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  1. #1
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    Question for Detroit area commuters

    Just wondering, I am looking to possibly relocate to the Detroit Area and am curious as to whether 11 mile or the 696 service drive are safe for commuting on between Huntington Woods and Warren. I am in DC now, and it is relatively safe on most major streets as long as you stay in the right lane, but I have never really seen a lot of bikes on the road in Detroit (originally from Downriver). Suggestions?
    T

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyfo98 View Post
    Just wondering, I am looking to possibly relocate to the Detroit Area and am curious as to whether 11 mile or the 696 service drive are safe for commuting on between Huntington Woods and Warren. I am in DC now, and it is relatively safe on most major streets as long as you stay in the right lane, but I have never really seen a lot of bikes on the road in Detroit (originally from Downriver). Suggestions?
    T
    I am a Detroit native and I visit my family in Macomb and Oakland counties about three times a year. I find the road riding pretty difficult on most of the major streets because of the heavy volumes of traffic and the lack of any shoulders. My one exception is that service drive. It is wide enough for me so I feel pretty safe; I also am an ardent rear view mirror wearer.

    I have resisted riding the side walks out in those areas where I cycle, but I have concluded that is my safest bet. On most major roads, the sidewalks are discontinuous, but they are continuous on that service drive on both sides. My one caveat is that I have only ridden the service drive as far west as John R. Feel free to ask any other questions and I'll be interested to see other replies.

    BTW, there is a nice group of cyclists called the Clinton River Riders that ride in that area.

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    Thanks very much!

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    Senior Member Copper1122's Avatar
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    [rage] Detroit-Metro Sucks for Cyclist Especially the east side[/rage]

    That being said, the service drive is your best bet. However, be prepared for A LOT of honking and yelling from a-hole drivers. It's not entirley their fault though. Being from the area, you know Detroit's strong ties to the auto industry. Unfortunately, its history has also led the area to become the worst metro area in the country for mass/alternative transport. For actual city commuting, get yourself a solid MTB frame and as the other reader suggested you'll be stuck on sidewalks for many parts of your trip. I know its counter intuitive to someone that lived in a cycling viable area but it probably is the safest way to commute through those areas. Especially the closer you get to Warren.

    Good Luck

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    Senior Member fishtoes2000's Avatar
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    Riding on the 696 service drive would not be my first choice. I find east-west bike travel in Detroit's inner ring suburbs is best done on the half-mile roads. For Huntington Woods, that's Lincoln (10.5 mile), which will take you to Warren. It's also easy to drop down to Woodward Heights (9.5) or Meyers (8.5). Keep in mind that these roads change names at the county line.
    www.m-bike.org :: Promoting safe and convenient bicycling in Metro Detroit

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishtoes2000 View Post
    Riding on the 696 service drive would not be my first choice. I find east-west bike travel in Detroit's inner ring suburbs is best done on the half-mile roads. For Huntington Woods, that's Lincoln (10.5 mile), which will take you to Warren. It's also easy to drop down to Woodward Heights (9.5) or Meyers (8.5). Keep in mind that these roads change names at the county line.
    In my occasional riding in Macomb County beginning in Fraser, I have found the half-mile roads pretty good for cycling, but it seems they are all discontinous along their routes, and when I try to follow them I get shunted onto the major unfriendly thoroughfares. I looked at mapquest and it confirmed my opinion.

    As noted above in this thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Copper1122 View Post
    [rage] Detroit-Metro Sucks for Cyclist Especially the east side[/rage]... For actual city commuting, get yourself a solid MTB frame and as the other reader suggested you'll be stuck on sidewalks for many parts of your trip. I know its counter intuitive to someone that lived in a cycling viable area but it probably is the safest way to commute through those areas. Especially the closer you get to Warren...
    I haven't done much riding in the suburbs to the west in Oakland County, mainly because I would have to drive to get there, cutting into my cycling time since the bike ride west is difficult, other than on the service drive. How is the riding out there?

    BTW, when I used to cycle in the City of Detroit itself in the 1960's and 70's, I thought the basic infrastucture was pretty amenable to bicycling with pretty wide roads and nice residential streets that extended for fairly long distances.

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    I live in Detroit but I work in Berkley. There are some bike routes in the area you may wish toconsider. There is a street called Catapal(may be mis-spelled) anyway it is 11 1/2 mile road which has a bike route it goes pretty far but I have not ridden it to John R. I think it goes to John R. You may want to explore that bike route.



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  8. #8
    takin' it to the streets malpag3's Avatar
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    Hey, just saw this.

    I live in Detroit proper and the city itself is very amenable to road cycling.

    The suburbs are a dangerous mess. The speed-limits are high, the cars are huge, and people are REAAAALLLLLLY pissed all of the time. It's a MI thing and I'm kind of glad to be moving soon.

    Use Google Street-view and kind of check out your route. I know a lot of folks in that area who commute and they just cut through the residential streets. Catelpa in Royal Oak is one of them.

    I dunno mang. Just be very careful. There have been quite a few serious incidents in the recent past.
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    Senior Member social suicide's Avatar
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    Buy 14,000 schwinn typhoons and weld them together. Now you have 1/2 the mass of a GMC Yukon. That gives you a 10% chance of surviving a Detroit suburb commute.

