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Old 01-12-14, 09:02 PM   #1
LiteraryChic
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Roscommon to Mackinaw

This is my first time in the Touring Forum, as I mostly hang around in the Commuting and Women's Forums. Anyway, as a "gift" to myself in August when I graduate with my MA, I am going on my first bicycle tour. I have decided to ride from Roscommon, Michigan (where my parents have a cabin) to Mackinaw, Michigan to enjoy a few days on the island. However, I am completely lost as to where to begin. Gear? Training (i.e. fitness)? Mapping out my route? Advice for going by yourself?

To see more about my bicycle (as she is is the only one that I have and I am unable to purchase something simply for touring at the moment) check out this link. I will post photos, upon request.

Thanks!
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Old 01-13-14, 12:24 AM   #2
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Welcome!

My wife and I rode a 900 mile loop around Michigan in 2012. A portion of our route took us over some of the same ground that you may be covering. We started south of Detroit and the apex of the loop was Mackinaw City. We did spend a day on the Island.

Roscommon to Mackinaw City is a little over 100 miles. Using Google Map bicycle routing feature, it would route you up through Gaylord. We approached Gaylord from the east, so we did not ride the first portion of your potential route. However, my wife kept a detailed journal that includes route details. If you are interested, I'll send you the details. I believe that most of the route from Gaylord to Mackinaw City, 62 miles, was on Rail to Trail paths. Most of this was not paved, but it was pretty easy riding.

You can check this out at:
http://www.traillink.com/trail/north...il-trail).aspx

Just a quick look at the various Voyageur models leads me to believe that the bike would do fine as long as the load carried was not excessive. Depending on your conditioning, the ride could be done in 2 or 3 days.

Although I left Michigan after finishing school, I found that after all this time it is still a wonderful place to ride. If you have not been to Indian River, the Cross in the Woods is worth the short side trip.

PS. I need to warn you that travelling by bike is addictive

Last edited by Doug64; 01-13-14 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 01-13-14, 08:12 AM   #3
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Last summer a friend and I rode south from near Mackinaw City to Columbus. We rode old US 27 to Grayling. From Grayling we took South Military Rd to N. Higgins Lake Rd which becomes Roscommon Rd. and takes you right to Roscommon. There is a nice compacted limestone bike path from Gaylord all the way to Mackinaw that you can ride. We chose to ride on the road to make better time. If you are camping there are several state forest campgrounds along the way that provide excellent campsites. You'll pass several beautiful northern Michigan lakes that you can cool off in. The terrain is mostly level but there are several longish upgrades that you will encounter along the way. If you are fit, they are not a problem.
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Old 01-18-14, 02:16 PM   #4
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It looks like you're going to get some really good routing inputs. Another thing to look at is perhaps to contact the local cycling clubs. If there are any, you should be able to find them by looking at the site of the League of Michigan Bicyclists www.lmb.org.
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Old 01-18-14, 03:27 PM   #5
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What you carry will depend on how you sleep at night. If you plan to stay in hotels or B&B's, things are simpler. If you intend to camp then there are some decisions and expenses if you don't have camping gear and experience already. This is all I carry for a camping trip, whether 2 days or 2 weeks. I am actually reducing it somewhat this year. I wouldn't invest in equipment unless you intend to reuse it regularly, it can become a pile of money sitting in a closet.

Marc
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Old 01-18-14, 04:13 PM   #6
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if you're familiar with central/northern Michigan then you know about black flies. right?

they were vicious enough to turn back even the most intrepid early explorers of the area.
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Old 01-18-14, 04:51 PM   #7
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Researching a route:

MDOT's bike map pdfs are here. They didn't display correctly in my firefox browser, but worked fine when I downloaded one and used Adobe Reader to view it.

They show low traffic roads in green and show paved shoulders. They also have paved or unpaved trails.

~~~~~~~~~~
Drawing a route:

Use ridewithgps.com to draw your route. It's free. It's fast and easy to draw a route by clicking a point on the road you want. Then you can see how many miles it is, how far apart your rest stops will be, and if there's any steep climbs. You can Undo or Redo to try alternate routes quickly.

It makes a cue sheet so you can navigate, or it will export to a GPS device.

See my comments on using ridewithgps in this thread.

For example, a search within ridewithgps found this route near Traverse Bay. You can zoom in, change map types at top right, and see statistics on the Metrics tab at the right side.

Last edited by rm -rf; 01-18-14 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 01-19-14, 08:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert schlatte View Post
Last summer a friend and I rode south from near Mackinaw City to Columbus. We rode old US 27 to Grayling. From Grayling we took South Military Rd to N. Higgins Lake Rd which becomes Roscommon Rd. and takes you right to Roscommon. There is a nice compacted limestone bike path from Gaylord all the way to Mackinaw that you can ride. We chose to ride on the road to make better time. If you are camping there are several state forest campgrounds along the way that provide excellent campsites. You'll pass several beautiful northern Michigan lakes that you can cool off in. The terrain is mostly level but there are several longish upgrades that you will encounter along the way. If you are fit, they are not a problem.
Your post reminds me of how great the riding is in Michigan. I completed a cross Michigan ride from Cadillac to Mackinaw and a "Lone Wolf" ride (off road) from Munising to Copper Harbor. Wonderful trips for sure. I also do a lot of motorcycle touring in the state and find it very accommodating - except in winter.
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