Detroit’s “Mower Gang” reclaims a velodrome

Bikes Energy & Sustainability Fun & Games

MAKE pal and tech advisory boarder, Mister Jalopy, sent us a link to this article and video about a group of volunteers, armed with mowers and weed whackers, who reclaim overgrown areas of Detroit, one gnarly piece of scrub brush at a time. Here, they work to reclaim the Dorais Velodrome bicycle track in northeast Detroit. [Thanks, Mister J!]

The Mower Gang cleans up Detroit

12 thoughts on “Detroit’s “Mower Gang” reclaims a velodrome

  1. SatoriEnd says:

    I really like this idea, and wish more areas were doing stuff like this.

    But I do have to wonder why the park was shut down in the 80’s.

  2. stunmonkey says:

    I like what they are doing, I love community building, but without actual local community involvement, no efforts will be successful.
    Unless you get the community that actually lives there to assume any responsibility for building/maintaining the community, you are just polishing the brass on the Titanic.

    There isn’t really any way to say this without it sounding horrible on the net, but why is it that in a city with a younger population, and with barely 10% white population, the only people that ever show to do community building exercises in Detroit are older, white, and from the ‘burbs?
    All they are really accomplishing at enriching the community is giving the local kids easier access to some Wayne County suburban yuppies minivans to break into for stuff to hock.

    1. SatoriEnd says:

      While I’m going to skip the demographic debate of your statement; I’d like to point out that there’s a noticed reduction in crime rates in areas that are well maintained. As well as boosts to the lands value, and the general enjoyment of the local residents.

      Who maintains a given area is (more or less) irrelevant. Yes the local neighborhood should form a volunteer group to handle this, but it may be that they don’t have the tools. While this may be polishing the brass on the Titanic, it could also be the start of a community wide movement to get the area back on track.

  3. PushTheOtherButton says:

    This is fantastic and I’m going to start following this group. Detroit has the potential to become an amazing city once again, and it’s going to be at the hands of folks like these. Since the financial crisis I’ve had sporadic urges to hop in my car, drive out and hit some foreclosure auctions – make a mad scientist laboratory :)

  4. sk8sonh2o says:

    Great start! You could thank Ryobi by having a hacked trimmer race, and create similar targeted events for other sponsors- like a roller derby or an r/c car race.
    Maybe some folks in Dearborn would donate some garage floor epoxy, Kids might paint it on if there were bright colors available, or if they could earn an r/c car.
    Ask for R/c cars, epoxy paint on Freecycle & Craigslist.

  5. xây dựng, construction, paint says:

    thank your pager, its very useful, im like

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).