Early August brings the Rovers Vintage Scooter Club’s Motor City Shakedown, a three-day tour of Detroit as seen through the eyes of a vintage scooterist. As previewed here, MCS7 took on Detroit on August 5th through 7th. Judging by the positive feedback, the rally was a huge success.
It started out of Friday evening at rally headquarters – Hostel Detroit. The Rovers provided rally accommodation for 25 out of town attendees for an additional cost of just five dollars. The attendees were positively buzzing about the rally accommodations and the ease of experiencing the rally activities from a centrally-located rally HQ. At the same time that the fun was starting in Corktown, an organized ride downtown from Ferndale began. The ride headed down through the Wayne State campus and into the Cass Corridor, looping around to the venue for the night, 3rd Street Saloon. Although it was probably 95 degrees in the bar, the promised Tiki Bar was decommissioned and the built-in taco truck “hadn’t worked in weeks”, the Rovers made do with 3rd Street’s jumbo parking lot and an emergency delivery of hundreds of delicious tacos from Armando’s in nearby Mexicantown. Rovers and guests showed up all evening and into the morning when the party finally broke up and attendees returned to the Hostel or to their digs for the night in Ferndale.
After dawn, the rest of the attendees showed up for the traditional Rovers breakfast at the Hostel. It was a seemingly endless meal of egg and sausage casserole plus potatoes, fruit and connoisseur-grade coffee, exactly what the crowd needed after the previous evenings festivities.
The main rally ride started out under sunny skies, with 70+ scooters taking to the streets of Corktown for a ride that was to cover 60 miles of Detroit Rock City. Minutes after the ride started, ominous dark clouds gathered on the horizon. Just past the halfway point of the ride, a deluge “on a Biblical scale” hit the scooter riders. Mostly without rain gear, the scooterists did what they could and split into groups to avoid the rain. One group simply kept on going despite the torrential downpour, finally making it to the incredible Michigan Theater. The Michigan was the second largest entertainment complex in Detroit when it debuted in 1926. Since the 70s it’s been reduced to serving as a parking lot for the office building in which it’s housed. The group rode to the Michigan and with special permission, rode up into the second level of the parking structure where the incredible ceilings and abandoned stairways awaited. The Michigan Theater is famous for appearing in movies and television, but the immense scale and feeling of “how did this happen” when you are there is wowed the crowd.
The ride continued on with an alfresco stop at the well-known Anchor Bar on the way to California Wine Grapes Company. The California Wine Grapes Company, offers winemaking supplies, advice, and a place to practice the craft. Co-owner Giuseppe Pracilio welcomed the rally riders with open arms and provided some “snacks” that fed all. There were endless trays of meats and cheeses, gigantic pizzas as well as wine and other drinks. The riders departed California Wine Grapes to more light rain but at that point it really didn’t matter – the second night of the rally was near.
The second night was hosted by The Lager House on Michigan Ave. The crowd showed up to hear DJs fill the air with Northern Soul, Ska and Reggae sounds. All the while, a screening of the weekend’s theme movie – RoboCop – took place on the wall and mesmerized those who weren’t already mesmerized by the sounds.
Around midnight, awards and raffle prizes were handed out. The rally raffle scoot, a 1973 Vespa 150 Super, was won by a scooter-fan who was the spitting image of Jayne Mansfield and her joy added to an already wonderful evening.
As the morning began, Rovers and guests departed into the night, either back to the Hostel or to accommodations in the Woodward corridor. In the morning, the survivors again assembled at Honest John’s Bar and Grille, who were all too happy to accommodate the depleted crowd. Too soon, breakfast was over and it was packing up and departure time. Notes were passed saving the date for next years event – August 3rd through 5th, when these scooterists and more will arrive for Motor City Shakedown 8!
What’s next: Scooting the Thumb