Steep climb out of Mona Lake in Norton Shores, Michigan
Hi. Is anyone familiar with the climb on Lake Harbor Drive going north from Mona Lake? We're going to be riding north along the newly designated USBR #35 next May which takes us over what appears in Google Earth at least, to be an unrideable gradient. Is it as bad as Google Earth makes it appear? The reason I ask is that we are older and don't want to stroke out, we're going to be carrying a lot of weight including a dog in a trailer and we come from Chicago where even an overpass can look daunting.
Google Earth also shows a road that runs along the north shore of the lake but it appears to be private as I think I see a gate of some sort blocking the entrance. Does anyone know if the road is accessible?
Looking at Google Maps, the road I think you're talking about appears to be a bike path. It looks like if you cross the bridge going north and go in the parking lot to the left, the path goes from the parking lot back around under the bridge and seems to bypass the little bump in the road. The gate at the other end appears to be designed to keep cars off the path, but bikes/peds should be able to go around. Never been there though, so take it for what it's worth.
Hi fevans. I agree looking at the climb in mapmyrun does make it look innocuous until you realize the climb (which google earth & ridewithgps pegs at a bit over 100 feet) seems to occur in less than 0.1mile. While I'm not positive how you determine gradient, 100 feet of rise in about 500 feet of travel might indicate a 20% gradient. Depending on the horizontal scale used ridewithgps shows the peak gradient being anywhere from 6% to 18%. Not sure what is actually correct and why the variability (maybe rounding going on??) but that is why I was hoping someone who is familiar with the climb would see the posting. I find it hard to believe that the Dept of Trans, or whoever set up the route, would have it go over a 20% grade, but who knows.
I think you are correct about the lower road actually being a path as I think I see two people walking along it, so I think we will be looking for that road when on the trip.
We were going north. We left from home in the south suburbs, went around the bottom of the lake, then north to Muskegon, crossed to Milwaukee on the ferry, and rode back to the south 'burbs.
Last year we did a bunch of hub 'n' spoke trips around Frankfort and on the Lelanau Peninsula near Traverse City. The hills along the lake near Frankfort and Sleeping Bear are something else. (One climbs 1,300 feet in 1/2 mile) It would be worth looking at the Michigan Cycling club's Shoreline West tour booklet . $11.00 IIRC.
I live in Muskegon and have ridden that road many times. It is no big deal, we ride it on group rides and do not even consider it a hill. You will have a lot more to deal with north of Manistee up toward Traverse City. There are some good hills there. Enjoy your ride.