Soul Roll Detroit: Bike Life in the D

Soul Roll Detroit: Bike Life in the D
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I enjoy exploring the city and taking photographs of city life and from time to time I share my photographs on the blog. For today’s post, I am sharing photographs of the Soul Roll, not to be confused with the Slow Roll. It was my first time seeing a large group of bicyclists get together. It was also my first time seeing customized bikes!


I was leaving the Power of the Press Fest event, heading out of Eastern Market, when all of a sudden traffic stops for a long procession of bikers riding down Russel.

No, I’m not talking about motorcycles. I’m talking about bicyclists riding bicycles. These weren’t your ordinary bicycles, either. The bikes were custom made with unique designs to each rider. I had never seen anything like it before. I think I was probably the only one very excited to see the bikes (well, and my four-year-old, too). I parked my van, grabbed the kids, and headed in the direction of the bicyclists. I had to see what this was all about.

Being from Tennessee, I have never seen so many people in love

with riding bikes than I have here in Michigan.

When I first moved to Metro Detroit two years ago, one of the first things I noticed was how so many people, young and old, ride their bikes. Everywhere! Families ride bikes together. Couples ride bikes together. Here in Detroit and the metro area, it is very common to see people ride their bikes. This amazed me. I remember saying to my husband, “We have to get bikes! This is so cool!”

I guess this is the “newbie” or tourist in me because, you know, I’m not from Detroit so everything is still so new to me. Whenever I see something that catches my eye, I head in the direction of that awesome thing to see what it is. Most times I’ll even walk up to someone and ask them if they can tell me what the story is behind said thing.  And I did just that as soon as I reached the biker’s meetup spot.

The bicyclists were hanging out under Shed 2 and I asked a woman what was going on. She told me it was a bike meetup for anyone who wanted to ride their bike in the city. Some of the bikers were even part of a bike club. A bike club? Okay, that amazed me because again I’m new here and I didn’t even know there were bike clubs like this.

We continued to talk for a little longer and she told me about the Slow Roll Detroit, which I know starts May 1, 2017 at Eastern Market. I’m hoping to catch Slow Roll this spring/summer because I have yet to see it for myself. Forgive me, Detroiters. I am still learning so much about the city! 🙂

My teens are always amazed that I walk up to people I don’t know and start talking to them. Michala, my 15-year-old daughter, once asked me, “Mom, how do you do that?”

“Do what?” I asked her.

“Just walk up to people and ask them questions and start talking to them?”

“Oh. Well, I don’t know. I guess I just really want to know more so I ask someone to see if they can tell me,” I replied. “It’s a great way to start a conversation and learn more about the city. You should try it sometime.”

“No way!” she exclaimed. “That’s okay.”

To be quite honest, I’m actually a little shy and it takes me a few minutes to overcome my nervousness and talk to people. I think that’s another reason why I love street photography. When I have my camera, I feel more comfortable breaking away from my shyness and talking to people. It’s amazing what a camera can do.

But for real, I gotta get a bike!





All photos by Jennifer Hamra.

Social Media: @goodlifedetroit on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter




Photographs of Soul Roll in Detroit

Detroit Street Photography

Good Life Detroit

Soul Roll Detroit

Soul Roll Detroit

detroit street photography

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