Soul Roll Detroit: Bike Life in the D

Sharing a few photos of Detroit bike life with Soul Roll Detroit, a popular bicycle group in Detroit, Michigan. (This post was updated on 11/3/2019.)

I enjoy exploring the city of Detroit and taking photographs of city life. 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.

Soul Roll Detroit

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 Street.

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.

Soul Roll Detroit
Soul Roll Detroit

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!

Here in Detroit and the metro area, it is very common to see people ride their bikes. Families ride bikes together. Couples ride bikes together. 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.

Soul Roll Detroit
Soul Roll Detroit

The bicyclists were hanging out in 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.”

Soul Roll Detroit

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.

Soul Roll Detroit
Soul Roll Detroit
But for real, I gotta get a bike!


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All photos by Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.

23 thoughts on “Soul Roll Detroit: Bike Life in the D

  1. I would have loved to run into those bikers as well! Probably would’ve matched your excitement level too lol Those are some great pictures captured and the bikes look amazing.

  2. Those bikes are awesome! I would love to own a bike! Also, I think you can talk to anyone because you are from TN! From my experience growing up in a small town in TN, most people will stop and chat with anyone :). I also lived in Detroit, from the time I was 18 until I was 20, but live in Ohio now. My husband come up all the time for the Red Wings games!

    1. Haha! You’re right! Tennesseans are generally pretty friendly and love to chat. 🙂 I haven’t been to a Red Wings game yet. Shame on me, right? Lol! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. Nice to meet another fellow Tennessean!

  3. I’ve never heard on such an event with bike only cars. Looks like an amazing event with some very unique bike designs.

  4. I love seeing how serious this group of riders are about their bikes and they’re hobby. I’m glad you followed them and got the details on what they were doing so that you could share them with us.

  5. These bikes are look wonderful! This is an all around great thing, you can socialize, see the city, and get in some exercise. I would love to go on a bike ride with them. Thanks for sharing!

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