Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Rochester Hills, MI
Bikes: Specialized Sequoia, Specialized Crosstrail, Cannondale Synapse Carbon
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Pere Marquette Trail
My wife and I rode a couple of sections of this trail last weekend, and I was reminded again of what a great biking route it is. It's located in the center of Michigan's "mitten", and runs 30 miles between Midland and Clare. Even for a rail-trail, it's exceptionally well finished, being smooth asphalt that's 12 or 14 feet wide. The trailheads along the way have clean and well-maintained restrooms, and a couple of the small towns that you pass by have trailside restaurants that welcome and cater to riders.
Another nice feature is that there are basically no major road crossings for the entire distance, so you can easily do a 60-mile round-trip ride and hardly ever have to slow down, let alone stop. And with the typically very light traffic, you can safely go as fast as you like. You regularly see pace lines of roadies burning it up through the farmland.
If there is a downside, it's that the scenery is a bit boring unless you like long stretches of midwestern farmlands and not much else. So far, my only rides along it have been casual rides with my wife on our comfort bikes, but sometime next year I'd like to make a day of it by loading up my road bike, driving up to the "tridge" [sic] in Midland, and doing a 60-mile ride to Clare and back. Now I just have to decide where to stop for lunch along the way, and...