FLINT, Michigan — You soon will be able to take a guided spin through Flint to take in its automotive history, murals, parks and trails, unique assets, new developments, or its booming bar scene.
“The key to actually changing the perception is spending time in the city,” says entrepreneur Emily Doerr, a Goodrich High School grad who moved to Flint three years ago after spending time in both Lansing and Detroit. “Often times that first time, they need a guide. They need a person they feel comfortable with and can ask a lot of questions.”
Doerr will launch her new business Flint City Bike Tours on June 1.
She brings to her venture a history of successful, niche business offerings. In 2011, Doerr launched Hostel Detroit offering a safe, affordable temporary place to stay. The hostel has since welcomed more than 10,000 travelers from around the world — and expanded to offer tours of The D.
With the hostel, Doerr discovered an untapped desire in both visitors and local residents to learn about Detroit, its history and its future. The hostel has conducted more than 250 tours, and she believes that same thirst for knowledge and seeing more than the exists about Flint.
Booking a tour takes a minimum of two participants and the cost is $15 per person for a two-hour tour and $25 for a four-hour tour, with discounted rates for seniors and children under age 17. Customers bring their own bikes or use the Zagster Bike Share option. Helmets are required.
The new business adds to an already growing contingency of bicycle enthusiasts in and around Flint. For more than a decade, Friends of the Flint River Trail have been informally hosting bike rides on Sundays. Angela Stamps runs Angie’s Bikes at Berston Field House, city parks and schools providing bicycle education and free bikes to children. Social Cycling Flint is a group of locals who advocate for riding and host weekly Thursday night fun rides.
Eventually, maybe, Flint City Bike Tours will grow to partner with a shop to provide bicycles for riders and employ other tour guides. For now, it’s a one-woman operation and part of Doerr’s mission to introduce more folks to the “joyful, energetic” city she calls home.
Doerr, 34, earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from Central Michigan University and MBA from the University of Detroit Mercy. She is a resident of Flint’s eastside College Cultural Neighborhood and previously worked for the Detroit Regional Chamber and Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
She now serves as vice president of housing development for Metro Community Development — so she developed one of the tours specifically around her own passion. Among the six standard tour options available when Flint City Bike Tours launches is the Community and Economic Development Tour. Other options include Labor/Automotive History Tour, Uniquely Flint Tour, Flint Parks and Trails Tour, Flint Murals Tour and the Bike Bar Crawl.
Each has two- and four-hour options. Tours are available at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, check out Flint City Bike Tours website
or email Emily@FlintCityBikeTours.com