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Michigan Tour 2021

Old 10-06-20, 09:54 AM
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Shrek On A Trek
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Michigan Tour 2021

I am planning a bike tour of Michigan. My goal is to ride from White Pigeon, MI (IN/MI stateline) to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. By car it's about 500 miles, but that is taking a Freeway. I do't want that. There are some trails like the White Pine Trail in Grand Rapids to Cadilac (92 miles) that I'm trying to find that will get me going straight north. I know about the Kal-Haven Trail but it goes east and west.

Anyone have any experience or have done this before? I'm a NOOB but it is something I want to train for. My bike is a Trek Hybrid, FX-2
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Old 10-06-20, 11:16 AM
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It's been a long time since I rode regularly there, though my dad lives 30 minutes by car north of GR, 1 mile from the WPT, and when I visit, I usually take my gravel bike and ride it (and the Montcalm country) gravel roads.

Start here. That has links to trail maps. If you dive in you'll find a trail called the North Country National Scenic Trail. You can pick out up in GR, and it runs generally N/S; it is not straight, but it offers some cool places and takes you through the Manistee National Forest in the Lower Peninsula, and when it crosses into the UP will take you directly to Pictured Rocks.

Hope this helps. It sounds epic. Also, you may want to consider investing a touring/gravel bike...that FX is pretty lightweight and not really ideal for what you plan to do, in my estimation. When is your target date to do it?
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Old 10-07-20, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
It's been a long time since I rode regularly there, though my dad lives 30 minutes by car north of GR, 1 mile from the WPT, and when I visit, I usually take my gravel bike and ride it (and the Montcalm country) gravel roads.

If you dive in you'll find a trail called the North Country National Scenic Trail. You can pick out up in GR, and it runs generally N/S; it is not straight, but it offers some cool places and takes you through the Manistee National Forest in the Lower Peninsula, and when it crosses into the UP will take you directly to Pictured Rocks.

Hope this helps. It sounds epic. Also, you may want to consider investing a touring/gravel bike...that FX is pretty lightweight and not really ideal for what you plan to do, in my estimation. When is your target date to do it?
I'll second the North Country Trail. My kids and I spent a lot of time on that trail when we did some hiking in the U.P. in August this year. The trail accommodates hikers, bikers, horseback riding, etc. Cuts through some awesome scenery along the Lake Superior shoreline on the way to the Pictured Rocks area. The North Country Trail association has its own website as well - they're headquartered in Lowell, MI.

Also agree that a road bike / skinny tires would not be ideal on this trail.
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Old 10-09-20, 05:29 AM
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In August I rode from Sleeping Bear Dunes to the Plymouth Canton Area (5 days riding, about 470 miles). I incorporated this route for a chunk of it: https://bikepacking.com/routes/north-country-traverse/ (basically I got on the NCT near Mesick and off the NCT near Newaygo / White Cloud).
I was riding a 30 year old Rockhopper with 26in x 2.3in tires.
If you are in any kind of a hurry, I would NOT use a hybrid style bike. For example, I had one full day on the trail, about 36 miles worth, and I was riding about 6 hours.
The southern portion was a little easier - and by very little - looking at my Ride with GPS data, I seemed to be moving along at about 8mph on the trail. That day was 78 miles that took 8.5 hours.
- It's really important to remember on the NCT that if you think maybe getting off the NCT and taking some dirt roads might save some time, it won't. The roads are deep, loose sand. Really a slow going slog. But a beautiful area!!

If you get a bug in your saddle about incorporating the NCT study the link provided. I can provide you my GPX data and some photos. And you need a water filter with you on the ride. New. Not clogged even a little bit.

I would think going along M22 or something would be nice, smooth, and quicker. There's also a north/south rail trails to the east of the NCT. I've ridden those a little. The trails are mostly pretty. I always get a little depressed in the small run-down towns. Closer to Grand Rapids, lots of nice breweries. which can make for slow going.... like deep sand.....

