Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I also wanted to use this morning as a chance to test out the new SMART bus schedule. I was early enough to hit the 460 at the Royal Oak Transit Center all the way downtown. The bus was full but only about 2 minutes late. And not to worry - I totally got hit on at the bus stop before even dismounting my bike. A fellow bus rider asked if I had a boyfriend, told me he bet we'd make some beautiful babies, checked in on my holiday shopping status, and bid me adieu. A-mah-zing.
After our meeting, I set out in the new Detroit bus-normal. Here's a timeline:
10:38am - arrive at bus stop right on time - the DDOT Woodward 53 is supposed to arrive at 10:40am
11:00am - bus arrives after standing in the rain and missing being splashed at the bus stop by car drivers/puddles (thanks to my fellow SIX bus stop pals yelling 'watch out, baby!')
The 53 has an empty bike rack (YAY) but is packed with people. See Twitter for photo evidence (@2women4wheels). I end up getting one of the last seats- after paying my $1.75 - in a total standing-room-only bus. The man in front of me is wearing homemade actual paper clip pierced earrings. The ultimate in green/re-used/DIY fashion!
Oh, and someone says 'you take care of that gorgeous figure' to me, kind of loudly in front of the entire bus. Don't you worry...!?
11:38am - arrive at the State Fairgrounds.
11:42am - pick up the SMART 450 - after I see the bus driver flag down a Woodward 53 to transfer people. I give the bus drivers a lot of credit for trying to navigate these changes - and helping people along the way. I have to pay another $.50 for this transfer - which increases my bus commuting costs $.25 per ride between both systems. Our SMART 450 driver ends up waiting about 5 minutes for others to board from another Woodward 53.
11:50am - someone offers an uneaten ham sandwich to the entire bus. YES.
12noon - get off the bus at 11 & Woodward.
12:15pm - arrive at home. Harried. Really frustrated with this "new" system. Yet, grateful that I'm home safe, and grateful that I don't have to rely on this system on a regular basis. Because you know what? The majority of the people on this bus do. This adds about 45 minutes to my bus/bike commute. That's kind of insane, right? Without traffic, this commute is about 25 minutes via car.
How is this acceptable for a major metropolitan region? It's not.
We need to change this "new" system - and be vocal about our experiences.
We've said it before, but we'll say it again:
Send us your pictures!
Send us your stories!
Feel free to send photos to:
tag us on Twitter at:
or post to Facebook tagging:
2 Women 4 Wheels
We would love to have the opportunity to be the voice for the bus/bike commuting community - to help highlight the need for increased bus service. So help us out. :)
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Second, news sources report that after four years of planning, the light rail system from downtown Detroit to 8 Mile has been scrapped!
And now we are hearing that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing are advocating for rapid transit buses. Really? And how long will that take to be implemented?
This leads us to the grand question, "WHAT THE BLEEP IS GOING ON?"
In all seriousness, *WHEN* will we have a reliable public transportation system that gets us from point A to point B in Detroit and across the region? And how many people in the interim will lose their jobs because they can't get to work on time? Furthermore, how many people will just give up on public transportation altogether because of all of these cuts? Unfortunately, our leaders are not providing answers to these questions.
Bottom line - we need a public transportation system that works and until that is a reality, we need to make sure that our leaders see what we endure with the current system.
So... participate in our picture campaign! It's simple.
Take pictures of the following:
1. Crowded buses
2. Crowded bus stops
3. Full buses driving away, leaving you to await the next one
Along with your pictures, please also post the date/time and route (whether SMART or DDOT).
Send photos to:
tag us on Twitter at: @2women4wheels
or post to Facebook tagging: 2 Women 4 Wheels
Monday, December 12, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
I roll up to the Royal Oak Transit Center right on time, am about to turn the corner onto Lafayette and run into a HUGE carnie backup. Lines of carnies with their fabulous carnival rides hooked up to trailers, ready to turn my fine town into the mania that is Arts, Beats and Eats. It becomes painfully obvious that the transit center is not operational, so I start biking to the nearest other stop. In a somewhat stroke of genius (I surprise myself sometimes), I look up the bus schedule and realize the buses are only running up and down Woodward, not even coming into Royal Oak.
I look at my watch. Sweat is dripping down my neck, I am dressed a little to fancy for biking (but only because I had a banker lunch meeting).
I am about to give up. I could make it home in time to pick up my air conditioned car and drive to work. It would be SO easy.
A voice pops into my head.
"Roll on Funke, you've come this far!"
Yes, yes I have. The voice of bus/biker reason! So I roll over to Lincoln and Woodward, lock my bike to a random sign and the bus shows up 15 mins later. Melissa is commuting north to Royal Oak for a meeting, and our buses pass around 7 Mile. I wave in her general direction and I am sure other passengers think I am crazy. Our dedication to bus/biking even apart makes me smile, and I am totally getting into the chill-bus-commuter-let's read-Crains-zone.
