The very things that are fueling Detroit– optimism, entrepreneurship, a respect for bicycle culture – are the very things that the Detroit Regional Chamber are focusing on for a newly announced part of its annual Mackinac Policy Conference.
Recently, the Chamber added a Slow Roll to the event, which will take place Wednesday, June 1 on the Island as part of the overall conference. Jason Hall, co-founder of Slow Roll Detroit, is working with Chamber representatives, the Grand Hotel and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System to organize this bike ride through Mackinac Island.
The Slow Roll across the Island seemed like the best way to connect Conference attendees, to encourage further discussion about Detroit and its opportunities and to highlight entrepreneurship as a topic for the overall 2016 event, said James Martinez, the director of communications for the Detroit Regional Chamber. (The other two pillars or main topics for the 2016 Conference are urban education and investment in the future through high-profile business sectors such as IT, automotive, defense and advance manufacturing.)
“It was such a great fit for what we want to talk about on Mackinac Island: How entrepreneurship is so very important to the city and to the region,” Martinez said. “Jason is a well-known and successful entrepreneur. We approached him with the idea so we could shine a light on this uniquely Detroit event.”
It is something Saint Joseph Mercy Health System also felt strongly about.
“We are thrilled to bring Slow Roll Detroit to the Mackinac Policy Conference this year,” said Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. “As health advocates, we are always looking for opportunities within our existing relationships to promote health and wellness in our communities. We have long sponsored the Mackinac Policy Conference and worked with Slow Roll in the past, so this is a fun way to bring the message of wellness to another audience.”
It comes at the right time for not only the Mackinac Policy Conference – which focused directly on Detroit, its neighborhoods and redevelopment in its 2015 iteration – but on the right time for Slow Roll. Over the past six years, Hall and his fellow organizers have turned this weekly bike ride into an international phenomenon. In Detroit, more than 4,000 people join the ride on a regular basis, taking them through Detroit’s many beautiful locations and blocks.
Slow Roll, both in Detroit as well as other cities, aims to create a bike-riding experience like no other. All ages and all skill levels are encouraged to participate in the bike ride, creating an inclusive experience that the Chamber felt was important to the Conference experience, Martinez added.
“It’s a great way to add to this statewide conversation at Mackinac,” Martinez said. “It’s a group of people out there together acting as one cohesively. It creates yet another great message for Michigan. … It’s an event that really resonates with people; you can see why it has grown into a national network of community rides.
“It brings such a positive attitude and community-driven atmosphere,” Martinez added. “It’s a great way to get people outside, to meet one another, to get to know colleagues. It’s about creating those relationships that are long lasting and produce results when folks get back home.”
Want to try Slow Roll? Now in the a 6th Season, Slow Roll is operated by Detroit Bike City, Inc., a non-profit corporation. The first ride takes place starting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 25, for the Red Roll with the American Heart Association. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m.; the group will ride out at 7:30 p.m. from Eastern Market Corporation Shed 2. Sign up for your membership today at slowroll.bike with the option to donate to the cause.