Cool things I didn’t do this weekend: Hamtramck Bars Poker Run


I’ve been talking about having a big, somewhat coordinated bar crawl here in Ypsi for quite some time now. Maybe it would be ill advised, but I was thinking that we’d have one drink in each of six different places. And, I even went so far as to talk some folks involved with Bike Ypsi, to see whether or not they’d be interested in pursuing it with me. They were, but then I started thinking about the liability associated with such an endeavor, and my enthusiasm just kind of fizzled out. Well, our friends in Hamtramck apparently aren’t nearly as risk adverse. They had a similar event yesterday, and, by all accounts, it seems to have gone well… Or, at least I haven’t heard about anyone getting run over by a semi.

So, now I’m wondering if maybe I need to get beyond my fear that Ypsilantians can’t pedal straight after six beers, and just accept the reality that a sizable majority of my fellow citizens are probably used to functioning at blood alcohol levels in that rough vicinity on a daily basis… And, if six is too many, maybe we could do five. And, if they were big beers, maybe we could start walking the bikes after number four. Or, maybe we could have cops doing sobriety checks at each stop. Or, what if we alternated beer and coffee? My point is, maybe there’s a way to do it responsibly… The bottom line is, if our counterparts in Hamtown can have a poker run, then why the hell can’t we?

If this were to happen, I was thinking that we’d want to be able to do it for $20 to $25 a person. That, I’m thinking, should be able to get us a drink at each bar, leave a tip, and give everyone some some kind of commemorative t-shirt on the day of the ride.

The hard part, I think, would be picking the bars. I’d want to pick a few places off the beaten path, but not so far off the beaten path that people might find themselves – you know – beaten on a path.

So, assuming we did want to do this, 1) would you be interested in participating, and 2) where would you suggest that we stop? Arthur’s? the Idle Hour? Haab’s? The Elbow Room? Mister Mike’s? The Brewery? Sidetrack?

On a completely unrelated note, I never cease being impressed by the Disney PR machine. I would have thought it impossible, but somehow they’ve been able to spin the fact that a young girl died immediately after seeing their new movie, UP as a positive. Fro the perspective of another marketer, it’s absolutely inspirational.

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  1. M
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    It sounds shamefully irresponsible. Forget for a minute how well a person can conduct their bicycle after drinking “too much.” Consider instead how poorly they might ride defensively. I am certain you realize how Michigan drivers tend to disregard and not look out for cyclists, particularly unexpected groups of them throughout the city at night. The article below does a better job than I of considering all sides of the proposal. Check it out.

  2. Andy C
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Looks like you missed this one too.

    You tend to sober up as you ride so you can drink a lot more if you’re riding.

    Some of us bicyclist have discussed riding far west and hit only dive bars on the way back. Ending downtown Ypsi in stumbling distance of our homes.

  3. Posted June 21, 2009 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I had no idea about that, Andy. Are you going to do it? If so, will you cover it for I need a drunk bicycling correspondent.

    And, M, I was thinking that it would be a daytime activity, and, as I mentioned, I’d be willing to monkey around with the the various elements until we got everything just right. Maybe we end with light beers. Maybe we throw in a mandatory coffee-n-pasta stop. Maybe we have designated cyclers on tandem bikes. The objective would be to do it in such a way that everyone had a good time, and didn’t die.

  4. Posted June 21, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    That Ypsi-Arbor Bar Bike tour is shamefully irresponsible.

  5. Posted June 21, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Back in the ‘good’ old days, hanging out w/all the cool Eurodance gay guys in mid-80’s Ann Arbor, I’d ride my bike to and from the Nectarine Ballroom several times a week. I didn’t have my license yet (didn’t need it till I tried to “live” in Chelsea…believe me, the two words do not belong in the same sentence). I was not sober going home! It’s a bit scary. But this kind of sounds fun now that I’m a tad older and wiser about the roads.

  6. Posted June 21, 2009 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    I feel shamefully irresponsible whenever I find myself in Hamtramck, just by virtue of being there.

  7. Posted June 21, 2009 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    What if, instead of riding bikes, we jogged?

    Or what if we shut down all the roads in every direction, blocking them with burning cars?

