Clean Ridin’: Detroit East Riders Bike Club Keeps Things Spinnin’ 

Stock photo provided by Pexels

 

 

You can find them out on any given day.  

 

Spokes whizzing, wheels turning, bodies in motion — pedaling toward destinations with purpose. Other times they just out there, having fun with one another on their bicycles. 

 

The East Riders Bike Club, founded officially in 2008, has been riding ever since the group’s founder, King Wayne Neeley, 50, of Detroit, got the itch to get up and start the club — his popular group has been unstoppable ever since. 

  

“We would be riding and people ask us are we all a club,” he told The Michigan Chronicle during a recent interview. “Magazines and others started asking us — we decided to do a club … and we been rolling ever since.” 

  

The 27-member club, around unofficially since 2005, draws people from all backgrounds and ages and places — it’s not just restricted to east side residents. 

 

Neeley, who has a passion and talent for creating custom-made bikes into cartoon characters and the like (out of unique materials like couches) said that he and his son would at first take a relaxing ride around the city on Sundays. 

 

“I would ride him downtown on the Riverwalk,” he said, adding that his famous club is known locally and even in other parts of the world. Bike aficionados have featured him and his group in a movie, “Kind of the Streets” and some of his custom bikes were in a museum. They were even featured on the Disney Channel with Jeff Goldblum. 

 

“We do a lot of stuff we don’t put online,” he said, adding that his group feeds the homeless, gives those in need daily living essentials and more. And with some in the group coming from humble backgrounds themselves, their generosity is even more appreciated by those on the receiving end. And Neeley said that for people to join (and receive a cherished club shirt), they have to volunteer their time. 

 

Custom-made, decked-out bikes, left, are the standard in the East Riders Bike Club. East Riders Bike Club Founder King Wayne Neeley, foreground, is all about community service and camaraderie.  Photos provided by King Wayne Neeley     

 

“You got to do community service. Whatever you can bring … everybody doesn’t have a lot of money,” he said, adding that when the group gets together, they brainstorm on ways to feed others and better their community while hanging out. “A lot of people like to smoke weed or drink — to each its own. The bike culture is built on that. Like I told them — I’m not doing it if we’re not going to do it right.” 

 

According to https://www.active.com/, there are numerous reasons to join a bike club, some of the main ones involve camaraderie, staying connected and building a sense of community. For Neeley, it’s all of the above. His fellow bike friends have formed a sort of brother- and sisterhood where cycling is how they unwind and end the day — long after many people are already asleep in the world. 

 

“We hanging out downtown sometimes and get home 3 or 4 in the morning,” he said, adding that his club chips in and puts their money together and grills up good eats like chicken, hot dogs and more. He’s even affixed a grill to the back of his bike so when they stop and park, their barbeque is more convenient to eat on the go. 

 

“If we not going to do it right ain’t no need to do it,” he said. 

 

Neeley said that he has seen how the bike club trend is growing and thriving in the city.  

 

“Now there are 100 clubs … you start off riding with family and friends … and start a club,” he said, adding that his group travels all over the United States to different biking events — along with local big events like the weekly Slow Roll bike ride. 

 

“They call us the bike mecca — the Eastside Riders pretty much pushed it out first,” he said of his bike club. 

 

Neeley, who has a few big surprises up ahead with his club (he didn’t want to give them all away) said that no matter what goes on in Detroit, the bike community all comes together. It’s easy to see why with the kind of fierce loyalty people have for the club and a leader who always has their back. 

 

“In my club, they been riding for some years –I don’t just jump anybody in the club; got to know they are going to be around,” Neeley said. 

  

Kristalyn Taylor, 30, of Detroit joined the club last year and said that she has since been on two trips and has helped donate through different charitable events. 

  

“It’s been an experience,” she said, adding that her boyfriend started another bike club, D. Town Riders Bike Club, that she frequents, too. “I enjoy their company. I was going to patch up (get a vest) and start riding with them.” 

  

She added that when she first started riding in 2018 she couldn’t go more than two miles without being out of breath — but that’s what changed it all for her. 

  

“You get a different view of your city because when you driving, you not paying attention,” she said, adding that when on a bike there are more opportunities to take detours and see different parts of a neighborhood “that you never would see.” 

  

For more information find the East Riders Bike Club on Facebook. 

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