Heading over to my friend Candace’s house on this Wednesday evening after work, I mused, “What are we doing tonight again?” She had invited me to a free, organized bike ride meeting near the Nautical Mile in St. Clair Shores, but I wasn’t clear exactly what it was all about. It ended up being an event called The Nautical Ride, St. Clair Shores’ version of Detroit’s weekly Monday night bike ride extravaganza, Slow Roll. And it was pretty awesome!
The night we went was one that looked really nasty weather-wise; it was threatening to storm, and it had rained very heavily where I work in Auburn Hills just a few hours before. So I was surprised to see what looked like several hundred people gathered for this bike ride, many of them children. If the children could brave the threat of a storm, so could I!
My friend and I soon learned that these Nautical Riders are not messing around! This is a very professional outfit. There are free helmets for those who would like them. There is cooperation with the police/city, who have approved having the cyclists take up the far-right lane of the roads they are traversing each week on the designated route. There are Nautical Ride volunteers helping to direct traffic through intersections and patrolling up and down the column of cyclists, making sure everyone is OK and everything is running smoothly. People with children riding are asked to gather at the front of the pack, then the rest of the participants are asked to line up based on skill level, with slower pedalers lining up towards the back. Yeah . . . we didn’t really end up heeding that, then struggled to keep up with those in front of us in the beginning, causing one of the roving Slow Roll volunteers to urge us to speed up. “We’re trying!” we yelled, pedaling furiously. Fortunately, shortly thereafter, the line in front of us slowed considerably, and we were able to easily keep up. And it was fun! I even somewhat mastered the wobbly borrowed bike that I was riding on (was it the bike, or was it just me sucking at riding a bike for the first time in years? Likely a combination of both!).
I would highly recommend hitting the next Wednesday night Nautical Ride that falls on one of these upcoming sure-to-be-gorgeous, early-fall evenings. The rides are sponsored by Roy O’Brien Ford in St. Clair Shores, and according to their website, are supposed to take place every Wednesday night through October. The Nautical Ride Facebook event page, which you can get to and view from the Roy O’Brien website even if you don’t have Facebook, lists the location each ride will meet at that week. The meet-up time is 6:30 p.m., with rides leaving at 7 p.m.
I neglected to take any photos on my ride, as I decided not to bring my phone with me. The above photo is one that was featured in a July 22, 2015 C & G Newspapers article about the event.
Held every Wednesday night June through October;
meeting location varies; riders meet at 6:30 p.m. and leave at 7 p.m.