  8. Posted June 22, 2009 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    Great idea, and although I am comfortable safety wise riding my bike after a few beers, you could technically get a DUI if caught. A bicycle is considered a vehicle on the road, and has to abide by regular traffic laws, including driving while sober. I’d be less worried about the safety and more worried about getting arrested.

    But it would be a fun idea!

  9. brad
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    i did a decent job of avoiding getting hit in hamtramck, though after about two minutes of riding with my old housemate kevin i realized he’s living on borrowed time. traffic on jos campau and conant can be too insane to just dart out across streets at random…

    i’d be down for participating in an ypsi version. including arthur’s, idle hour, and/or mr. mike’s would rule, only because i’ve never stopped at any of them before.

  10. Steven Smeltonberg
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    What if it was just whiskey, and we all drove cars between the spots where we stopped and drank, but everything took place on Water Street, and instead of 6 drinks, there was no limit, and it was a competition? Wouldn’t that be the coolest fucking thing ever?

  11. West Cross
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    This is a pretty cool idea. An organized, everyone together run would be pretty cool. It would probably work just as well as a more informal event, which would probably avoid any over all liability issues.
    If you set it up like the Hamtramck one, with an hour between stops I don’t think 6 beer in six hours (or 5 in five, or whatever) is too much for most people. Of course that is assuming only one reasonable size drink per stop which is probably not completely accurate.
    In either case I don’t think you want to get too complicated. Having the cost of the drinks being tied to a registry fee or even having a specific planned drink at each stop would get pretty complicated.

  12. brad
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    agree with west cross regarding keeping it simple.

    steve and kevin did some legwork to make sure the owners/tenders were down for opening a little earlier than usual, dealing with a bunch of cyclists/runners, and distributing decks of cards. they also tracked down donated prizes to give for the best hands.

    only thing participants had to do was buy a drink at each bar, grab a card, initial the back of it, and eat tasty cupcakes at the end.

    would recommend following their lead of tackling longer distances at first, with a smaller gap between the last few. maybe mike’s to idle hour to haab’s to tap room to corner. gives folks the chance to leave their bike chained up and walk to the next place if their third/fourth drinks hit them a little too hard.

  13. brad
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    …that tenders were fine with distributing from decks of cards, that is. think i’m still a little sun drunk from saturday.

  14. Posted June 22, 2009 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I recommend leaving it up to participants how they get themselves between bars. I also suggest allowing participants to buy non-alcoholic drinks as well so they can moderate their own beverage intake. (Like every other day of the year).

    Just because you have an event doesn’t mean people can just stop being responsible for their own well being. That’s ridiculous.

  15. Dirtgrain
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    We should do it on Big Wheels. Imagine the fun.

  16. dragon
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Dateline 1989:
    Well past my fourth year at Eastern, refusing to believe ‘professional student’ wasn’t an actual occupation and still very much into the, all you can drink for $3.00 keg party, I found myself in this predicament often. As an avid cycler and drinker I found myself wobbling home in wee hours too many times to count. But on this occasion I went big, got my moneys worth as they say, and had to go from the corner of Wastenaw and Perrin to East Cross down in depot town. By the time I reached Washtenaw and Washington I wiped out for the third time and was just laying down laughing at the stars when I heard the quick beep, beep siren of an Ypsi cop pulled over right next to me. After deciding for the better that running probably wouldn’t work this time, I just put my arms out in front of me, in the just shackle me and get this over with, gesture. Well, lo and behold, I got the nicest, and cutest by the way,cop I had ever met. And after a quick and painless lecture she put my bike in her trunk and drove me home. No kiss goodnight ;>(

    I vote for the dive bars.

  17. Posted June 22, 2009 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Dragon, thank you for sharing that. I wish more folks would leave autobiographical comments like this one of yours more often…. And thank you, Brad, for the report from Hamtramck. It’s appreciated… And, Steve, I think you’re right about not making drinking or mode of transportation mandatory. We’ll do that… And, Dirtgrain, I was thinking Segways, which are kind of like Bigwheels for adults.

