Tour d’Eastside, formerly known as Cycle Into Spring, will be a 23-mile bike ride through several of Detroit’s east-side neighborhoods on Saturday, June 2.

Tour d’Eastside, formerly known as Cycle Into Spring, will be a 23-mile bike ride through several of Detroit’s east-side neighborhoods on Saturday, June 2.

Photo provided by Colleen Robar

Bike tour to show off Detroit’s east side

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published May 15, 2018

DETROIT — Tour de Troit, an organization that hosts bicycle rides throughout the Detroit community, is allowing people to see the east side up close and personal with its Tour d’Eastside.

The ride will start at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 2, at Alfred Brush Ford Park on the Detroit River, located at the foot of Lakewood Street. Proceeds from Tour d’Eastside will go toward the continued development of the Conner Creek Greenway.

“We wanted to highlight everything going on in the city, and the east side is beautiful,” remarked Vittoria Katanski, the director of Tour de Troit. “There are great parks along the waterfront, and a lot or people don’t realize what’s going on past Conner (Street).”

The 23-mile route will include a scenic view of Detroit’s Canal District and a ride through historic East English Village, including the Mount Olivet Cemetery. The ride will conclude with a picnic back at Alfred Brush Ford Park by the water.

“We changed up the route this year,” she explained. “We are starting at a different park on the waterfront in the Canal District. We’ll be going through East English Village and some of the neighborhoods on East Outer Drive. We’ll still be seeing the same sights, but we’ll be going a little farther east so we can see some of Morningside and more of the community in that direction.”

Helmets are mandatory for the ride. The fee is $30 for riders-only, $40 for both the ride and the catered lunch by Slows BBQ to Go and Organaman Catering, and $15 for those who just want to attend the lunch. Day-of packet pickup and registration without lunch costs $40. Residents of Conner Creek Greenway-adjacent ZIP codes — 48213, 48214, 48215, 48205 and 48234 — can register day-of for $25.

“We want people in the community we’re going into to still have a chance to join us,” Katanski added. “We want to be cognizant of the neighborhood we go through and be respectful of the people accommodating us.”

Prior to this year, the ride was called Cycle Into Spring.

“We’ve always done a ride on the east side,” said Katanski. “We’ve been doing Cycle Into Spring for eight years, and we renamed it this year. We changed the name to make it a little more descriptive of the ride itself. It seemed like it fit more with the event better. Plus, it gave us a great way to relaunch it with a slightly different route.”

Among the founders of the ride was Kelli Kavanaugh, the owner of the Wheelhouse Detroit bike shop in Detroit. Since 2008, the shop has operated on the riverfront and has been a staple of the biking community in and around Detroit’s east side.

“I helped start the ride while I was doing some consulting work for Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative, specifically around the Conner Creek Greenway,” said Kavanaugh. “I thought a bike ride would draw attention to the greenway and could help support it financially.” 

The ride will provide support for cyclists as well as repair services and a police escort.

“It’s going to be a great time to ride with more people,” said Katanski. “If it’s the first time you’re getting out there for this kind of distance this season, we will be able to support you with police escorts and bike repair services if you have issues. It takes you through parts of the city some people may not be familiar with, and it’s fun to do that with a large group of people. … I think the proximity to the water is amazing. There’s great architecture in the homes there, and there’s a great vibe in the east side, especially for riders; there are a lot of committed riders out this way.”

Kavanaugh said the ride will give people an opportunity to explore some of the often overlooked treasures of the east-side community.

“I love the Detroit River and the great park access on the east side, and all the historic cemeteries are great for exploring,” said Kavanaugh.