Tschuss!
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Old 10-12-20, 12:52 AM
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Good point on the roads in that area...I rode around Baldwin in the summer of ‘15 while on a family vacation, and they were horrific even on a CX bike.
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Old 10-12-20, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
Good point on the roads in that area...I rode around Baldwin in the summer of 15 while on a family vacation, and they were horrific even on a CX bike.
- horrific if you're in any kind of hurry - or the mosquitoes and deer flies are on the hunt!! HA!

otherwise that whole part of lower Michigan is REALLY beautiful. Just deep forest, quiet, rolling "relict" dunes - compared to the typical suburban riding, I will be heading back for more!
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Old 10-12-20, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mrv View Post
- horrific if you're in any kind of hurry - or the mosquitoes and deer flies are on the hunt!! HA!

otherwise that whole part of lower Michigan is REALLY beautiful. Just deep forest, quiet, rolling "relict" dunes - compared to the typical suburban riding, I will be heading back for more!
Absolutely agree. Though my current location isnt too bad, either. A few more years until I retire and move back home...
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Old 10-13-20, 06:15 AM
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Wow! Great Feedback guys, I really appreciate the help.
So I'd like to do less, mountain bike trails and a little more county roads. I got on AAA and ordered up their Michigan Regional Maps (I use them on my motorcycle). I've ridden the Kal-Haven and several Rails-To-Trails paths. That's what I'm really looking for...small towns, staying away from 131. I didn't realize that some of the trails you are mentioning were so brutal. I'm a bit more Lo-Fi and less an endurance athlete. I'll be 59 next summer when I plan on doing this excursion, I plan on training all winter and spring to be in a position to finish it. If I end up breaking it up over a few weekends, so be it. I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone but myself. I think the Trek FX2 is going to have to be the bike, I'm not looking at investing the cash for a "purpose-built" bike. I will possibly upgrade the wheels (more spokes) the tire width (not sure what options there...)
I'm so glad I found this forum! YOU GUYS ROCK!
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Old 10-14-20, 06:24 PM
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I'd say the advice you've been given is sound.. the North Country Trail is more suited to mountain bikes than gravel grinders (largely running through crop fields), but with a good map program, you should be able to loosely follow it and stay out of the major towns.. and that 92 miles from Comstock Park to Cadillac on the White Pine would be nice..
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Old 10-15-20, 11:45 AM
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I've done it a couple of times. Once on the west coast (nice ride!) and a couple times going north more in the middle of the state.
If you google LMB Shoreline West, or DALMAC, or even Michigander bike tour you can find some great route options. DALMAC sounds like what you want, unless you really want the scenic route. Going along the shoreline, there are going to be some bits along highway 31 you can't really avoid. Still, its a nice ride with lots of nice coastal towns to stay at.

Over the last couple of decades, we have gone ape with rail-trails. for a great trail map of Michigan, see: This is Amazing - MI Managed Non Motorized Trail Map.

Also - check out the Strava heat map. It makes it pretty clear in places like the UP where the bike friendly sections are: https://www.strava.com/heatmap#9.05/...12872/hot/ride
(make sure you are looking at biking and not hiking - otherwise you'll get the NCT)

Good luck, sounds like a great adventure!

