Beat the Train in Detroit

I decided to do my photo story on an annual ride that takes place every April through October in Detroit.  Beat the Train was started by Andrew Staub in 2005 because as he says, “he was bored” and wanted to ride his bike.  The idea seemed odd at the time.  Why ride through the city of Detroit?  Why get up at 6 am to bike on a Saturday?  The answer to those questions are understood by some and not understood by others 13 years later.  What the ride has done was contributed to the presence of a bike culture in the city of Detroit, formed friendships and allowed individuals like myself a way to experience the city on two wheels.

Andrew Staub has ridden a bike since a child and continued through the teen years until he began driving a car and stopped riding for a few years.  .  He came back to biking as  an adult as a means of transportation but also as ‘something more’.   A way to build relationships while challenging yourself mentally and physically.  Riders must all assume responsiblity for their safety but Andy is prepared a has assisted at times cyclists have crashed and needed first aid care.  Andy does everything he can to ensure riders are safe and also will have other riders assist in leading and checking in on group members.  There are also may riders that will offer support to anyone that needs mechanical help during the ride.  Any assistance is free but Andy asks riders to donate back to Southwest rides a local bike shop.

The 30-35 mile ride typically starts at 6:30 am leaving from the Welcome Center in Detroit near th Ambassador Bridge.  The ride begins the first Saturday in April and will continue through the last Saturday of October.  I’ve done the ride in the past and thought it would be an interesting story to tell because it’s unique and it serves a diverse group of cyclists.  IT’s a way to connect people in a world that can feel very disconnected at times.  I enjoyed shooting the ride because it offered a lot of different shots to capture such as action, headshot, environmental, etc.  I realized from this assignment that it is important to have a concept in mind but you also must be flexible because you never know what type of conditions or circumstances you may encounter as a photojournalist.


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