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    I don't ride on that side of town as I live on the west side of town. I do drive in the area quite a bit. The service drive is generally in good shape and the traffic, once away from the entrance and exit ramps is not bad. I do agree that the 1/2 mile roads are better if you can wind the route. One of the best, especially in Huntington Woods and Royal Oak is Lincoln which is 10 1/2 mile. You can take it to at least John R and then John R to Woodward Heights which is lightly traveled.

    Thanks, Mike.

  11. #11
    Senior Member fishtoes2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    In my occasional riding in Macomb County beginning in Fraser, I have found the half-mile roads pretty good for cycling, but it seems they are all discontinous along their routes, and when I try to follow them I get shunted onto the major unfriendly thoroughfares. I looked at mapquest and it confirmed my opinion.
    Yes, that is a problem. The primary culprit is the railroad running north-south between Van **** and Mound Roads. However, there is one exception north of 8 Mile: Lincoln/Frazho. You do need to do a jog at 696 then again at the railroad crossing, but you won't be dumped on to main arterials. Sherwood, the road that actually crosses the rail line makes a nice entry to Detroit's northeast side as well.
    www.m-bike.org :: Promoting safe and convenient bicycling in Metro Detroit

  12. #12
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishtoes2000 View Post
    Yes, that is a problem [discontinuous half mile roads]. The primary culprit is the railroad running north-south between Van **** and Mound Roads. However, there is one exception north of 8 Mile: Lincoln/Frazho. You do need to do a jog at 696 then again at the railroad crossing, but you won't be dumped on to main arterials. Sherwood, the road that actually crosses the rail line makes a nice entry to Detroit's northeast side as well.
    Thanks for the reply. Yesterday I looked at mapquest and sent a PM to MSchott:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
    My main problem, as I wrote, if I wanted to do a long ride say 30 to 70 miles as when I'm visiting Detroit while in training for a century, it would be nice to ride west down the half mile roads from my start in Fraser, but I can't find any that go all the way to Woodward and beyond. Otherwise I have to waste cycling time driving out there. I checked out Lincoln Road on mapquest and it looks like it could be a decent road. It almost links up with Frazho Road, another half-mile road in Macomb County.
    That jog at 696 looks complicated, but I look forward to trying that route next time I'm in Michigan.

  13. #13
    Senior Member octaneTom's Avatar
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    11 1/2 mile (Catalpa if you're west of Main Street in Royal oak, Gardenia once you're east of Main Street) is a good road to cycle on, especially going west. Going east, I've taken it to John R and it works very well. Looking at Google, it's going to basically end there, though - so perhaps jog over to 11 mile or the service drive once you get that far...

  14. #14
    I lost my avitar windswept_one's Avatar
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    I've also found Livernois (north - south) to be fairly calm and easy to ride in the street, compared to Crooks or Coolidge.

  15. #15
    Senior Member detroitjim's Avatar
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    There is no reason to put yourself in peril by trying to ride on the service drive.
    There are many low traffic side streets that you can ride safely.
    Lincoln is a much better choice . It is a little tricky the first time at the Dequindre 696 crossing. After you have done it once it no problem . East of Dequindre Lincoln changes to Frazho.
    Catalpa-Gardenia-Martin(11 1/2 mile) is a good route too. The hiccup with that path is the zigging and zagging that is necessary in the subdivision between John R and Dequindre and cutting through the mall parking lot east of there to connect with Martin.
    A lot more commuters are cycling to work now especially after the fuel costs last summer.
    Most of the SMART(suburban ) buses now have two place bike carriers. Unfortunately they are usually taken during high use times.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Silverexpress's Avatar
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    I just found this thread...

    I have a route mapped out on www.bikely.com under Silverexpress. It goes from Southfield to Warren to MetroPark. It basically uses the roads detroitjim mentioned above. Past Van ****, I head over to Common rd., and it goes well beyond Warren.

    Better yet...

    http://www.bikely.com/listpaths/srch...254/region/144
    Regards,
    Jose

  17. #17
    Fat man on a little bike. Big Fat Paulie's Avatar
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    Detroit Safe for Cycling..Ha!

    Detroit and it's surrounding burbs all involve "Danger", "Grave Danger?", "Is there any other kind!" People are ******** these days, drivers don't care on iota about cutting each other off so I know they don't care about cyclists. I have seen these situations personally. Even if it isn't intentionally directed towards cyclists the fact that many drivers are doing 60-70 mph on city streets means they won't see you and couldn't stop if they did.


    These two pics are of a recent but all too frequent type of accident in Detroit. Too many drivers either don't pay attention or don't care about the havoc they cause. It can be done safely but you definitely take your life in your hands riding in Detroit.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
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    Commuting through Warren

    Welcome to Detroit!

    I live in Warren and would avoid the service drives at all costs. The main problem is cars exiting I-696 move straight from the off ramp to the curb lane without slowing for oncoming traffic. I would recommend 12 Mile road or 13 Mile road which have good visibility and sidewalks for high auto traffic periods.

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