Touring - Best tours starting in Michigan?
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01-27-13, 07:20 AM
I just moved to Lansing Michigan to start school and am going absolutely stir-crazy because of all this freezing snow! I need to start planning for the summer... So, I am from California originally and don't know this part of the country at all. I am an experienced tourer though. Iv'e ridden the PCH as well as several multi-month tours in Asia.
I am not sure how much time/money I will have but it should be enough to live on the bike for the summer. However, suggestions for tours that are shorter than 2-3 months would also be appreciated since I am not 100% sure of my plans. If I do have the whole summer should I just catch a train to one of the coasts and ride the trans am? What about just riding east and doing the Under Ground Railroad? All suggestions are welcome. What would you do?
01-27-13, 07:37 AM
Without a doubt - the Upper Peninsula. Inhabited by Yoopers.
Pictured Rocks - the Keweenaw - Porcupine Mountains.
01-27-13, 07:58 AM
+1 for the UP. A must see. Also, for the Lower Peninsula, riding along the western side of the state is generally better than the east. Less populated and more interesting terrain. Plus lake Michigan is pretty amazing once you get up near Empire (a bit west of Traverse City). If you make it out that way, check out the sleeping bear dunes!
I would take the time to explore northern MI; its really pretty country once you get out of the industrial areas. Tons of rivers, inland lakes, forests, and of course the great lakes. I'd suggest going north rather than heading south from Lansing. IMO northern OH and IN are pretty uninteresting.
01-27-13, 08:58 AM
Here is a link to the travel section of my blog (http://simplecycle-marc.blogspot.com/search/label/Real%20bike%20travel). Scrolling through that may give you some ideas. I make a lot of weekend trips to the the lakeshore. Either coast will make for a nice trip, the west is especially nice with the Traverse City/Petosky area on the way to Mackinaw City.
Be sure to stop into a bike shop or the LMB office downtown (http://www.lmb.org/) and pickup the MDOT maps for cycling Michigan, they identify the traffic density on all the roads. A fleece jacket and studded tires help get me through the winter.
01-28-13, 08:16 AM
I have travelled a fair amount around Lake Superior which is a deep and crystal clear beyond comparison. Pictured rocks and Porcupine mountain are beautiful on the southern, Michigan side. Maybe more spectacular is the eastern Canadian shore line of Superior on Route 17- trans Canadian highway. Two large wilderness parks- Lake Superior provincial park and Pukaskwa national park- are great to explore.
This summer a friend and I are riding from central Ohio to Mackinac right through the heart of Michigan. Lots of pretty forested areas and back country roads with minimal traffic.
01-28-13, 09:43 AM
If you decide you want to go up to Lake Superior, don't miss the Keewenaw Peninsula. Excellent biking and great scenery. Here's an account of a recent short and leisurely trip we took up there, with maps you can enlarge: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=11056
well well, I've sometimes wondered what you were up to, and if you did end up going back to school. All the best with it btw, I assume you started in the fall so must be part way through this year.
Cant help you at all, dont know that area, like you have done the PCH and some stuff out here in the East (Gaspe peninsula, upper Vermont, NY, NH a bit).
Must be strange for you with the snow being around so much and for so long. We've been through regular jan temps recently (last few years have been warmer,so we've been complacent), so temps of -15 to -25c, but we had a great big dump of snow about 3-4 weeks ago, so cross country skiing was great. That and skating helps with the "stir craziness", but then we grow up with this, so its diff, as the mindset is, well, set. You know what to expect basically and know how to dress for it.
Have fun coming up with a summer trip, I wonder if you will be underwhelmed by places after your other trips. Guess you'll just have to find out.
I might do Montreal-Boston this summer (about a week) but have to figure out when it can be fit in the family schedule, work and other stuff.
all the best with your courses.
01-28-13, 11:05 AM
I agree with the others. You don't have to look too far for an amazing ride because Michigan is an awesome state. My wife and I live in Michigan. We have toured a bit here and plan to do more. Funny, just yesterday we were talking about how lucky we are to live here. I don't care much for the snow anymore, but the state is a bikers dream.
As others have said, the UP is incredible. We did a driving tour over 3 days this summer, and camped along Lake Michigan and Superior (above). Nothing could really prepare me for the awe of Superior, having lived near Lake Michigan for 30 years. This was our campsite as we setup at night. The next morning, around 5:00 a.m., we awoke to what I can only describe as an inland hurricane. It was somewhat terrifying, but amazing and beautiful as well. It was a good reminder that Superior and most of the great lakes are really inland seas.
You don't have to look too far for an amazing ride because Michigan is an awesome state.
I have to agree. Although, until I took a 900 mile loop through the lower part of the state I deserted almost 50 years ago, I would have said, "it is a good place to be from." Our plan when we started our tour last summer was to circumnavigate Lake Huron starting at my brother's place in southern Michigan. Due to the desire to visit a long-time friend in Rose City and the weather that was north and east of us when we reached Mackinaw City, we decided to turn west and follow the Lake Michigan shoreline.
We arrived in Mackinaw City on one of the two times a year that bikes are allowed over the Mackinaw Bridge. However, we did not find out about the opportunity until it was too late. I think if we would have ridden over the bridge we would have gone with our original plan. There is always next time:)
The scenery was beautiful in October, the drivers were courteous, the roads were clean and litter free, and the people we encountered were really great. On one of our motel nights at Wolf Lake, the motel's owner asked us if we had any clothes that needed washing. She actually did a load of laundry for us. At that point we happened to intersect an ACA route. She mentioned that they were included in the ACA information--Day Star Motel.
I'm really glad that I was wrong on all the negative perceptions I had about my home state, and even at my age a person can experience a major "paradigm" shift.
01-28-13, 03:02 PM
If you choose to ride the UP as well, at any time you can call the Bridge Authority at the base of the bridge and they will transport you and your bike across the Mac Bridge for $5 per bike. Or, grab a ferry and enjoy Mac Island. Then take a return ferry to the UP side and keep on going. Awesome!
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