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Old 10-15-20, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Shrek On A Trek View Post
I think the Trek FX2 is going to have to be the bike, I'm not looking at investing the cash for a "purpose-built" bike. I will possibly upgrade the wheels (more spokes) the tire width (not sure what options there...)
I'm so glad I found this forum! YOU GUYS ROCK!
Bigger is better. I like 40mm tires for rail/trail. Just eyeballing my bike, it looks like you can put mountain bike tires in there (I'm thinking 50mm should be plenty though). If you have disk brakes, the world is your oyster. If you have rim brakes, it can get tricky getting fat tires inside the brake pads without totally deflating the tire. ISO standard require a 6mm clearance on each side of the tire - if you get too tight the wheel won't spin with broken spokes. That said, I have a wheel with 35 spokes on it now - one is broken. ;-) With a 36 spoke wheel, I can't even tell one is missing. on a 28 spoke wheel, its painfully obvious if one brakes (ugh, one just broke last night!!!).
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Old 10-15-20, 11:59 AM
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That is a big NO on the NCT. That trail is hiking only in the lower peninsula, except for some shorter sections. And, it is brutal with ups and downs, and lots of sand if it gets near the coast. Yeah, its fun for an hour or two (parts of it are quite spectacular). But it is not a touring trail.
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Old 10-15-20, 12:15 PM
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Oh, if you are not in a big hurry - this is probably the most beautiful stretch in the lower Peninsula
View directions from Harbor Springs to Mackinaw City via Good Hart General Store in Google Maps. VIEW IN GOOGLE MAPS

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Old 11-02-20, 04:59 PM
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If you can take the White Pine trail to Cadillac, then it's only a short jog onto the DALMAC route near Lake City. Find some maps from the 5-Day West. Once you get to Petosky, you have two practical choices: M119 Tunnel of Trees, or the shorter but hillier route north out of Harbor Springs - Pleasantview Rd. I can't help much on the U.P. - There aren't many roads that go E/W. My best recommendation would be to take Mackinaw Trail to M123, to M28. US-2 will be highly unpleasant!
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Old 11-05-20, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Shrek On A Trek View Post
I am planning a bike tour of Michigan.
How are your plans going? Still need advice?
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Old 11-05-20, 09:57 AM
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Still progressing, it's a long process.
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Old 12-10-20, 02:02 PM
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After I think about this, you are probably better off starting in Niles, coming up M140 to Watervliet, getting on Van Buren Trail to South Haven, then east on KalHaven to KRVT to Kalamazoo, then turning north up Douglas Ave. That goes all the way to Grand Rapids, where it become Division Ave. Make your way through the north end of downtown out to 5/3 Ballpark (Comstock Park.. I think there is a bike route through the NW corner of the city that will cross the river), and you can get on the White Pine there.
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Old 12-10-20, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Shrek On A Trek View Post
Still progressing, it's a long process.
Im thinking about a spring trek - Amtrak out of Ann Arbor and getting off after Kzoo. Michigan City? New Buffalo? Not sure.
Maybe camp at Warren Dunes the first night. Then start heading north and back east.
Let me know if youre up for the challenge of incorporating another rider for part of your trek.

cheers
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Old 12-11-20, 10:25 AM
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WOW, that is a BIG plan. I'd check with TREK on the suitability of, or prepping of your FX. I'm guessing you have upgraded from your FX 1 to a recent, or current FX 2 which comes with 35mm tires. That's pretty good, -better that the 28s on my relatively-comparable Sirrus hybrid, but not as big as what is or might be suggested here. You want to check what you can use, especially if you have or will have fenders and/or a carrier. Enjoy your planning and best wishes onward.
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Old 02-04-21, 02:11 PM
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Michigan Off-Road Expedition

Originally Posted by Shrek On A Trek View Post
Still progressing, it's a long process.
Have you considered or seen the MORE route designed by Matt Acker? Almost 1100 miles that starts at the border of Indiana and takes you over to the Porcupines. He put alot of details into the website/route. I am going to segment this over the next couple of years. I'll paste the link. The route tries to stay off main roads as much as possible, hence the name, and hits up quite a bit of single track.


https://www.michiganoffroadexpedition.com
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Old 02-06-21, 02:26 PM
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The MORE might be a bit more then the OP was thinking about.

While not a rail trail, you might want to think about riding up the coast of the lake on USBR 35 (The red line along the lake in this map https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=8...6.045&layers=C)

It's part of my current planning for a MI trip
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Old 02-09-21, 01:29 PM
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Once you get to Petoski, there is always our routes with use for our Brevets.
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/26937713
There is a 2 mile, miserable, sandy stretch. But the rest is OK.
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