FLINT, Michigan – Soon you’ll be able to take a guided tour through Flint to learn about its automotive history, murals, parks and trails, unique assets, new developments or a thriving bar scene.
“The key to really changing perception is spending time in the city,” says entrepreneur Emily Doerr, a Goodrich High School graduate who moved to Flint three years ago after spending time in Lansing and Detroit. “Often this first time, they need a guide. They need someone who they feel comfortable with and who can ask lots of questions.
Doerr will launch their new business Flint City Bike Tours on June 1.
She brings to her business a history of successful niche business offerings. In 2011, Doerr launched Hostel Detroit providing a safe and affordable temporary place to stay. The hostel has since welcomed more than 10,000 travelers from around the world and has expanded to offer tours of the D.
With the Inn, Doerr discovered an untapped desire among visitors and local residents to learn more about Detroit, its history, and its future. The hostel has organized over 250 tours, and she believes the same thirst for knowledge and seeing more than there is about Flint.
Booking a tour requires 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 reduced rates for seniors and children of under 17 years old. Guests bring their own bikes or use the Zagster Bike Sharing Option. Helmets are compulsory.
The new company adds to an already growing contingent of cycling enthusiasts in and around Flint. For more than a decade, Friends of the Flint River Trail has informally organized Sunday bike rides. Angela Stamps runs Angie’s Bikes at Berston Field House, city parks and schools offering free bike instruction and bikes for children. Social Cycling Flint is a group of locals who champion horseback riding and organize weekly rides on Thursday evenings.
Eventually, perhaps, Flint City Bike Tours will partner with a store to provide bicycles for cyclists and employ other tour guides. For now, it’s a one-woman operation and part of Doerr’s mission to introduce more people to the “happy and energetic” city she calls home.
Doerr, 34, received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Central Michigan University and an MBA from the University of Detroit Mercy. She is a resident of the Eastside College Cultural District in Flint and previously worked for the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
She is now 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 launch is the Community and Economic Development tour. Other options include the Labor / Automotive History Tour, Flint Unique Tour, Flint Parks & Trails Tour, Flint Murals Tour and 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. Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, see Flint City Bike Tours website or email [email protected].