Thursday, May 5, 2011

The heart of Detroit

One of my favorite things about bus/biking is interacting with people - at the bus stop, while ringing your sweet bike bell at them, on the bus itself - this interaction is sorely missing in our current car-based culture. I'm historically known for attracting an interesting mix of folks (makes for awesome new friends, or at the very least, amazing stories) - and I'll be totally honest. I really like people - saying hi, smiling, chatting with them. Yeah, yeah I know - it gets me into trouble sometimes, but you can just call me Ms. Midwest, it truly cannot be helped. Two Women Four Wheels has been rolling now for a little over a year - but with the advent of our blog/Twitter feeds (helllllo and THANK YOU to all of our fans!), we are dedicated to bus/biking at least once per week. So that means more interactions with people, and realizing just how much they want to help Two Women with their Four Wheels out.

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.


  1. Great Julie, sounds like fun! This reminds me of the times I had to ride the DDOT # 16 for work some years ago... I used to have my boss and co-workers cracking up laughing at my stories, I called them "Tales of the DDOT", I met some very interesting people and overheard even more interesting conversations...

  2. All the things I love about Detroit especially people helping people just because that's what you do...