Winter or Not, We Got Events Coming Up!

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We are currently on Winter Break, but we will be back Saturday, January 26 with not one, but two events…and then our monthly First Friday Happy Hour comes up later that same week. Get ready to hang with Wheelhouse!

Saturday, January 26 9AM Winter Joy Ride

Meet up at the shop at 9AM for a 2-hour ride with a stop at a coffee shop. Pace and distance determined by group. This is a no-drop ride. Come layered up and ready to ride! More info and future dates HERE.

Saturday, January 26 2PM Flat-Fixing Class

Informal, personal instruction on how to fix a flat — one of the most invaluable tools a cyclist can have in their belt. Bring your own bike or use one of our rentals. And any tube or tool you purchase will be 10% off! More info and future dates HERE.

Friday, February 1 5PM First Friday Happy Hour

Our monthly happy hour will benefit the Michigan Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and will feature tacos from our buds at Dos Loco. Swing by and enjoy a beer or two and help out some good people at the same time. More info HERE.

Used Bikes & Trade-Ins

We know sometimes budgets are tight, so we work to provide quality used bikes at affordable prices to our customers.

Some quick facts about our used bike program:

  • With a few exceptions, the used bikes we carry will be targeted specifically towards the urban rider.

  • We are sweeping the state for great deals on well-maintained unique bikes with quality components. Think Raleigh, Cannondale, OG Schwinn, Trek, Specialized, etc. You are not going to find Big Box reboots.

  • Some of our rental fleet will become available for purchase.

  • All bikes will receive a thorough going over by a professional mechanic prior to being offered for sale.

  • This one is important: We are committed to stocking quality used bikes from legitimate sources at a fair market price. What does this mean? This is not a pawn shop. We will not be taking bikes of questionable provenance EVER. 

Want to trade in a bike for cash, credit, or towards the purchase of a new bike? Read ahead:

  • We do ask that you provide proof of purchase or that the bike is registered with the City of Detroit or the City of Hamtramck.

  • We require that the bike is one that was purchased at an IBD (independent bicycle dealer AKA a bike shop) not a big box store. We are not trying to be bike snobs, but we are also committed to quality.

  • You should know upfront that you should not expect to receive cash or credit equal to the resale value of the bike. As with most consignment-type operations, our internal costs must be accounted for, including staff time (both mechanic and administrative), insurance, taxes, and more. If you are looking for the most cash possible out of your bike, by all means take it to Craigslist. But we promise to be fair and help you chip away at the purchase price of the bike of your dreams!

To see what we currently have available in terms of used bikes, check out our website.

Questions? Email us at info@wheelhousedetroit.com.

Job Posting: Bicycle Service Tech

Job Title: Bicycle Service Tech

Pay Rate: $9-11/hour depending on level of experience. Hours: 10-32/week. Evaluation and raise after 30 days.

Location: Shifts are available at both Rivertown and Hamtramck locations.

Duties: A Bicycle Service Technician is an integral component of a multi-faceted bike shop that services a diverse clientele with a strong focus on customer service. Their primary responsibility is to ensure a smooth running service department at all times. This can include assembling new bicycles; servicing customer bicycles; assisting in the maintenance of the rental fleet; and contributing to the inventory management, cleanliness and organization of the service department.

This job requires a positive attitude, strong teamwork skills, willingness to learn on the job and absorb constructive feedback, and mechanical experience. Proven customer-service experience and/or prior bike shop experience would be a plus.

You will report directly to the Service Department Manager and General Manager. A successful candidate will contribute to the overall success of the company by participating in all aspects of the business, including a willingness to assist on the retail floor and with bicycle rentals as necessary.

Due to the seasonal nature of this position, candidate must have weekend and holiday availability.

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

Extra shifts may become available, including Bike Parking and Tour Sweeper.

This job is at-will, part-time, and seasonal. Season is May-September.

Send resume or summary of work experience and three references to info@wheelhousedetroit.com.

Spring News from the Wheelhouse

Lots of News You Can Use in our March E-Blast!

SPRING IS HERE! (SERIOUSLY.)

As March comes to a close we are eagerly awaiting the green grass, (sometime) blue skies, and red robins of April. 

Mark your calendars for a few upcoming dates that will surely bring a springish smile of anticipation to your face:

Our Riverfront location opens for its ELEVENTH SEASON on April 6!

Also April 6, it's FIRST FRIDAY HAPPY HOUR in Hamtramck! This one features the culinary stylings of BOMB-TONS and tunes from this month's beneficiary, Girls Rock Detroit!

