Not to insult our fair Detroit, but she’s a pretty flat city. We have pleasant views, but there are few hills or steep inclines.
Ultimately, that’s good. Because if you’re going to take to two wheels for the upcoming Man Ride, you’ll be happy to know it is “a pleasant pedal,” said organizer Matthew Naimi. And when you take time, when you ride bikes, look at art, hang out together…then you really create community.
The Man Ride is an Earth Day bike tour that benefits Green Living Science, a program that brings environmental education to Detroit Public Schools. The Man Ride includes art, recycling and beer – all things that most of the human species believes in and should seek to protect.
The ride, organized by GLS and Wheelhouse Detroit, is one part exercise, one part fund raiser and one part art tour. So you’ll feel good, do good and learn something along the way about Detroit and its art scene. The best part? You ride along with the artist himself – and, to me, that’s about as good as it gets.
Here’s the basics. The Man Ride takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27. The price is $30; it goes up $10 if you need to rent a bike from Wheelhouse Detroit. You and artist John Sauve will tour the “Man in the City” steel sculpture art installation through Corktown, Midtown, Eastern Market and Downtown.
The tour will stop at Recycle Here!, Detroit’s main recycling facility, and its neighboring Lincoln Street Art Park. Here, you will learn about how Naimi and the crew are not only asking city residents to reduce, reuse and recycle, but they also are helping people understand how the purchases they make contribute to the betterment or challenges to the environment. More on that two paragraphs from now.
Finally, you will swing by Atwater Brewery, where you will enjoy a pint of its finest brew on the house. I’m going to guess here and say that this may qualify as the most satisfying beer you will ever drink in your life. Ok, maybe that day. For sure, that day.
Naimi started Recycle Here! as a way to create generational and systemic change around Detroit, to truly impact the way city residents viewed their garbage. The city-funded enterprise asks its patrons to sort their own recycling, hoping that in the process they notice what they’re buying, how they’re using it and, perhaps, whether they can make a better purchasing decision down the road, Naimi said.
“The more time people spend with the garbage, the more they really get to know their spending habits. When they know what things aren’t recyclable, maybe they won’t buy it,” Naimi said.
The next step was Green Living Science. It began with a little a newspaper drive at Detroit Public Schools called Schoolcycle in 2007, getting students to compete with one another at other schools. It worked out pretty well, and he and the staff realized they were good at making recycling exciting for kids, Naimi said. So this inspiration – along with citywide budget issues – got them thinking.
They spun off Schoolcycle to become Green Living Science, a true 501(c)3 program, in 2011. Over the past six or so years, they have impacted more than 50,000 students – teaching each kid what “green” means, Naimi said. All of the proceeds from Recycle Here! goes toward funding GLS, which working with Detroit students in grades kindergarten through eighth.
“We’re creating a greener future that way. We can see the real-world applications to our program,” Naimi said. “With this education, they begin to question everything. They question their parents and caregivers about waste and recycling, and it leads to increased participation city-wide. We’re really excited about how the program works.”
John Sauve is their partner on this fund-raising bike tour. His artwork is nationally known, yet he remains true to Detroit. Naimi says you’ll know his stuff from seeing those orange guys around. But for some time, no one knew who did them. Naimi got his first one at the Lincoln street Art Park about two years ago.
Suave has been elevating his latest installment around the city – hoping that people would look up and see not only the artwork, but the environment around them. He will cruise along with the tour, highlighting each Man location, hoping to show us all that we are part of something far bigger than ourselves. The goal, Naimi said, it to put us in our places and within our environment in a new way.
“We’re trying to change the world based on individual responsibility,” Naimi said. “That’s the only to create sustainable change – you have to make one change at a time.”
For more information on Man Ride:
Note: This post originally appeared in Dig Downtown Detroit and is used with permission.