Green Cruise

 Thomas E. Page (second from right) with four leaders from the Beat the Train riding group.  Courtesy Thomas E. PageThomas E. Page (second from right) with four leaders from the Beat the Train riding group.

Nicole Robertson

The Sierra Club Green Cruise will look a tad different this year, but the event’s focus — highlighting alternatives to gasoline engines, fossil fuels and exhaust fumes — will remain the same.

The Green Cruise — set for Saturday, Sept. 9, in Ferndale — will feature two organized bike rides and step away from parades and other events held in previous years.

“We thought about making it just bike rides for five years, so this year, we decided to go that direction and take it down to the basics,” says Green Cruise chairman Jerry Hasspacher.

“The bike community is exploding, and bicycling itself is becoming much more popular,” he adds. “It also makes people aware of nonfossil fuel transportation.”

The Green Cruise got its start in 2005 as an organized bike ride through a Royal Oak neighborhood. The Sierra Club soon got involved, and the event grew.

Today, the Green Cruise is a benefit for the club’s Southeast Michigan Group.

“The Green Cruise benefits anything the Sierra Club is doing, which includes quite a number of different initiatives that focus on helping the environment,” Hasspacher says.

“The Sierra Club’s model is to explore, enjoy and protect the earth, so the Green Cruise perfectly fits that,” he adds.

This year’s organized bike rides include a 42-mile ride taking off from Ferndale City Hall and running to Belle Isle and back, and a 22-mile ride from Ferndale City Hall to Birmingham and back. The rides take off at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively.

This year’s Green Cruiser of the year — the person the Green Cruise recognizes for doing the most for bicycling in the Detroit metro area — is Thomas E. Page of Detroit, who manages eight bicycling Facebook sites in the area.

Hasspacher enjoys being involved in the bike rides and overall Green Cruise because “it helps me stay connected with the bicycling community.”

“Bicyclists have their own sub-culture, and I think they are also generally more attuned to environmental concerns,” says Hasspacher, who has been involved with the Green Cruise for eight years. “There’s camaraderie between the riders, and people ride in groups. It’s also fun to get together with like-minded people.”

• If you go: The Sierra Club’s Green Cruise rides start at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, from Ferndale City Hall at 300 East Nine Mile Road. The 8 a.m. ride is a 42-mile bike ride to Belle Isle; the 9 a.m. ride is a 22-mile bike ride to Birmingham. Registration for each is $10 in advance (plus a $1.52 handling fee) or $15 the day of the ride. For information, visit

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