Our tour season kicks off April 14! Head to wheelhousedetroit/tours and use the promo code APRILFLOWERS at checkout to save on any April tour, which includes Eastern Market, Public Art, Belle Isle, Auto Heritage, and Architecture.

Finally, through April 27, save 10 bucks on your Spring Tuneup! Regularly $50, this seasonal necessity is just $40. A tuneup includes the adjustment of gears and derailleur; minor (on-bike) wheel true; lube; and we a check/tightening of the crank and headset. The sooner you get your bike in, the quicker the turn-around. 


READ MORE HERE and sign up for our never-more-than-once-a-month email newsletter HERE (scroll all the way down).

TOUR SEASON IS UPON US!

Our 2018 tour season will start rolling on April 14! To whet your appetite, here are some random bits and pieces of info about what's to come.

Any April tour is 5 bucks off when you register by March 30. Head to wheelhousedetroit.com/tours and check out the April Eastern Market, Belle Isle, Architecture, Auto Heritage and Public Art options. Just use the promo code "APRILFLOWERS" when you register to score the deal!

As we are able to confirm our guides and stops and partnerships, we are adding more tours all the time! So far, we have April and early May booked as well as all of our Urban Agriculture tours with partner Keep Growing Detroit; our October Haunted tours; Palmer Park; Churches of Poletown; and all of Memorial Day Weekend! Still plenty to come, so keep checking back...

If you have a group looking for your own private tour, we urge you to book now! Please send an email to Linda at bookings@wheelhousedetroit.com to get started on reserving a date. 

Finally, head over HERE to read a great article from the Winnipeg Free Press about a tour a writer from that neck of the woods enjoyed last fall!

Motorless in Motor City from the Winnipeg Free Press

Motorless in Motor City

Switching up the power source on a jam-packed, whirlwind tour of Detroit

by Leesa Dahl

Winnipeg Free Press

3/24/18

In less than a week I’ve taken in all the automotive history this revitalized town has to offer. By Day 4, I’m more than fired up about a pedal-powered tour through Motor City.

My three-hour "Near East Side" bike tour kicks off at Detroit’s busy, charming riverfront area, a nine-kilometre stretch along the navigable Detroit River.

I can see the shoreline of Canada from Wheelhouse Detroit, an open-air bicycle retail and service centre that’s owned and operated by tour guide Kelli Kavanaugh, an avid cyclist and longtime Detroiter, who opened for business in 2008.

Kavanaugh, 41, offers a variety of bicycle tours of old neighbourhoods in the former American powerhouse of automotive industry, a city that is currently undergoing a resurgence after the federal government bailed out the bankrupt city in 2013. Since then, city planners and investors here have been working to restore its lost prosperity. So far, they’ve managed to build a multimillion-dollar, state-of-the-art multi-purpose arena — Little Caesars Arena — in the downtown core, repurposed hundreds of vacant buildings, skyscrapers and warehouses, and constructed a 5.3-kilometre people-mover called the Qline.

And to my delight, they’ve also put a fair share of cash into creating a safe, cycle-friendly infrastructure that Kavanaugh says is a benefit to both local commuters and visitors.

"There are currently over 200 miles (322 kilometres) of bike lanes, and we’re starting to see more protected, or buffered, lanes going in," says Kavanaugh, as she patiently fits our nine-member tour group with helmets and adequate bicycles.

Mine, a pink single-speed coaster with a lightweight aluminum frame, cosy couch saddle and a front basket is chosen for me by the store’s cautious and efficient assistant, Tony Ruacho, whose real job as "sweeper" is to keep the nine of us in unison and upright. He is also required to take care of any mechanical issues that might arise on the tour; but in reality, the cajoling Ruacho’s easy banter and keen knowledge of Detroit’s fascinating neighbourhoods are where his true talents lie.

Following Kavanaugh’s brief monologue on the importance of using hand signals — an ostensible rule of the road which should not, in any event, be diminished — we’re heading west along the gorgeous, revitalized riverwalk.

Here, we carefully weave through hundreds of costumed runners who, it would appear, are participating in a fundraising event, possibly a 5-km charity race.

It’s an easy pace for a veteran cyclist who spends a good part of her Manitoba summers pedalling to and from the newspaper’s office, an 11-km one-way trip along quiet residential streets and scenic parks. But all this clambering up and down curbs, manoeuvring between parked vehicles and pedalling up and down bridges along St. Aubin Street is arduous, so when we finally park our two-wheelers in front of a graffiti-tagged warehouse at the 43-acre Eastern Market I’m quietly relieved.