  18. galan
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    I went to the 2 year anniversary of Dos Hermanos Market Sunday in the parking lot behind their store. It was a great celebration with a HUGE Mariachi Band, singers, dancing and a moon walk machine. It was fun (and loud). Lots of kids and families and food. A good thing to see this local business growing in reputation and success over the last two years. Congratulations to them on two successful years!

  19. Bob
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    The really bad part of any bike pub crawl is that many participants might be “casual” bike riders and now you have them in traffic, at night, without any lights, and drunk. That is almost a fatality in the making.

    Another bad part is that Ypsi has a steadily growing bicycle movement, with examples being Bike Ypsi and the City of Ypsilanti working on a non-motorized plan. Encouraging bicycling and drinking, no matter how “fun” this may seem to people, can really do some harm to the progress that is being made.

  20. Lawrence Welk
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Mark wrote, “And, Dirtgrain, I was thinking Segways, which are kind of like Bigwheels for adults.”

    What if we just “rent” lots of strippers to drive us around on those big, old, flat-hooded Craftsman lawn mowers. We could sit on the hoods or in trailers behind the mowers. We could invite DeNiro. Again.

  21. The kingpin
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    As a lover of dive bars, I would suggesst staying away from Arthur’s Bar. The last time I was in that place, 3 lovely ladies threatened to beat up my wife for singing “that faggot” Michael Jackson’s song, Beat It, at karaoke…and we were there with people who had tattoos on their faces. Not a friendly place at all. Also…the Idle Hour is now closed. Mr. Mike’s is awesome, though. I love that place. They have karaoke on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday! The owner, John is a friendly chap as well…

    Ride On,

  22. Posted June 23, 2009 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Drinking and bike riding is plain stupid and a safety hazard.


  23. Andy C
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    You people are a bunch of fucking pussies!

    Arthur’s is now stop #1! Sounds perfect!

    How about “ a a pathetic cesspool of whiners and pussies”

    This site is like watching Jerry Springer. A train wreck that’s hard to turn away from and you trolls are the contestants. Get of you fat asses and live a little!

    Shamefully irresponsible is Water Street!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Posted June 23, 2009 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Feh. Drinking and cycling is boring and passe. The Taco Tour last September, now that was fun!

  25. Posted June 23, 2009 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I think you should plan an imaginary fun event, build a website and print t-shirts and then stay in the safety of your homes.

    Eventually, you too will die leaving spotless, unblemished corpses.

  26. Bea Arthur's ghost
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Maybe we can sip lemonade while we ride our bikes. That would be dangerous, riding with one hand. We would, of course, need to line a stretch of pavement with mattresses and the like, in case we were fall over.

  27. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    When horses make a comeback we can drive drunk all we want.

  28. The Kingpin
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    oh Andy C…you are quite the little barney-badass, aren’t you. You can go to Arthur’s all you want, I’ll never set foot in that toothless, aids-pool of a bar again. As far as being a “pussy”…well, son…I got a nice shiny Huffy, and I’d gladly ride up and down your backside like I was Stu Thompson! Watch you mouth kid, until you lose the training wheels.

  29. brad
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    i vote for replacing the idle hour with the full house.

    only makes sense, with the poker reference and all.

  30. tim
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Sorry I’m a bit late, but there are plans for a bar/pub crawl to take place this upcoming September. The Ypsi CVB has contacted me to try and pull some “younger” people to Ypsi in the means of a bar crawl. The idea being tossed around right now is Pub Golf. There would be 9 bars (representing 9 holes) and “par” for each hole would be a drink count. 2 or 3 drinks per bar. Another idea is to follow the ever growing YpsiWood theme and come dressed as your favorite actor/actress. There will be shuttle buses provided that will run on a constant loop with 3 or 4 different drop zones. Initial targeted bars include Corner Brewery, Sidetrack, Aubrees, Sticks, Pub, Tap Room, Elbow Room, Keystone Underground, and Powell’s. None of which have been contacted yet.

    We’re thinking of starting and ending at Corner Brewery where there will be a raffle and live music after it’s over. It would start relatively early around 6 or 7 and conclude around 10. Tickets will be in the $20-$30 range and include drink specials, the shuttle service, and raffle entry as well as other discounts to participating vendors and retailers. We’re also working with a cab company in hopes to provide everyone a safe ride home. Should be a pretty cool event.

