Touring - Lake Erie Connector (Adventure Cycling Route)
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03-15-13, 06:02 PM
My family and I are considering riding the Lake Erie Connector route as a stand along trip this summer. We would probably start where it begins in the west at Wolf Lake, Michigan (just outside of Muskegon on the eastern edge of Lake Michigan) and ride the route east to where it ends in Fort Erie, ON, Canada (505 miles later) AKA- just across the boarder from Buffalo, NY.
Has anyone done this trip? Is it an interesting ride? We are in Ohio so access to the route is pretty good for us. We only have 9 days total (A driving day, 7 riding days, a final driving day).
I understand it is pretty flat and that is very appealing to a few of the older riders in our group. We will be staying at hotels, inns etc. We will NOT be camping. We plan to cover about 70-75 miles a day, doing the ride in about a week.
I haven't found too much information or chatter about this route. If anyone has first hand experience with it, please let me know. I know it won't have the appeal of riding some of the more vista oriented sections of the Adventure Cycling route system, but I would love to hear someone say, it was fun/enjoyable, I would do it again etc.
Also- if anyone has suggestions of specific places to stay and restaurants, please feel free to share. Even a great town maybe you wished you had spent the night in but didn't, that is fine too!
Thanks in advance for any information!
03-15-13, 07:04 PM
My wife and I rode from Cleveland CCW around Lake Erie last Summer on our tandem. From Leamington to Fort Erie ,the direction you would be riding, was a great ride. We thought it was very scenic. Especially Port Stanley and Port Dover. Also it was worth seeing Fort Erie.
We live in NE Ohio so we started & ended our tour right from home. FWIW cycling around Niagra area was quite nice too!
03-16-13, 08:17 AM
Tandem Tom- thank you for sharing. This is great info. Much appreciated!
If I remember correctly there are 2 motels in Wolf Lake, which would be a good place to start from. The Day Star Inn is where we stayed. It was not fancy but more than adequate. The owner asked us if we needed any laundry washed. She did a load of clothes for us and apologized for not having them folded when we went back to the office to pick them up. You can't beat that for customer service. It was really appreciated. My wife and I were not on on the Lake Erie Connector (LEC). We were just rolling our own heading south from Mackinaw City, our northern most point, during a 900 mile loop through the Lower Peninsula. We were using parts of the North Lake Route to come down the western side of the state. A group of cyclist we met in Mackinaw City gave us the ACA North Lakes Route Map which they no longer needed. We were going from Wolf Lake to Eaton Rapids.
We stayed in Bay City on our way up the eastern side of the state. The Lake Erie Connector goes through there. There are a number of places to stay, and good food. I have the ACA LEC map #1 which we planned on using for a circumnavigation of Lake Erie, which we changed to a circumnavigation of Lake Huron, which turned into the loop we actually did around the Lower Peninsula. However, that is a long story:)
Michigan is not flat, at least the more northern portion. There are a lot of short rolling hills. We gained a total of 30,000 feet on that trip, and I did not have the GPS on for some of it.
Michigan has good roads. The people are great, drivers courteous, and the scenery was really nice in the fall (late September/early October).
P.S. IMO- While the ACA route maps are good resources, I would look at them more as guidelines rather than follow them religiously. One of the few times we followed our North Lakes Route map closely, the route took us off a perfectly good road, up a steep hill into a busy town, and then downhill right back to the road we were originally on. We really did not want or need anything in that town, and at that time of the day, and raining we did not need a hill.
03-17-13, 10:55 AM
It is a very scenic part of Michigan with a combination of orchards, vineyards, forests and wetlands. It is not flat in Michigan, at least not until you get south of I-94 towards Indiana (not near the route you plan). There are lots of rolling hills, rivers and streams, but it is well worth it and not too difficult. I don't know what it's like after you cross the border.
03-18-13, 07:41 AM
I have gone from my sister's house in Erie, Pa. to Fort Erie, Ontario. I rode up route 5 the entire way. Stayed overnight at a friend's house and biked back. I can't remember the mileage for sure(200 round trip) but on the way up, i stopped for an overnight visit in Dunkirk, Pa. stayed at some little motel and visited the lighthouse, ate at an awesome Greek restaurant and then continued up to Fort Erie the next day. Visited some sites, stayed overnight and headed back down to Erie the next day. WINDY! i do remember the wind being pretty wicked but the ride was in the summer and it was hot out so i didn't mind. I stayed overnight at Barcelona, or Westfield, NY, on my way back. Lovely lighthouses at Barcelona, and Dunkirk. Lovely weather, wineries along the way. The sides of the roads were very large shoulders and very open. I believe this is part of the 'seaside trail' of New York.
That's my 2 cent tour.
P.S. i know my route was different direction. Just sharing the info in case you want to really enjoy other sites. And i concur. Cycling the Niagra area was really nice. And the people were very pleasant and welcoming!
03-18-13, 04:14 PM
This is really wonderful info. Thank you all for taking the time. A Lake Erie Loop isn't out of the question either. Might head thru Fort Erie, ON and return via the south edge of the lake to Sandusky. Thanks again all.
03-18-13, 05:33 PM
I think you're loop has a ton of potential. The scenery is awesome and some of the nicest riding is around the southeasterly area for roadways. Many of those spots used to be heavy traffic areas, well...years and years ago. Little touristy towns like city on the lakes, conneut lake, ashtabula...some of these places are near ghost towns by most terms nowadays and offer some traffic free roadways, cheap motels, hotels, b and bs, etc. While still enjoying what you enjoy most. Cycling!
A Lake Erie Loop isn't out of the question either. Might head thru Fort Erie, ON and return via the south edge of the lake to Sandusky. Thanks again all.
On our cross country ride in 2007 our goal was to use Highway 20 as much as possible to get from Newport, Oregon to Boston. It is the only contiguous road from coast to coast in the U.S., and seemd like a good challenge. Anyway, we pretty much rode along Lake Erie from Toledo to just south of Buffalo where we headed east toward the Finger Lakes region and back on Hwy 20. We were not on any specific route, but tried to take roads with less traffic, and stay on hwy 20 where possible. There are a lot of options in that segment. The only real challenge was getting through Cleveland.
Good luck on your ride.
We stopped here for lunch in Cleveland. The waitress at the diner had us bring our bikes inside, because she was afraid "they would not be there when we came out." :)
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