We scatter ourselves among the crowds for a quick walk-about of the historic commercial district that, on this day, is reeling with activity as thousands of Detroiters (45,000 people regularly frequent the Eastern Market on any given Saturday) eagerly try to get their hands on a wide variety of produce, meats and spices.

The scores of retail shops, restaurants and art galleries are all so alluring but we’re soon back on the saddle heading toward the market’s eastern edge. After a few minutes, we arrive at Gratiot Avenue and coast down an entrance ramp onto the Dequindre Cut Greenway, a former Grand Trunk railway line that stretches 9 km between Mack Avenue and Atwater Street.

Grafitti by local artists Hygienic Dress League is displayed along the revitalized Dequindre Cut Greenway.  Photo by Leesa Dahl

Grafitti by local artists Hygienic Dress League is displayed along the revitalized Dequindre Cut Greenway. Photo by Leesa Dahl

Rail service here culminated in 1995, and a decade later a 20-foot-wide, two-way paved path (one for cyclists, one for pedestrians) was constructed eight metres below street level at a cost of US$21 million. The lengthy revitalization project, which is bounded by walls of grass, shrubs and a few crumbling factories, offers access to and from many residential areas. Once inside, a number of emergency poles equipped with telephones keep visitors feeling secure while they stroll, cycle or enjoy a workout on a small outdoor gym.

The Cut is a peaceful urban escape that also features some of the city’s finest graffiti, a nice touch that fills the extended green space with an urban gritty vibe.

Tagging public spaces was once an integral part of Detroit’s historical landscape. Graffiti was, and still is, a socio-political statement as well as a form of self-expression during the city’s difficult economic downturn. Here, on the Dequindre Cut Greenway, the wall art is a vibrant blend of old, fortified and new. Many are inspirational words of wisdom or simply whimsical, colourful illustrations. Others, meanwhile, are masterpieces created by some of the city’s finest graffiti artists, including Hygienic Dress League, a husband and wife team — visual artists Steve and Dorota Coy — who decorate the Cut and the rest of Detroit with their profound, inspiring works of art.

Marc Pasco, director of communications for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, says he is overjoyed to see Detroit bouncing back with innovative ideas like the Dequindre Cut Greenway. He "did the auto thing" for years before the flourishing industry collapsed, taking with it more than half of the city’s population.

Since then, low startup costs and economic development initiatives have created an influx of American suburbanites and millennials, who arrive daily to start up IT businesses or work for trendy companies like Shinola, a watch assembly plant located within the historic Argonaut Building, formerly the General Motors Research Laboratory. (Shinola also assembles a line of shiny, high-end bicycles at its spiffy flagship retail store on Canfield Street.)

A fence on Heidelberg Street is covered in old, worn shoes.  Photo by Leesa Dahl

A fence on Heidelberg Street is covered in old, worn shoes. Photo by Leesa Dahl

They live in many of the city’s old repurposed buildings such as the low rise Wayne County Building on Randolph Street in the financial district — formerly the Wayne County administrative offices — or opt to pay US$700 a month to reside in a 290-square-foot micro-apartment inside the 38-storey David Stott Building on Griswold Street.

Or, they might choose to rent one of the 279 units available at the newly developed Orleans Landing here on the Dequindre Cut Greenway.

"For US$1,000 a month you can live in a one-bedroom or for US$2,800 you can have three bedrooms," explains Pasco, who is optimistic about the recent rise in Detroit’s population (now around 700,000), the decrease in unemployment rates and a downtown core that is 99 per cent full.

With that in mind, one might be inclined to compare the city’s current economy with that of 1955, an era when Detroit was reaping the benefits of a prosperous automotive manufacturing industry. But Pasco says this is unreasonable.

"The ‘50s are gone," he says. "So let’s move on and reinvent ourselves, continue with the path we’re on, the trajectory that we’re on and create a new glory era, or a golden age, if you will."

For now, our two-wheeling trail is restricting us to the right side of a busy two-lane roadway as we say farewell to the quietness and safety of the Dequindre Cut Greenway and pass into the gentrified McDougall-Hunt neighbourhood on the city’s east side. We cautiously veer right past empty grassy lots, ramshackle buildings and abandoned homes and find ourselves at a bizarre outdoor exhibit by Detroit’s Tyree Guyton (tyreeguyton.com), a local painter and sculptor who developed his idiosyncratic environment as a creative response to ongoing blight and decay in the neighbourhood he grew up in.

