Leveraging Detroit’s Excellence in Graffiti

There are two kinds of people that really symbolize the values of determination and perfectionism to me: kids in skate board parks and graffiti artists. I love this bit from a story about a successful Detroit bike path project:

‘For many locals, the best part of the Dequindre Cut is its colorful graffiti. During the 25 years that the rail line went unused, it became a kind of open-air gallery overgrown with brush and home to wildlife such as pheasants, foxes, and rabbits. The trail’s promoters have used the project to preserve the graphic remnants of its days as a dystopian nature trail visited only by graffiti artists, urban explorers, and the homeless. “It was like a wilderness in the middle of the city,” says Jim Griffioen, a Lafayette Park resident. “It was splashed with an ever-changing archaeology of color that even the most stodgy decrier of vandalism couldn’t deny was art.”’

Cut Loose from the Car — Kelli B. Kavanaugh, Metropolis Mag

A nostalgic effort to capture the graffitic heritage of the site. Awesome. A successful Detroit bike path. Awesome. I hope this project helps to take bike commuting, something Detroit is not known for, to new heights in the city; and to take graffiti, something Detroit should be rightfully proud of, to new levels of excellence.

‘It won’t exactly compensate for the failing fortunes of the automobile industry, but at least it’s a sign of a new way of thinking that’s gaining ground in the Motor City. “This is about having a vision,” Woiwode says. “The Dequindre Cut really is a great way to talk about what could be. It makes people able to imagine just how profound a change there can be in how we get around in southeast Michigan.”‘

Yes indeed, it’s time for Detroit and southeast Michigan to get excited about change. They’ve got a lot of it coming.

Detroit Real Estate: Buy Low Dream High

“Buying that first house had a snowball effect. Almost immediately, Mitch and Gina bought two adjacent lots for even less and, with the help of friends and local youngsters, dug in a garden. Then they bought the house next door for $500, reselling it to a pair of local artists for a $50 profit. When they heard about the $100 place down the street, they called their friends Jon and Sarah.

Admittedly, the $100 home needed some work, a hole patched, some windows replaced. But Mitch plans to connect their home to his mini-green grid and a neighborhood is slowly coming together.”

For Sale: The $100 House — NYT

Update: Not sure, but this website might be related.

Rivendell Bicycle Works

I will never buy a bike from Rivendell Bicycle Works, but I like that they exist.

Have a look at their company history (which includes a hard-numbers explanation of their charming financial status) and click through some of the bike models. But don’t ask for a custom unless you really need one. They’re all sculptures anyway.

“The A. Homer Hilsen’s versatility isn’t a result of design genius or high tech breakthroughs. Its versatility comes the way versatility always comes: by means of properly dimensioned tubes and properly located bridges, which lead to the clearances that fenders with medium-volume tires require.
It feels odd to boast about that or even mention it at all, because it’s kind of a boring topic, and it seems as though making forks the right length and putting the seat stay- and chain stay-bridges in the right spot for good clearance should be a given.”

Walnut Creek, California. But they do mail order. If you are ordering by mail, they recommend describing your custom paint colour to them by referencing crayola crayons.

I say I will never buy a bike from Rivendell, and that is true. But there is one condition in which I might: when The Change comes (or finishes coming), and I am shopping for one bicycle that will function as a universal vehicle and survive decades of wear, and assuming that I am living near enough to California or in it, such that shipping will not be prohibitive, then Rivendell is exactly the sort of local bicycyle blackshop I would wish to shop at. And possibly buy (order and wait 3 months) this one, if they have by that time decided to redesign it for standardly available wheels.