Guided tours, citywide scavenger hunt, and more planned for 10th annual Bike the Blizzard fundraiser

What’s happening: Back Alley Bikes is hosting its tenth annual Bike the Blizzard event this weekend, the yearly fundraiser for the nonprofit community center and bicycle shop. Several themed and guided tours are planned throughout the weekend, as well as a scavenger hunt, raffle, silent auction, and more.

Why it’s important: This is the biggest Bike the Blizzard event yet for Back Alley Bikes, the fundraiser helping to keep the nonprofit’s doors open and programs running. More than a bike shop, Back Alley Bikes has offered a variety of programs and community services since it was first established in 1999, including a DIY bike mechanic’s shop, kid’s bikes give-aways, an open shop for young people to learn how to fix their bikes, and plenty more. The Youth Earn-A-Bike (YEAB) program, where local kids learn how to fix a bike and then get to keep it, is expected to return this spring. The Hub of Detroit serves as Back Alley’s retail storefront.

The goal: “We are aiming to raise $30,000 to be able to continue and expand our training of youth mechanics, open shop time available for anybody in the community, and making bikes accessible and affordable to everybody in Detroit,” says Jackie Brown, mechanic and educator at Back Alley Bikes. “So many people rely on this shop as a resource for their commuting needs and education. Anybody is welcome to stop by throughout the weekend and if you want to ride, you can register at”

What’s planned: A lot. Bike the Blizzard begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12, and concludes Sunday evening. Several rides are planned throughout the weekend — more on that later — and participants receive a t-shirt, access to the guided rides, a raffle ticket, and more for a $25 registration fee. The neighboring community center for the Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corporation serves as the weekend’s meeting point, where refreshments and bike repairs will be available.

What they’re saying: “This is our 10th annual Bike the Blizzard fundraiser and we are planning for it to be the most fun, approachable, and community-oriented one yet,” says Brown.

“We will have about 10 themed rides throughout the weekend, from the Coffee Crawl and the B.O.B Ride, which highlights Black-owned businesses, to Kids Ride and Queer, Trans, and Ally Ride. There will be a scavenger hunt throughout and we will have our home base at Back Alley Bikes where we will have a raffle and silent auction.”

Visit Back Alley Bikes online for more information about the organization and its Bike the Blizzard event, including links for registration. Back Alley Bikes is located at 3611 Cass Ave. in Detroit.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.