    I’d love to hear some feedback or any ideas/suggestions.

    Mark, can’t wait for SAF.

  31. brad
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    some of the hamtramck kids actually ran, though i think most folks biked.

    per wikipedia, poker runners are allowed to use “a motorcycle, boat, car or other form of transportation.”

    i’m thinking the best bet would be to get someone to pull us from bar to bar on the back of a parade float. it could even be decked out with banners referencing “wretched hives of scum and villainy” and boasting our shameful irresponsibility!

    failing that, starting things at around 2pm so the event wraps long before the sun sets and expecting any participants to be responsible enough not to bike if they’re too blasted seems pretty reasonable to me…

  32. Posted June 23, 2009 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    9 stops with 2 or 3 drinks at each one, Tim? People were giving me a hard time for suggesting we drink 6 beers, and you’re suggesting around 25.

    And it sounds like you’d be wanting people to buy there drinks in addition to paying an entry fee, which I understand, but don’t really like.

    The way I had it in mind is that I, or someone else, would negotiate drink prices with each bar in advance, so only the organizer would pay at each stop, using the entry money. That would make it really easy. As others have suggested, though, it also raises some legal issues for the organizer. I guess one way to get around it would be to negotiate a single rate for pop/beer and let people choose which one they want at each stop. The liability issues, I imagine, wouldn’t be too bad as long as we didn’t imply that someone had to drink beer in each place. Still, though, it’s probably safest to just have people buy their own drinks at each place. I really like the idea of just being able to ride up and get a drink without paying, though.

  33. golf elite
    Posted June 24, 2009 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Tim, There are no par two’s in golf. You must make it a par 3, 4, or 5 and therefore force everyone to drink 36 drinks.(Standard par for a regulation course)

  34. Posted June 24, 2009 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I like the idea of using a parade float for transportation. Ideally the float would reference “a wretched hive of scum and villainy”, Ypsitucky, the rustbelt, groundhog meat, and cannibal holocaust.

  35. tim
    Posted June 24, 2009 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Haha, golf elite your right. Par 3 or 4 is more accurate. No no, the par is just for fun, not actually telling people to drink 25 drinks in just a couple hours. It’s just to add to the fun of the crawl. I went golfing with my dad and grandfather this past weekend and par was 72 for 18 holes…I shot around 120. It’s just a number to make it more “authentic”.

    I agree with you though, I like the idea of being able to just arrive and drink for free. We’re still working on that to figure out the best way to work everything out.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    ps. I’d like to order a large wretched hive of scum and villainy. Extra scum, but hold the villainy.

  36. Erin
    Posted June 24, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Parade float transportation would be awesome! We could meet before the the run to decorate it.

    The motorcycle poker runs I’ve been involved with used the cash collected as a prize for the best poker hand (sometimes the top two or three hands win). People in the run bought their drinks on their own, if they were so inclined, and t-shirts were available at the end for purchase. That said, I think it would be cool if a t-shirt came with the entry fee.

    As a side note, the poker run my dad organized several years ago donated the cash raised to a veteran’s cause. Perhaps any cash raised could be directed towards equipment for bicycle-powered movies by the river, or future SAF grants?

  37. KKT
    Posted June 24, 2009 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Is there a fund yet for the construction of a monument commemorating the sacrifices of our Appalachian slave ancestors?

  38. Andy C
    Posted June 24, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    A shuttle? Really? All the listed bars are with in a mile of each other! Is this little event gonna start at the Gilbert Residence?

    This reminds me of the Xmas parties I’d go to in the 80’s when the polka band leader would say “This one’s for the young folks” and play Proud Mary.

    Make sure the float is assessable for the folks in Rascals.

    Keep at it kids in a few years you might get this off the ground.

  39. Andy C
    Posted June 24, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Cherry
    Bea Arthur’s ghost
    Brackinald Achery
    loved your posts!!!!!

  40. Posted June 24, 2009 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I just did a search and this is the ONLY site in the world that Bea Arthur’s ghost has left a comment on.

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