Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: South Bend, IN (U.S.A.)
Bikes: Surly LHT; Surly CC (as fixed-gear commuter); Hunter CX; Dahon Mu Uno
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I live in South Bend and do a decent amount of riding in the "Michiana" area. It isn't great, but there are indeed some very nice rides. From South Bend I usually either head south to and around Potato Creek State Park (the roads to get there are good for cycling for the most part, and there are designated bike paths in the park) or North into Michigan. There are also some nice rides to the southeast, but it is a little more trouble to get from South Bend to the nice areas. Getting into Michigan gives the most opportunities-- there are very nice rides to and along Lake Michigan.
The only trick is getting out of South Bend because there are very few bicycle-safe routes to get completely out of the city (horrible planning, which unfortunately, still continues...). If you're in South Bend, I'd be happy to share my routes for getting out of the city. Once out, there really are some very pretty rides.
You should check out the MBA: Michiana Bicycle Association. I'll paste the URL below. Many of the rides mean driving my bike to the designated meeting spot, but the folks are friendly, provide decent maps and will be a great way for you to learn about cycling options in the area.
If you're solely interested in bike trails (i.e. not on safe roads to ride, but designated bike trails), I'm afraid the situation is not very promising. Indiana property owners have traditionally taken an unusually hostile stance against abandoned railroad lines being used for projecs like Rails-to-Trails. There is some chance this will improve in the future, but I wouldn't hold my breath. That may be overly pessimistic, however -- the governor (Mitch Daniels) just announced his desire to get a trail network through the state... maybe some of the revenue from leasing "The Toll Road", i.e. Interstate 80/90 will be used for this purpose? Time will tell if anything will come of this...