I am now headed back to Royal Oak for dinner, we are stuck in some awful traffic (and I am road-rage free!), someone's cell phone ring is Bel Biv Devoe's "Poison", and the driver looks awesomely like Cee-Lo Green.
That's life, yeah? Sometimes, you've just gotta roll on!
"Girl, I must warn youuuuu...."
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Always wear your bike helmet. It can protect you at moments like these when you're fixing something on your bike and not paying attention to your surroundings.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Detroit Green Water Infrastructure Bike Tours
Saturday, August 6 at 2pm ~ SOLD OUT!!!
Saturday, September 10 at 2pm
Sunday, October 2 at 2pm
$35 per person (includes bike rental) or $25 (BYOB - bring your own bike)
NOTE: You MUST REGISTER at Wheelhouse Detroit's website to participate on the tours (please follow the links above to register).
What is "green water infrastructure?"
Green water infrastructure is one solution to help stop stormwater and sewage pollution that negatively impacts the Detroit and Rouge Rivers. On these guided tours, you will bike along the Detroit Riverfront, Midtown, and Detroit’s east side to see examples of constructed wetlands that absorb stormwater from surrounding streets. You will also see rain gardens, cisterns, permeable pavement, and much more.
Check out more information about green water infrastructure at www.sierraclub.org/greatlakes/detroit.
This concludes Melissa's shameless plug. You will now be returned to your regularly scheduled reading of "Two Women, Four Wheels." :)
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Find the article here,
New Downtown Bike Station to Offer Parking, Lockers, Showers for Bike Commuters
"The new facility, called The Bike Rack, will offer 50 secure, indoor bike parking spaces and 10 outdoor spaces. It will also feature lockers for downtown commuters who would like to store fresh duds for the day without folding them. Finally, the facility will have three shower areas with private changing rooms."
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
So transport back in time a few days - just this past Wednesday. I end up commuting via bike/bus as some friends and I are meeting up in Ferndale (hence the amazing bike rack picture below) after work. Melissa and I are planning on bussing together but due to mis-communication and mass bus-confusion, we don't end up on the same bus. I am a HOT mess when I get on the bus - I don't pay my fare for about 3 stops because I'm on the phone realizing that Melissa and I missed each other (and of course the bus driver says nothing and kindly drives on as I fumble in my bag for my bus pass for what feels like 25 minutes). My bike helmet is still on at this point, and when I look at my bike on the rack? Yup - my front headlight is still flashing and probably annoying the bejesus out of the driver. It's always when you're a total hot mess when a potential suitor comes into the mix (or does this just happen to me?). This man gets on the bus and says 'oh, those are the prettiest blue eyes that I've ever seen under a bike helmet.' What? I just have too much going on to handle this - so he gets a wan smile and I move to the back of the bus where I try to pretend the flashing disco-quality-headlight bike doesn't belong to me (oh, that's not my bike - but I ALWAYS just carry around a bike helmet because you never know!).
There's this older lady in front of me and we randomly get into a conversation about texting and cell phone plans. This part of the story isn't that awesome, but she's key later.
My bus suitor clearly hasn't expressed himself enough so he comes and sits behind me. I will try to summarize because this conversation literally happened from Midtown all the way past 6 Mile. And my responses weren't really that important to the overall amazingness of these interaction (I will interject some thoughts/comments in parentheses though):
"So, you ride that bike a lot? It looks like you do. You look like you're in shape. Do you ride the bus a lot? What do you do for a living? Oh, FINANCE! I own my own finance company...we help...ummmm...people do their finances (read: payday lender)! Yeah. I live in Highland Park - have you ever been there? OH! You got a speeding ticket in Highland Park?? Oh my...I'm marching right down to City Hall and letting them know that beautiful women should be able to do whatever they want in the HP. How old are you? I'm 26. Wow, you don't look a day over 25. So have you found Jesus yet (my response = 'Oh, I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for him'?)? You know what I liked about you? You marched right back here and sat in the back of the bus with all the black people. Did you notice you were the only white person back here (for the record - nope)? You know - I think we are making a lot of people around here uncomfortable - a white lady and a black man hooking up (ummmm a bit presumptuous, yeah?). SEE! See that lady over there? She just turned away (when she was obviously just looking how the window, seriously, probably thankful that this guy wasn't talking to her). We have to talk quieter. Shhhhh. So how tall are you? How much do you weigh (I'm about to teach him a little something about talking to a lady)?? I weigh 180 - do you weigh more or less? LESS? Oh no. I like my ladies to weigh more than me. Oh well, can I call you? Oh you have a boyfriend (white lie alert)...well my question still stands. Can I call you? No? Hmmm. Ok, well I believe in fate, and I think fate will bring us together on this bus again.'
I'm not sure I need to write much more than what the cell-phone-plan lady turned around and said after this individual left the bus.
