How The Tour De Hood got its name

Last winter, I was interviewed as part of a series called “Detroit Stories”.  (I had gone to a gallery opening of photographs taken by a friend of mine.)  They wound up making 9 short videos of me, which you can find at

Here’s one of me talking about cycling in Detroit.

Mind-blowing storefront, plus no muff to tuff (sic)

Grand River is a street of many delights. And I’m not talking about the Motor City Casino. (About which I have no opinion, having never been in it, though it is on Grand River). Should you be so inclined, you can ride it all the way from Downtown Detroit to East Lansing (over 90 miles).  I wasn’t. But that didn’t stop me from witnessing many wonderful sights.

I’ve never seen the MBAD\ABA African Bead Museum before, which is curious; its exterior, in my opinion, is one of Detroit’s wonders of wonders. And really difficult to miss.

beadmuseumcornerView from the corner

It’s at the intersection of two Grands; Grand River and W. Grand Blvd. Absolutely mind-blowing decoration. It’s entirely covered with shards of mirror and wild painting. I couldn’t capture its splendidness in a single shot. Here’s more detail of the mirrors and decoration:

beadmuseum2I’m reflected in there somewhere

Here’s a shot down its length. Again, I really suggest you go see it for yourself to get the full impact.

beadmuseum3Shiny and colorful

There’s an outbuilding of sorts, (I guess), which is equally eye pleasing.

beadmuseumoutbuildingIt’s shiny. Very shiny

There’s even a back yard “sculpture garden” of sorts. Here’s a glimpse of what awaits you:

beadmuseumbackyardMask ‘n’ Clunker

People like to bring out-of-towners to the Heidelberg Project, (and rightly so), but I strongly urge you to take them to the Bead Museum, for the full Detroit experience.

There’s more to see on Grand River, of course.  There’s the Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit, for example – which has one of the more exuberant murals I’ve seen on my rides about town. It is a 503 non-profit whose stated purpose is to “keep materials out of landfills through architectural salvage”.

architecturalsalvageThe entrance is on the other side of the building.

One of Detroit’s former temples of gastronomy was Carl’s Chop House – which received some notoriety by sparing the life of an enormous lobster a couple of years back. Googling it might give you the impression that it’s still open. Sadly, that’s not the case. (Unless a van with a flat tire is someone’s idea of a welcome mat.)

carlsnomowideCarl’s is no more

Here’s a better shot of the sign:

carlsnomotightCarl evades the grammar police.

I was struck by the proper use of the possessive apostrophe; Detroit seems to have an undue share of oddball misspellings.  This place, for example, is clearly an auto repair shop. Or maybe a combo auto repair shop and figure skating academy.

axelsThe perfect Tonya Harding headquarters

Death Spirals and triple Lutzes aside, I was quite pleased by the advertising copywriter who developed this slogan. (I think it’s a slogan. It could be some arcane admission that they have no muff to tuff connections on hand.)

totuffRing bell for clarification

Better news awaited. It appears that the Organization of American States has an under-publicized Detroit Headquarters. That, or it’s an out of business bar.

orgofamerstatesBar or NGO?

I also ran into a self proclaimed “sports dive w/food” called TV. I’m going to ask for some hipsters to help me out here. (I’m not much of a clubber myself) I did dig the sign.


Teevee paradise

What leads me to believe it’s more than a run of the mill sports dive was the moderne patio design. (Gotta love those booths)

sportsdivepatioTV’s patio

In all, a lovely day en route on the Tour De Hood. (Well, I blew a hole in my front tire’s sidewall, and had to repair it two more times which wasn’t the most pleasant way to start the day.) But the memories. Ah, the memories.