Riders will celebrate and cycle historic Jewish sites in Detroit on August 20

Riders will celebrate and cycle historic Jewish sites in Detroit on August 20

Since the first Jewish settler arrived in Detroit in 1762, there has been a rich history between the city and the Jewish community.

On Sunday, August 20, the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan (JHSM) will share some of that history with participants in J-Cycle7 as they bike to landmarks important to Jewish life in metro Detroit. The ride is 20 miles and there will be eight stops.

This is the seventh year J-Cycle has provided cyclists with a chance to learn about the Jewish experience in Detroit’s past.  This year it will focus on the northwestern area and Oak Park, where the Jewish population center started to move in the 1930s and stayed until the 1940s and 1950s when many moved to the suburbs.

“Part of the reason for J-Cycle is such a significant event is that it combines learning with athleticism,”says Wendy Bice, executive director, The Jewish Historical Society of Michigan.

This year the ride takes participants past the Birwood Wall. Known as Detroit’s “Wailing Wall.” it was built in 1941 to satisfy the Federal Housing Authority, which would not guarantee housing loans in “undesirable” neighborhoods. At the time, that meant communities with mostly African American or Jewish families. The wall is now filled with whimsical and uplifting murals depicting houses, people and symbols of peace. Photo courtesy J-Cycle

She adds it has brought in all kinds of people from those interested in history to those who just want a good bike ride, some of whom have little knowledge of Jewish history in Detroit and want to learn more.

The ride meets up at the Northwest Activities Center at 18100 Meyers Rd. (at the corner of Meyers and Curtis) in northwest Detroit. It was the site of the Jewish Community Center before it moved to West Bloomfield.

J-Cycle 7 will be a new take on the organization’s history rides.  This year it will have at least a partial focus on history that has significance to baby boomers.

As in previous years,each location will have docents who have been prepped with the information needed to inform the riders.

J-Cycle 6 riders are briefed about what to expect before beginning their tour at last year’s event. Photo by Elayne Gross Photography

A wide variety of places will be visited, including Beth Abraham Cemetery, the Birwood Wall, the Adat Shalom Synagogue building (at 7 Mile and Livernois), Oak Park Park, Sinai Hospital (the first Jewish Hospital in Michigan) and Mumford High School as well as points of commerce at 8 Mile and Livernois.

“This brings a new generation’s experience – the baby boomer experience,” Bice says.

The JHSD tries to mix things up every year and provide new experiences and opportunities for riders. One of the ways they plan these routes is by assessing surveys.

There will be no need to worry about repairs. Along the ridemembers of The Hub of Detroit (no relation to TheHUB Detroit) and Wheelhouse Detroit to take care of minor issues that may occur when riding.

Check-in starts at 8:15 a.m. The ride starts at 8:30a.m. with groups of 30 leaving every 15 minutes. The last group departs at 9:30 a.m.Between 200-220 people usually participate.

After the ride there is a picnic with kosher wraps. It’s a great place to mingle.

The cost to participate is $36 for members of the JHSM and $50 for non-members.

To register, click here.






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