K’Loni Thorpe is one of the founders of Detroit Bike & Brunch (DB&B) who happens to be a Blue Health Connection Engagement Specialist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
The Detroit native has not owned a motor vehicle since 2008 by choice and uses her bike as her main mode of transportation. She also enjoys yoga, meditation, family, socializing/networking, eating, good nutrition and growing tomatoes.
Detroit Bike & Brunch fuses bicycle culture with Detroit, while inspiring health and fitness with fun, friends and food. Here is my interview with her.
Grace from A Healthier Michigan: What is Detroit Bike & Brunch? When and how did it start? What inspired its beginnings and why?
K’Loni Thorpe: Detroit Bike & Brunch was established in 2012 by K’Loni Thorpe and ZooNine Bey as a catalyst for conversation surrounding the growing bicycle culture in Detroit. It is our mission to enrich this culture while simultaneously educating others on the benefits of biking for their personal well-being as well as the well-being of their community. Bike and brunch lets riders explore, enjoy and support their city in a fun and healthy way.
AHM: Do you have to be an experienced rider to join?
KT: By Friday of every week, Zoo and K’Loni post an itinerary on Facebook and the DB&B website. By 8PM Saturday, Riders must let an officer know that they intend to ride that week. Espy (one of the DB&B officers) makes restaurant reservations each week based on rider confirmations. Sunday the group meets at Detroit location designated on the Facebook page and website. Once everyone is gathered, Espy or Zoo go over the road rules and safety precautions.
• 1st Sundays are first-time Sundays (good for new comers or beginner riders) [3-5 miles round trip]
• 2nd Sundays are Intermediate ride
• 3rd Sundays are Intermediate ride
• 4th Sundays are ADVANCED rides (very long ride) [20-25 miles round trip]
• “Fancy Fifth Sundays” These rides are much longer and end with a more lavish restaurant
• Holidays, inclement weather, adjustments for daylights savings (light outside)
AHM: How long have you been riding and how did you get started? More importantly, what do you enjoy about biking that made you continue?
KT: My interest in biking was sparked in the summer of 2010 when I was given my very first road bike (Vintage Free Spirit). Receiving that bike was the start of my true curiosity of bike culture and also struck my interest in learning the safety rules for traveling in Michigan – which of course meant purchasing my first helmet, riding on the correct side of the road and learning to use hand signals for motorist and other cyclist.
DB&B lets me enjoy conversation and exercise with like-minded Detroiters while simultaneously allowing me to be a part of positive change in Detroit (present and future)! In addition, it’s a super cool way to give back to the community through leading by example and creating a safe environment for their favorite city in the world: Detroit!
AHM: How many participants do you have? How has it grown?
KT: Since the spring of 2012, our Facebook group has a total of 265 members!
AHM: How do you pick the brunch locations? And where you meet or where you bike to?
KT: Spring, summer and early fall, DB&B meets every Sunday at a central Detroit location designated on our Facebook page and website. Once everyone is gathered we bike to a local food venue (i.e. restaurant, bakery, etc.). While dining, we discuss bike culture, life in Detroit and positive lifestyle choices.
AHM: Why is Detroit important to Detroit Bike & Brunch?
KT: DB&B wants to improve Detroit’s health. But, our group didn’t simply want to improve Detroit’s physical health. Our objective reaches deeper than that. We’ve created a 5-tier approach to explain what we aim to achieve.
Through biking we’re creating healthier Detroiters. Through our Sunday trips we support local businesses and help to stimulate Detroit’s economy. By traveling more with bikes, and less with exhaust emitting vehicles, we are fostering a greener environment. And by doing all this together, we are strengthening our community.
AHM: Where do you see DBB in the future? What do you guys have to offer that is unique to riders and lovers of brunch?
KT: In order to achieve our objectives, we must take small steps in the right direction for 2013.
By listing our S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound), we can plan intelligently about how to improve our group in the upcoming year. We’ve organized our main goals into three categories: member recruitment, social media reach, and sponsorship and funding.
Why we are unique?
There are a myriad of wonderful bike groups, clubs and organizations in Detroit. What makes us different is that our group isn’t focused solely on bike riding. Granted, biking is our method to bring people together, but our dining experiences and conversations (both online and in-person) keep people together. We also emphasize bike safety as a major component of our group. Our group is pedaling to create a greater Detroit!
Be sure to check out and learn how to participate with Detroit Bike & Brunch by viewing their website here.
Photo Credit: All Photos taken by DB&B Social Chairperson/Photographer: Darius Baber