the most fun you can have working.

This job is at-will, part-time and seasonal. Season is May-September. Hiring and training begins in April.

Send note of introduction that includes any relevant experience and a job history as well as three (non-relative) references to All received resumes will be saved through the course of the 2016 season so, even if you do not hear back from us immediately, it is likely that you will at some point. No calls, please.