In light of our world pandemic, as the theme song from the classic TV-show Cheers says: “taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.”
So, here’s a two-part story involving The Michigan Pedaler: one where we found ourselves helping, and one where we found ourselves on the receiving end in the span of less than 24-hours last week.
Things started churning late Thursday night, when The Michigan Pedaler received a call from Jon Hartzell. Harzell owns the popular Midtown establishment Detroit Shipping Company. He and the team at The Michigan Pedaler have become good friends over the past couple years and are working together on a number of projects (more on this to come in a future blog). He also heads the Detroit Rising development company that has tons of super cool projects taking place in Detroit and beyond.
Jon heard about a desperate call being put out by the Motor City Mitten Mission, who for various reasons, including COVID-19, needed to find space to store some stuff within the next 24 hours.
Motor City Mitten Mission is a non-profit that cares for our community’s most vulnerable. They actively spend time on the street handing out food, clothing, blankets, and most-importantly, providing the element of human care and love to people who need it most. In a host of different ways, they find ways to support Detroit’s most needy.
Familiar with The Pedaler Building, our Corktown home on Trumbull that we are rehabbing into multiple uses as well as where we store our Michigan Pedaler fleet of party bikes, Jon hypothesized that maybe we could lend a hand.With the clock ticking, on Friday afternoon, March 20th, Hartzell joined The Michigan Pedaler’s Owner, Mike Gill, and Operations Manager, Nick Popovski, on site to tour The Pedaler Building with Gail Marlow, the head of MCMM. We determined an area of the building that could serve as the perfect and convenient place for her to unload and store the contents that she needed and be a true win-win for all.
Through a “virtual” handshake agreement given today’s conditions, the two groups agreed to a lease on the spot so MCMM could take occupation. Keys were exchanged. Later that afternoon and into the evening – the MCMM began unloading trucks to store furniture and more.
The Michigan Pedaler was happy to provide a helping hand in a small way.
Fast forward to Saturday, and The Michigan Pedaler found itself on the receiving end of someone else’s willingness to help small businesses in this tough time. While the weather has begun to change for the better, The Michigan Pedaler is closed for business. We voluntarily committed to do so in an effort to help fight the spread of the virus on March 13th, but obviously, as the situation worsened, people are not leaving their homes and we are closed indefinitely. Booking future rides for prime Pedaler months like July and August have slowed to a drip too. It leaves small businesses in a precarious situation.
While we try to hold on for the longest time paying our current full-time staff, our drivers are also feeling the pinch by not getting assigned any rides – and not being paid. Of course, there are plenty of other bills in addition to payroll. Like restaurants and other small businesses, all are feeling the effects and we are constantly adapting to weather this tsunami of an economic storm.
On Saturday morning, our owner noticed a tweet come through his personal Twitter feed from an individual that he has followed for years but never met personally. Justin Spiro, host of the Spiro Avenue Podcast, asked: “Do you know any Michigan businesses that are struggling? Let’s give away some gift cards. DMs open if you have suggestions.” A DM was sent introducing The Michigan Pedaler.
Quickly, a flood of DM’s back and forth hatched an idea. Spiro would purchase a package that included a two-hour ride on our 15-passenger party bikes and throw in an additional $100 to cover gratuity for the driver – a $500 value. He would launch a contest through his Twitter account (@DarkoStateNews) to give it away. In addition, he’d supply a couple weeks of free ads on his popular podcast to The Michigan Pedaler to hopefully generate additional buzz for the company.
Boom. By Saturday evening the ride was purchased and paid for and the contest launched. Quickly after the posting, a follower of Spiro’s wrote: “These guys are awesome! Nice work!!!” The positive reinforcement brought a smile to our entire team.
While certainly appreciative of the purchase and support of The Michigan Pedaler in this challenging time, it also sends an impactful message to others: While times are tough for everyone, if you are thinking of ways to support one another, do so. Do so with an order from the local restaurant for carryout, deliver groceries to the elderly neighbor, purchase a gift card for use when better days return.
On Thursday, we had no knowledge that any of this would happen. We were in that “let’s just get through this week” mentality. By Saturday night, a charity had solved a concern of theirs and found a home in The Pedaler Building. On social media, a person launched a contest to give away a Michigan Pedaler ride with the sole purpose to simply help out and give back.
The lessons learned in this 24-hour span are pretty basic – the stuff taught to the youngest of the young at Sunday school. Listen to others when they ask. Help one another. Give back to the community. Find ways to pitch-in and help. Even the smallest thing can make a big impact. Pay it forward. Help your fellow human.
Contribute to make society a better place – even in its darkest hours.
They are good lessons to be reminded about any day – but especially today.
Follow Justin Spiro on Twitter at www.twitter.com/darkostatenews
Download the Spiro Avenue podcast on the Apple iTunes (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/spiro-avenue/id1258270071) or at your favorite podcast platform.
To purchase Gift Cards for future rides on The Michigan Pedaler visit: https://michiganpedaler.rezdy.com/catalog/86800/gift-cards