Bikes Barrels and Books returns for second year in North End

The second annual Bikes Barrels and Books fair is back this year to bring together literacy, mobility, and sustainability resources all in one place.


There’s a void of these three things in the North End neighborhood, says organizer Jamii Tata, who is also the owner of KAN Books, where the event is taking place on Aug. 10. The neighborhood lacks libraries and most of the schools in the community have shuttered. 


As for the mobility piece, Tata says the goal is to advocate for more bike-share options in the neighborhood, pointing out the need for alternative modes of transportation since the QLine doesn’t run to the North End and car insurance rates are so high.


In terms of sustainability, the goal of Bikes Barrels and Books is to educate residents on using water “off-grid,” Tata says. “Collecting rainwater is essentially an act of resistance, but also an act of survival,” he says, adding that the North End was especially hit hard by the water shutoffs.

Sierra Club is a partner in the event and is providing some of the rain barrels, some of which will be raffled off. Other partners include the Oakland Avenue Artists Coalition and MoGo, with funding support from Asylum Arts and Erb Foundation.


All this week, Tata and his team are putting together literacy kits with a book, literacy resources, and golden tickets for youths to come to the fair to receive free pizza, donated by PizzaPlex, and more books. 


The fair also features workshops on creative writing, bookcase making, and painting rain barrels; local authors vending; and an open mic. New this year are wheelbarrow race fundraiser.

Bikes Barrels and Books is Saturday, Aug. 10 at KAN Books, 9405 John R in Detroit.


Read more articles by Dorothy Hernandez.

Dorothy Hernandez is a freelance writer and editor who frequently writes about food at the intersection of culture and business. She has contributed to NPR, Midwest Living magazine, Eater, and a variety of other publications. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter @dorothy_lynn_h.
Signup for Email Alerts