A stroll down Heidelberg Street, which attracts more than 200,000 tourists a year, is like walking into an open-air art gallery that is sullied and has no decorum. It’s kind of like a neighbourhood garage sale gone astray. A leaning wire fence at its entrance is covered in hundreds of previously worn shoes (clearly a sentiment to the area’s lost souls) and the modest, clapboard homes along its length are painted in a splendour of colourful numbers and dots. Thousands of used, tattered items — doors, clocks, tires, appliances, furniture, clothes, televisions — are scattered on its sidewalks and boulevards, communicating subliminal messages of time spent and wasted.

The Heidelberg Project is said to be a powerful symbol of how a few communities in this recovering metropolis have ended up discarded. A post on the project’s Facebook page alongside an image of discarded television sets says: "Art can be a catalyst for positive change and help breathe new life into neighbourhoods that have been virtually forgotten."

It’s a hopeful way of thinking that might sadly be set aside in the next couple of years when the Heidelberg Project in McDougall-Hunt is dismantled and laid to rest, not unlike the fallen Civil War generals and other dead Detroiters who are buried at our next stop, the park-like Elmwood Cemetery, on the city’s east side.

Built in 1841, the 86-acre Elmwood Cemetery on Elmwood Avenue is a tranquil must-see stop, especially at a steady pace on a two-wheeler, which allows time to chat and learn about the history of this fascinating place.

Formerly farmland situated on the outskirts of Detroit, the tranquil non-denominational Elmwood Cemetery is presently a woodland of over 1,400 trees that represent more than 90 species. Kavanaugh says regular pruning of the black locusts, hawthorn, beech, willow, ash, American plum, domestic pear and other woody plants helps conserve the natural beauty of the grounds, which is splendidly enhanced by hundreds of statues and limestone monuments like the Gothic Revival chapel, constructed in 1856, and the Gothic-inspired gatehouse, built in 1876.

Recently, the cemetery, which also happens to be the final resting place of some of Detroit’s most distinguished people, became the city’s first accredited arboretum, a botanical garden of sorts that is similar to our final destination.

As we zip past Earthworks Urban Farm, an urban agricultural site on Meldrum Street in the near east side neighbourhood, Kavanaugh is quick to point out that it’s only one of 1,400 urban gardens and farms found in and around the city that sprouted from swathes of vacant land.

Kim Rusinow, owner and operator of Destination Detroit Tours, adds that the city’s increasing economic challenges and declining population also compelled community developers to begin to think critically and collaboratively on ways to address the abundance of vacant land.

"We viewed vacant land as an opportunity, not further demise," says Rusinow, who offers extensive tours of Detroit, including Downtown, Midtown, Eastern Market, Greektown, Corktown and the riverfront, as well as special places like the Heidelberg Project and Grand River. "We brought a better understanding of how the vacant land repurposing might be used to better life in the communities through jobs, healthily food and sustainability and improving the overall way the community looks and feels."

And like the partially constructed Inner Circle Greenway, a 42-kilometre non-motorized loop that Kavanaugh says will be completed in the next few years, Earthworks Urban Farm will continue connecting Detroit neighbourhoods, communities and people.

leesa.dahl@freepress.mb.ca

Pre-Spring Tune-up Special!

Through the first day of Spring -- March 20 -- Wheelhouse will be offering our Standard Tune-up for just $35 (Reg. $50).

What's a tune-up? It's a procedure that will get your bike into tip-top shape for the riding season. It includes the adjustment of gears and derailleur; minor (on-bike) wheel true; lube; and we will check/tighten the crank and headset.

We will also offer a commensurate savings of 30% off our Tune-up Plus and Total Overhaul Services!

Tune-up PlusStandard Tune-up + full (off-bike) wheel true + clean bottom bracket and both derailleurs: Reg. $75

Total Overhaul = Tune-up Plus + all parts: Reg. $175

Besides saving a ton of dough, getting your bike in for its annual service now means that it will be available every single time those nice days appear while they are still rare and far between. Plus, turn around times are quick this time of year: if no parts need to be ordered we can typically have your bike back to you the very next day!

No appointment necessary! Just bring your bike by the Hamtramck shop and we'll go over everything with you, check it in and call you when the work is complete! It's that simple. We're open 5 days a week: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 11am - 7pm and Thursday 1 - 9pm.

If getting the bike here is an obstacle, we can arrange pickup and/or delivery! Email us HERE to get it set up.

More info about our service department and staff can be found HERE.