Friday, July 1, 2016

Bicycle Trips for Dummies

I like multiple day bicycle trips. I'm not crazy about the planning and the logistics that go along with them. I am having trouble finding a site that lists routes with sufficient detail that I can just plagiarize and call my own. Since I am figuring out the trips myself, I thought I would share them here for other cyclist to consider. If I do it right, I will find routes with good roads, excellent food, acceptable accommodations, craft beer, and other necessities. I hope you find it useful. Here is some background:

Sue and I are at a weird age. We are old enough where my daughters are driving and pretty much self sufficient but we are (way) too young to receive the AARP membership applications they keep sending us.  Too old for racing crits but too young to go on organized tours with retired Primal Wear clad cyclist and their silly helmet mirrors. We have tried organized tours but they don't feel right. I like having everything planned out so I need to think very little but the accommodations are, eh, food is just acceptable, and the ride is a little too structured. Maybe we are a little introverted too so the mass ride experience is fine but not what we are looking for.

We started doing self-supported trips and are having a hoot. Last year we rode from Grand Rapids to Traverse City, first along the White Pine (mainly two track) rails to trail then guessing which roads to take from Cadillac to Traverse City. The year before that we rode part of Bicycle Route 35 along the West side of Michigan from South of Frankfort to North of Petoskey. We like to use our cross bikes so we don't have to stick to paved roads. We have tried carrying supplies a few different ways but found a Yakima single wheeled trailer works best. Camping is out of the question because I am lazy and good food is a must because we like good food. 70 to 100 miles a day seems about right.

Next week we are going on a 4 day bike trip. It isn't planned yet. We wanted to do an epic ride. We considered doing the San Juan hut to hut trip on our mountain bikes. It looks awesome but this spring we decided it was a little too epic. It is still firmly on my bucket list.

Then we made less ambitious but still somewhat cool arrangements to ride the Greenbrier trail in West Virginia, starting at the Elk River Touring Center. I did a very cool guided mountain bike ride supported by them back in the 90's; I still think about it.  Then last week West Virginia had a once in a thousand year flood. I am cancelling our accommodations this afternoon.

Yesterday I started making an even less ambitious plan to ride Michigan Route 10 across the upper peninsula but I need more than a few days to figure it out. It wasn't clear where we were going to stay (nothing on Airbnb). The U.P. is remote. A ride like this should be planned with at least a little effort.  I tend to shoot from the hip as far as planning goes.

Today I am going to come up with a less ambitious plan yet to ride from Traverse City North East towards Sault Ste Marie or South West to Ludington.

To be continued...

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