Cycling Central: Detroit Bicycle Tours

By: Toni Cunningham | August 26, 2012

If you’re looking to take in the sights or perhaps gain some historical insight about Metro Detroit, what better way to do so than on a bicycle? Several local bike tours allow residents to pedal down the pavement while drinking in the sights along local streets.

Motor City Bike & Brew Tours combines, you guessed it, biking with beer. Select one of two tours and you will receive a guided bike tour with lunch and a drink. All you need to do is choose between a brewery history or prohibition history tour and you’ll be peddling in no time.

Steve Johnson, media contact for the Motor City Tour Company, notes that the tour is not a bar crawl, and there is no drinking along the way. He assures both tours are chock full of history and make about six or seven stops along the way. Both tours cover about a 10 to 15 mile radius and include lunch and two beers (or soft drinks) at the end.

The brewery history tour will show you former and current brewery sights, take you by the old Stroh’s brewery, through Eastern Market, along the Riverwalk area, and even lead you into a cemetery to see the gravestones of former brewery owners.

If you choose the Prohibition tour, you’ll be receiving more of a conceptual history lesson. Much of the tour takes place on Belle Isle, where you will learn about the Detroit River and its significance during prohibition.

Johnson guarantees the tour is a great way to learn the history of Metro Detroit that you might not already know. Last year, about 400 locals participated in the bike tours, and Motor City Bike & Brew spent a significant amount of time researching the history in order to package it in a way that highlights the sights in downtown Detroit in the best way possible.

For the under 21 crowd, Wheelhouse Detroit might be a better fit. Whether you’re a beginner looking for a brief tour or a pro seeking out a daylong excursion, there is surely a bike tour to fit the bill. Most tours last about three hours and vary in price depending on the tour and whether you bring your own bicycle or rent one.

Upcoming Wheelhouse tours include murals of Southwest Detroit, architecture, Eastern Market, the Underground Railroad, auto heritage, urban agriculture, Hamtramck and more. If you’re adventurous and not afraid of the paranormal, be sure to check out the Haunted Detroit tour in October.

If you’re an early riser, Beat the Train bike tours begin at Fort Wayne every Saturday at 6 a.m. From there, the tour explores 33 miles worth of historic Detroit sights. The most frequented route takes riders through Mexican Town, the Riverwalk, Belle Isle, Heidelberg Street, Elmwood Cemetery, and more. The tour starts and ends in Mexican Town with a post-tour breakfast stop at Los Galanes.

The second most popular tour, the Motown Loop tour, winds through Wayne State’s campus, Hitsville USA, the New Center, Milwaukee Junction and more.

Even foodies can get in on the cycling action with the 5th Annual Taco Tour, an event with Bike Ypsi. The tour includes a 17-mile bike ride to Ypsilanti’s best taco joints. The ride includes six meat or vegan tacos, a free water bottle and a beer at the Corner Brewery, all for just $20.

Bike Ypsi also features additional tours, including the Fall Ride in October and weekly rides every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.