By Alan Madeleine
The Review Special Writer
From its dense population to the many people just learning to pilot an automobile for the first time, Hamtramck can be a tricky city to navigate safely by bicycle.
But it’s certainly not a tough town in which to find a good bike.
For the third year in a row, the National Bike Dealers Association has named Wheelhouse Detroit one of America’s Best Bike Shops. Their larger, newer store is located here in Hamtramck, on Jos. Campau at Florian St., just north of Holbrook. It has been open about a year.
Their parent store is in Detroit, in the Warehouse District. That store has been open for nearly a decade.
In addition to selling and repairing bikes, the company also hosts an impressive variety of conducted bike tours of areas mostly in the general vicinity of their stores.
Priced for the most part at about $30, the tours each have a theme or focus.
Examples include “Underground Railroad,” “Belle Isle,” “Sports Heritage,” “Eastern Market,” and even “Hamtramck.” Priciest currently are the two music-related ones. The general “Music Heritage” tour is $45, and the one focusing on techno music sites is $40. At the other end of pricing, the Underground Railroad one will only set you back $25.
A few of the tours should appeal to fans of Halloween or the macabre, namely “Haunted Detroit” and “East Side Cemeteries.”
In the company’s press release, owner Kelli Kavanaugh touts their service, products and experiences (the bike tours among them) equally as aspects of the store’s appeal for biking fans. They carry American-made Detroit Bikes brand, as well as imports such as Kona, Opus and Brooklyn, and everything else from small (lights) to big (bike racks).
Don’t have your own bike? They also rent. The selection is full of choices too, from vintage bikes and long-distance racing styles to kids’ bikes, “adult tricycles” (really) and even bicycles built for two, known in the trade as “tandems.” Prices start at $15 per two-hour block, and include helmets (mandatory on their tours) and locks.
A credit card will usually be required. If you utilize their online reservation method, you can keep 10% of the rental fee in your pocket.
A small price to pay for a great way to travel.
Just watch out for the occasional paczki-shaped pothole.