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Weekend Bike Trip

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Weekend Bike Trip

Post by RoadKillBill on Mon May 06, 2013 5:23 am

My wife and I took a bike tour this weekend. I had been intrigued by a rail trail on the west side of Michigan that runs from Grand Rapids north to Cadillac, a little over 90 miles. Our GF Rachel gave us advice on where to abandon the car near the southern end of the trail. The plan was to ride about 60% of the way to Cadillac, then turn around and spend Saturday night in Big Rapids, ride back on Sunday and then explore a bit of Grand Rapids. An informational web site described a mix of pavement and packed earth, and made the statement “Riders with hybrid and mountain bikes will find the entire trail very enjoyable.” You can always trust the Internet, right? I imagined something like the Ohio Towpath or the Kal-Haven trail. The paved section of the trail was very nice, and very scenic in many places, as the trail paralleled a river. The 30 unpaved miles covered on the way to Big Rapids were pretty tough – loose, sandy soil torn up by horses, occasional standing water and original rail ballast made for a pretty challenging ride with hybrid tires, and we struggled with poor traction and fish-tailing. That was tiring physically and mentally, and although pavement resumed in Big Rapids (I’m not sure for how long), we only rode a couple of additional miles before deciding to turn around. A very late lunch in Big Rapids brought us back to life, and we spent the rest of the afternoon cruising BR and exploring the Ferris State U campus and the very nice riverside parks. Our motel had a computer in the lobby, so I could use Google Maps to determine a road route on the way back. We didn’t know how bike-friendly the road route would be, so we left at first light on Sunday morning and started aggressively riding (well, aggressive for an elderly heart patient on a loaded bike) while we could expect traffic to be light. We enjoyed the rural scenery and covered the 30 miles to the paved trail pretty quickly, then rode past our parking spot into Grand Rapids (what a nice city!) where we did some exploring to finish up the day. Weather was spectacular, and we enjoyed the magical time of spring when everything seems to get greener by the hour. After several years of spending our free time “training,” we are really enjoying bike touring.

Posts : 319
Join date : 2013-04-04

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Re: Weekend Bike Trip

Post by Dave Tuttle on Mon May 06, 2013 6:06 pm

Sounds like a really nice way to spend a weekend Bill. You two amaze me with the mileage you cover... I'm looking forward to spending some time biking and paddling with you in June. My legs will handle the miles OK, I just hope my butt is up to it affraid

4X CABG Feb 17, 1999 at 46 years.
Dave Tuttle

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Join date : 2013-04-01
Location : Western New York State

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Re: Weekend Bike Trip

Post by Rachel August on Tue May 07, 2013 10:48 am

Glad that you two got a chance to enjoy GR!!!

As I mentioned before, we've ridden on and walked part of that trail before - but not as far as you went (we're not big cyclists)- I had no idea that it was so bad! I'm glad you found an alternative route back!

OHS - July 15, 2011
Aortic Valve Replacement (Edwards 3300TFX) and Ascending Aortic Aneurysm Repair
Rachel August

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Join date : 2013-04-15

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Re: Weekend Bike Trip

Post by kcy1998 on Tue May 07, 2013 7:22 pm

It sounds like an experience. I will keep my bike to the road.


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Re: Weekend Bike Trip

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