"Look, I don't know you. But I certainly think you need someone more mature than that. I was listening to that whole thing and you handled yourself so well and like a lady. That's impressive. I was also listening because I was afraid he was about to get disrespectful, and the minute he did? I was about to turn around and say - you leave her alone. No one deserves to be disrespected when they're just trying to live their lives, get home from work. I had your back, honey.'
So just plain crazy and then crazy nice - but this was a different type of Detroit kindness. The fellow female bus rider solidarity kind! #lovedetroit
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Wed, Jun 8, 2011, 4:15 AM EDT
... AIR QUALITY ALERT FOR WEDNESDAY JUNE 8TH...
THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT HAS DECLARED TODAY... JUNE 8TH... TO BE AN ACTION DAY FOR ELEVATED LEVELS OF OZONE. POLLUTANTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE IN THE UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS RANGE.
THE ACTION DAY IS IN EFFECT FOR THE FOLLOWING MICHIGAN COUNTIES...
LENAWEE... LIVINGSTON... MACOMB... MONROE... OAKLAND... ST CLAIR... WASHTENAW... AND WAYNE COUNTIES.
PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES ARE URGED TO AVOID ACTIVITIES WHICH LEAD TO OZONE FORMATION. THESE ACTIVITIES INCLUDE... REFUELING VEHICLES OR TOPPING OFF WHEN REFUELING... USING GASOLINE POWERED LAWN EQUIPMENT... AND USING CHARCOAL LIGHTER FLUID. POSITIVE ACTIVITIES INCLUDE... CAR POOLING... BIKING TO WORK... DELAYING OR COMBINING ERRANDS AND USING WATER BASED PAINTS.
IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT ACTIVE CHILDREN AND ADULTS... AND PERSONS WITH RESPIRATORY DISEASES SUCH AS ASTHMA... LIMIT PROLONGED OUTDOOR EXERTION.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION... PLEASE SEE THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT AIR QUALITY INDEX PAGE ON THE INTERNET AT...
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
1. Shut-down of Sunday DDOT bus service
2. Cutting $4.4M from the Detroit Transportation Department, shutting down the People Mover
3. These cuts could jeopardize the Federal Matching grants needed for the M-1 Rail System slated to run from downtown to the state fairgrounds at 8 Mile and Woodward.
There is absolutely no arguing that these are tough times. And yeah - I do understand that the People Mover may be the biggest transit joke in the country as it stands. It was built to be the end of a light rail system that moved *people* (hence the super creative name) into the city. If it closes, it's just another huge step back as it relates to transit in Detroit. Which we really cannot afford.
There is STILL room for compromise - so if you care about transit in Detroit - please contact members of City Council to express your serious concern about these cuts!
For more general info/the contact info for City Council:
A timely assessment of alternative transit options in Detroit in light of these budget cuts (and ps - soooo sad to have missed this!):
Friday, June 3, 2011
I definitely miss commuting with Melissa, but ridin' solo definitely causes even more 'you-can't-make-it-up-amazing-yet-people-are-so-kind' interactions with other local bus/bike commuters! Stay tuned :)
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
A few weeks ago, I was accidentally waiting at the DDOT Woodward/Congress bus stop for the SMART 460. A man asked me 'is this where you pick up the the 460?' and me, being the super-armed-with-Google-Maps-transit-queen that I am, say 'of course! you're in the right spot.'. Another man wakes up from sleeping on the street to say 'oh honey, this is the DDOT stop - you need to be right across Congress at that stop there' and goes back to sleep. Asked for nothing. Just wanted to help out.
Just yesterday, we were at the Comerica Park stop - a game was going on, it was a beautiful night, so lots of people were out and about. I'm on my phone trying to post the picture of the two of us in front of the FOX when a man comes up behind us as says 'oh, excuse me. I'm trying to get to that garbage can you're standing in front of to look for some cans. I didn't want to startle you.' He looks for some cans, and goes along on his business. Again, asked for nothing.
Not to mention the countless stories of people helping us navigate the bike rack at the Royal Oak Transit Center (which you practically need a PhD to do, by the way), alerting us when our bus is nearing the stop, taking a photo for us upon any and all requests.
I don't want this post to come across as Pollyanna-ish, because it's not. I'm a citygirl at heart, and understand the risks related to being in a metropolitan area. I've always had faith in Detroit, always. But I have even more now. It's a city where the average person headed to work or school, a person that's truly dealing with hard times, and Two Women just trying to navigate this town using Four Wheels can coexist beautifully. That just can't be built into a city, that's its heart.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Unfortunately, we don't have time to worry about that tonight. There's no time to spare since we have to be at the Spring Rolls, Progressive Dinner on Bikes. Yay!!!
That said - Julie found a very secure bike rack at the Royal Oak bus station, where she successfully locked up her bike (and she had some great help from two other bus riders).