Friday, March 20, 2009

Scooter Resources -- Detroit Scootin'

I don’t know how many of you are currently scooterists or are just considering this fun, economical and environmentally friendly method of transport (and awesome hobby if you aren’t careful), but I have to recommend using your scoot to ride to work. I commuted to downtown Detroit the other day to visit some friends at the Detroit Beer Company. It was cold, probably just under 30 degrees, but dry and clear. I suited up and headed out on the Bajaj. I live in Royal Oak, about 12 miles from downtown. I cut down Hilton and headed out to Woodward. Woodward Ave. was America’s first concrete-paved highway and the center of the automotive world on the second Saturday in August during the Woodward Dream Cruise. It’s a historic and amazing road anyway, and it’s handy when you are commuting on a 150cc scooter. I headed south through Ferndale and into Detroit, crossing over 8 Mile Road. Past the State Fair site (perhaps hosting the last publically-funded Michigan State Fair this year), still heading south. There is a trick to driving on Woodward and I’ll share it now. Watch your speed – if you go near the speed limit you will get a free pass to green-light heaven. It’s especially gratifying on a scooter, as it’s easy to maintain a nice steady 40 mph, and that’s the magic number. Eventually it falls apart, usually when distraction gets the better of our automobile driving friends (just what are you looking for in that purse anyway?)

Soon I was through the Cass Corridor, New Center, Midtown, the cultural center and finally, downtown, where I turned on Witherell St. and then to my destination. The Detroit Beer Company is on Broadway, across from the Opera House. It’s housed in the Hartz Building, which is a great old six-story Detroit brick building built in 1905. You walk in there and you can feel the history. If you’ve never been to the DBC, it’s housed in a long, narrow space with the brewing equipment on display a half-floor down as you walk in. The bar is probably 50 feet long, and tables are scattered throughout. There is another space with bar and seating on the second floor. The beer here is pretty good and the food is probably two notches above your typical sports bar stuff. It beats the heck out of the food at Tiger Stadium and Ford Field, which are respectively two and four blocks away. The DBC is a great location for a quick bite before or after the game or concert and absolutely kills with its outdoor seating during the warmer months. There is a People Mover station a half block away, so the DBC and Opera House area makes a great spot to park and walk/ride for any downtown event. Of course, I just roll the scoot up on the sidewalk since it’s in Detroit and Detroit is cool with that, as long as you are not blocking the way for pedestrians or blocking a fire hydrant.

It’s great to commute on the scoot to see old friends and visit old, cool places in the D. Everyone, and I mean everyone loves to see a vintage-styled scooter, and it’s a great topic of conversation for your friends. All this writing (and temps in the high 50s!) has made me want to hit the streets, so until next time, keep on scooting!

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