Every year before the Chicago Street Jam, the boys pack up in the van and take a trip somewhere around the Midwest. The entire crew was in town for this one which was a nice treat. Since it takes a whole day to gather up everyone, some of us cruised the city and hit up a couple parks with some friends. As the day continued, the crew got bigger. We caught a nice sunset sesh at burnham and headed back to Mokena.
Half the crew stayed at Shane’s apartment, our sales manager and the rest stayed at Collin’s. There was limited couch/floor space and it was a nice night so Jon and Issac decided to sleep on the balcony. Once everyone was up and fed, we met at the shop, snagged any last minutes parts, packed up the van and hit the road.
This year we decided to hit the Rust Belt cities of Detroit and Cleveland. The crew consisted of Jon Archer, Erik Feenstra, Jona Humbel, Jordan Jasa, Dylan Kasson, Tom Kvilhaug, Chris Martin, Ralph McMoran, Issac Miller, Josh Smukal, and Collin Snoek. After hours of driving, we were just minutes from Detroit and we still hadn’t nailed down a hotel to stay at. This is pretty normal for us for some reason. As one person drives, the other books a cheap hotel, or finds a place to eat, or locates the next spot.
As we neared the first spot we knew right away the neighborhood we were in was sketchy. The gas station we stopped at for drinks had a couple cops posted up and the checkout area used a sort of rotating lazy susan for the teller to take your money, because the rest of the counter had bulletproof glass separating the customers from the teller. We expected a bit of sketchiness, but what we didn’t expect was the wind!
The first spot had some of the gnarliest wind we have ever rode in. But the spot was so good that it didn’t even matter. Northwestern High School is filled with crazy banks, ledges, and transfers everywhere. You could start at one end, carve one wall for speed, then push up to the biggest wall with perfect tranny at the bottom to hit your trick. It wasn’t long before the tricks started going down.
Tom K switched things up by hitting the wallride off the side of the bank, and almost whipped into it. He got the whip in a couple of times but just couldn’t pull out of it to land. Some local homies showed up to the spot and helped us get into the abandoned building across the street so we could shoot some b-roll and explore. Tom K eventually broke his deck and we were outtie to the next spot.
This was one spot we knew some tricks would go down. It was a perfect 9 stair rail down a bank at some ATV dealership. This thing was seriously so low, it was like a park rail. So immediately Tom and Jon started trying tricks up it.
People were looking at tricks over the rail into the bank too. As Jona was working his way up to back sugarcaning down it, Tom and Jon both laced their tricks and Issac was able to lock into a backside over 5050.
The sun was beginning to set so we decided to make our way into the city for some extra light to see if we could find anything. We ended up at a random street by the river that of course Dylan knew a spot on, so we scoped it out. The place looked insane and had banks, tables, ledges, stairs, even manny pads.
This place looked like fun and was all downhill, but a lot of the obstacles had some minor flaw to it that made it hard to ride. The whole team was pretty tired so we decided to just head back to our hotel that was behind Hooters.
After breakfast and a round of crabapple dodgeball (which Chris lost), we hit up a really cool DIY. Everyone got clips despite the soaring temps. Some people came out and took some modeling photos which was strange because that DIY was just in a basketball court next to an empty field. The local homies ended up meeting up with us and we hit the next spot but not before we had some pizza at a bowling alley.
Once we finished we headed over to the abandoned building with a sunken in 2nd floor that created the perfect tranny you could hit. There was also a sketchy bump to rail and a random cinderblock ledge. This spot was low key famous. DVS, Rome SDS and some ski company have all ridden here. While some people were trying to film tricks, others went and explored around the building, and even got up on the roof for a bird’s eye view.
After leaving the warehouse we ended up driving up and down random roads to see if we could find anything. We did end up finding a wallride gap to sidewalk that Dylan attempted. It had a weird run up and of course Dylan had to go full speed at it.
We were there for about 30-40 minutes before he started getting sun sickness and had to call it otherwise he would of been drained the rest of the day. While we were there some of the crew noticed a 5 kinked rail that we would later come back to.
We continued to drive up and down roads and stumbled on another small DIY which was right next to another abandoned building.
Some of the team rode and some of us explored the building trying to find a way up on top of the roof to get a good B-roll shot but there wasn’t a way.
We headed to downtown Detroit, to Hart Plaza. We did get the kickout but not before Tom was able to sticker slap one of the sculptures. After driving around for a long time not finding anything, we came up on a red bump to bar outside a local youth boxing gym. After about five minutes there a dude in a van drove up on us super-fast, and started yelling at us to leave. He was saying how he owned the place and it was for the kids, and that they just painted the rail that Jon was about to grind. Over and over the guy yelled, “I did it for the kids” while he kicked Jon’s backpack and got in his face.
Jon just replied with, “chill man, I like the kids too”. We were fine with leaving but the dude was being unreasonably angry and nearly fought Jon. It was a tad scary because we were learning how sketchy Detroit can be and we didn’t know if this guy had a gun or anything. Everything happened pretty fast so we packed the van up and drove off while he was taking pictures of our license plate. We quickly realized Dylan wasn’t in the van and we had to go drive up and down the roads and try to find him and hope this guy wasn’t following us.
Once we got Dylan in the van we headed to the 5 kinked rail from earlier. Tom scoped it out and turns around and says, “Yeah I’ll hit it. This blew some of our minds how casual he said it. We got the lights out and the kids started flocking to us. Since the kids have nothing better to do, they come hangout with 11 dudes traveling in a van. These kids were a pain because they kept getting in the shot or using the rail as a gymnastics station. Tom gets about 10 or so tries into it and makes it past the 3rd kink but slips out.
The whole team gets hyped but shortly we get kicked out by a janitor. She said she already called the cops. Tom tries 2 more times and realizes he needs more time and not to be under pressure so we pack up and go. On our way back to the hotel we find a cool little manny pad and 4 or 5 benches sitting around it. Dylan and Jordan end up getting clips while some of the team ventures off and grabs some tasty beverages to bring back to the van for everyone.