Membership FAQ'S

    We expected questions when we launched the membership program, and you served them up. We’ve compiled the most frequent and try to answer them here.

    Do I Have to Obtain a Membership?
    Yes. To be an official participant of Slow Roll you must register as a member. You may register online or in person at any Slow Roll. If financial or other factors mean you need or want a free membership it’s yours – courtesy of our Patrons and sponsors who want to keep Slow Roll available to everyone.

    How Can You Stop Me From Riding On Public Streets?
    We can’t, and we would never attempt to. Our question back to you: “If you can have it for free, why wouldn’t you show us the courtesy of becoming a member?” The membership program is designed to help us comply with the requests of Detroit city government. The city has been very accommodating and helpful as Slow Roll has grown rapidly. Please help us move forward by joining.

    Who Gets My Personal Information?
    No one. We do not share members’ personal information with any third parties.

    Can You Mail Me My Membership Card?
    Not at this time we are looking at some options in the future. But you can pick up your card at any Slow Roll event. Full Schedule Here.

    If I Buy a Basic Membership Can I Upgrade to a Premium Membership Later?
    Sure. We added the option online to upgrade at any time and you can always see us at the membership table at events and we can help you upgrade.


    How Are You Going To Check In Thousands of Riders?
    We will be using a text messaging system that is tied to your membership number. We can check in thousands of riders simultaneously. Check in will consist of texting a weekly "code word" to 955-77, the code word will be available at each ride and will change weekly, ie the season opener code was "Slow". Squad members will verify that riders have checked in. Any mobile phone with text messaging will do. You do not need a smart phone.

    Does That Mean Standing In Line Every Week?
    No. Once you pick up your membership card (which happens only once) you check in from your bike in the assembly area. 

    What if I Don’t Have A Phone?
    Squad is there to help you out. We can check you in on our equipment if you don’t have a phone (or you forgot it, or it’s dead, or the phone company was serious about wanting you to pay your bill).

    Do Your Text Messages Speak Canadian?
    International texting is a hiccup. If you bring that phone across the bridge or through the tunnel you’re going to need to check in with Squad. We promise to try and be as polite and nice as all our Canadian friends are to us. 

    Am I About to Get Spammed?
    Slow Roll intends to comply with all anti-spam rules and regulations. We will be using a text messaging system for checking in at events (described above). You do not have to opt-in for text messaging as a condition of obtaining a Slow Roll membership. However, you must still check in at each event you attend. If you do not opt-in for text messaging you will need to check in with one of our volunteers using our equipment.

    Really? Nothing Like Spam?
    When you check in you will receive a confirming text back. With that we may send you an offer from a sponsor or other partner.  It will save you money. You can ignore it if you wish. We will use the text messaging system if weather or other circumstances forces postponement and/or cancellation of an event. As a bonus we can also use it to run an occasional contest or giveaway for members who have checked in to a ride.

    If it feels too much like spam you can always opt-out (subject to the requirement that you still check in at each event). 

    Do I Have to Wear a Number?
    No.  There were some numbers available at the season opener, but their use was voluntary and part of a promotional offer. It’s not something we require. Yeah, that’s a bit confusing. No, don’t expect to see that again.


    Are you really a non-profit organization?
    Yes, really. Detroit Bike City, Inc. was formed as a non-profit in early 2014 when it became clear that Slow Roll was more than just a bike ride. It is a vehicle for positive change in many ways: we promote and provide education about healthy lifestyles and alternative transportation; we connect people from across the region to explore Detroit together – helping to eliminate the barriers decades of mistrust and disinvestment have created. Together we are building a better Detroit and a better region. We are developing community in every sense of the word. We do good.

    Are you a 501(c)(3) organization?
    Not yet. We are in the process of seeking 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service.

    Wait. Does That Mean You’re Not A Non-Profit???
    It just means we haven’t yet received that designation from the IRS. Our non-profit status is determined by the State of Michigan. The IRS designation means we’re a certain type of non-profit, that donations to us will be tax deductible, and that we commit to following certain rules – including rules about disclosure of financial and other information. We’ll let you know when we receive that determination from the IRS.

    Who Governs Detroit Bike City, Inc.?
    A five person Board of Directors governs Detroit Bike City, Inc. The Board is comprised of the two founders of Slow Roll – Jason Hall and Mike MacKool – and three other board members: Jeff Herron, Ami VanHooser and Michael VanHooser.

    Jason Hall is the President of Detroit Bike City, Inc., Jeff Herron is Chairman of the Board and Mike MacKool is the Vice Chairman of the Board.  Michael VanHooser is Treasurer and Ami VanHooser is Secretary

    Who Owns Detroit Bike City, Inc.?
    No one.  The Board is charged with governing the organization, but there is no private ownership – there are no shareholders, for instance.


    Where Is the Money Going?
    Someone always gets paid. In early 2015 our primary focus changed to paying new costs associated with obtaining a permit from the City. That involves two primary components – paying for police escorts and paying for insurance required by the City.

    These are not small expenses. They total tens of thousands of dollars. How much each costs will depend on how many people ride Slow Roll, how many police are needed, and how well we follow our own Code of Conduct by staying right, respecting each other and the community, and doing the things that make it easier for the City to support the event with fewer rather than more police.  The Detroit Police Department has a lot of experience with large events. We are working with them to better estimate how many officers will be needed to assure the ride is safe and traffic is properly controlled.

    We also have costs typical of any nonprofit corporation – like accounting, fees, supplies, postage and the like. We pay for an occasional #Squad event to say thank you to our volunteers for the work they do. We pay some lawyers to handle our intellectual property matters.  We receive other legal services pro bono  from a board member.

    Vendors who sell us stuff make money.  The t-shirts we sell aren’t free to us.

    Where Do You Get Your Money?
    Our primary revenue sources are membership sales, sponsorships, and merchandise sales. Limited additional revenue is received in the form of donations and grants.

    We’re actively working to develop revenue on all fronts, but some are new (like memberships) and others are untested (like sponsorships). We don’t know how much revenue we’ll generate but we believe we will be able to pay all the new costs we’re incurring and assure that Slow Roll is sustainable. If we are wildly successful we can develop our staffing model sooner rather than later.

    What About Slow Roll in Other Cities?
    We have affiliates in a few other U.S. cities and a few abroad. Although they operate independently, they use our name and we are developing programs to permit more affiliates to come on board.  What works in Detroit seems to be helpful in other cities like Cleveland, Chicago, Washington DC and Buffalo.  We hope to add other affiliates in the near future, but our current focus is on developing the event in Detroit. Memberships paid for in Detroit are earmarked for Detroit.

    How Can I Help?
    This is our favorite question.

    Please contact us at if you would like to volunteer, have questions about sponsorship, or more questions about our organization or membership program.