Bike Dearborn organizer shares her passion for cycling with community

Tracy Besek calls herself a die-hard cyclist. With a personal goal of riding every single day and a love for 100-mile rides around the city, biking has become a staple of her life. Since 2015, the Dearborn resident of 18 years has been sharing that love with community members through weekly rides, special events, and family-friendly cycling. 

“Biking is a passion of mine,” Besek says. “I love to make it a family activity.”

Besek says she rode often in her teens and twenties, but lost the habit when she had kids. “Once you start building a family and working full time, you don’t have time for some of the things you love to do for fun.”

Besek started riding again when her son, now 11, learned to ride and fell in love with the pastime. “From then on, we rode whenever we could,” she says.

Besek began using the hashtag #BikeDearborn and started partnering with the city and other organizations to hold events. Called Bike Dearborn, the group collaborates with Healthy Dearborn for weekly "Walk n Roll" events where the group meets each Wednesday evening for a guided ride or walk around the city. Besek leads the group on a different route each time and has a knack for showing people the undiscovered parts of the city.

“There’s over 40 parks in the city,” Besek says. “When I tell people that they are blown away—they don’t realize it.”

Bike Dearborn cyclists riding through a neighborhood in Dearborn

Even though Dearborn is a large city and physically divided by an expressway, you can get almost anywhere by bike. And taking that mode of transportation shows off the unique communities within Dearborn.

“Every neighborhood of the the city has its own characteristics,” Besek says. “When you’re driving through a neighborhood area at 25 miles per hour, you don’t get to see and appreciate as much as when you’re slowing it down and in a more intimate setting on a bike.”

Besek says the exciting part of Bike Dearborn has been the east and west residents visiting each other's neighborhoods. “You get a bunch of people from all areas of the city, all different religious backgrounds, all different races, all different cultures, all different political associations and that’s all thrown away when you get them on a bike together,” she says. “You get this community bond where you have a common interest in not only biking, but learning about new parts of the city.”

Besek believes Bike Dearborn is also changing the culture within the city. Lately the rides have attracted upwards of 70 riders, who also educate motorists and encourage other families to get out and ride. 

Interested in joining a Bike Dearborn ride? Here are some upcoming events.

The Walk n Roll is a family friendly event for all levels, with a six-mile ride at an easy pace. The group meets at various locations (an event calendar can be found on the city website or Healthy Dearborn Walk n Roll page) and rides at 6 p.m. in October. Participants are asked to arrive 15 minutes early. 

On Oct. 7, a special Bikes & Brews will be held featuring both Dearborn Brewing and Downey Brewing. This event starts at 2 p.m. at the group meets at Ford Field by the bridge. 
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Read more articles by Jessica Strachan.

Jessica Strachan is an award-winning journalist and Metromode's project editor for On The Ground Dearborn. Follow her on Twitter @JStrachanNews.