Green Cruisers celebrate pedal power, fight pollution

Kyla Smith
The Detroit News
Bike riders brave light rain at the start of the 2015 Sierra Club Green Cruise, Saturday, for a 22-mile bike ride to Birmingham and back.

A little rain shower didn’t stop these cruisers.

Just one week away from the largest one-day car cruise in the world, some Metro Detroiters embarked Saturday on a different kind of cruise.

Bicyclists from across the region are rolling down Woodward — and plenty of other roads during the 11th annual Sierra Club Green Cruise.

The event celebrates the various forms of human-powered transit that can help to cut down the use of fossil fuels. It also illustrates the growing popularity of bicycling in Metro Detroit and spotlights efforts to reduce air and water pollution.

“The purpose of the ride is to raise awareness about the fight against climate pollution,” said Jerry Hasspacher, Green Cruise chairman. “We want to cut down the emission of greenhouses gases.”

The Southeast Michigan Group is the local branch of the Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization.

Participants biked a 42-mile route that takes riders through some of Detroit’s historical neighborhoods all the way to Belle Isle and back. Cyclists who want a somewhat shorter ride will embarked on a 22-mile suburban route through Birmingham.

There’s also a four-mile ride that begins at 1 p.m.

Other activities include, live music, face painting, food, a free bike check-up and a learning series to educate people about maintaining a healthy lifestyle while saving the environment.

The annual event comes days after President Barack Obama announced the goals for the Clean Power plan, aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

“We are really excited about the efforts the president is putting in place to help protect the Earth,” Hasspatcher said. “Clean air is more important than people realize.”

During the event, Jason Hall, co-founder of Slow Roll, a bicycle group that meets every Monday in Detroit to network and explore different areas in the city, will be honored as Green Cruiser of the Year for being a cycling advocate.

A “human-powered green parade” is at noon. Participants are encouraged to dress up in creative go-green attire and decorate their bikes.

Hasspacher said that even for those who don’t ride Saturday, there are other ways to have a green lifestyle.

“Try to drive a fuel efficient car, use less water and ride your bike more,” he said.

Green Cruise

■8 a.m.-2 p.m.

■ Nine Mile, east of Woodward.

■Ride cost: $15 for 42-mile and 22-mile rides; free for four-mile ride.