Ride

Our Traverse City Trails Festival Tips

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Ready to race or tour this weekend? After a few big recon rides, we’ve got a few tips to make this Saturday’s Traverse City Trails Festival presented by Short’s Brewing as fun as possible. 

In just its third year, the TCTF has grown into one of the can’t-miss, won’t-miss events of the season. With a wide range of distances and the choice to race or tour, it’s a way to enjoy the trails while you support them! It’s the biggest fundraiser of the year for Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association, which means every race entry goes right back into creating and maintaining a world-class trail experiences in Traverse City and beyond. 

Whether you’re racing or touring, a few things remain the same. After getting out to pre-ride the course a few times, we’ve collected a handful of tips worth considering before Saturday that will make things more fun and, just maybe, a little faster, too. 

Low Ain’t Slow. Nearly every single one of us stopped to lower our tire pressure over the course of one or more of these pre-rides. Seriously. With so much singletrack, traction is vitally important. Not only did dumping a little air help us with more grip, it also did a lot to make some of the roughest sections of trail feel a bit smoother. 

Adjust Your Fork (And Shock). The bike for the day is definitely full suspension, but even if you’re on a hardtail, it’s worth making a few adjustments. If you can hit the woods this week, use the O-ring on your stanchion to see how much of your travel you’re using. The goal should be to use all of it, with the O-ring being pushed all the way up the stanchion to within a few millimeters of the top of the fork leg. If you ride full suspension, do the same on your rear shock, too. If you need help getting set-up, make sure you stop by and ask Nate for some tips and learn how to make smart changes to get the most out of your travel. 

Bring Water (And Snacks). The 25 mile route is a big effort; the 40 miler, even tougher. Bring enough water to stay hydrated and make sure you have a way to get to it. It’s a great race to use a hydration pack so you can quickly take sips in the singletrack without having to reach for a bottle, ride on handed, and stab the bottle back to the cage in tight turns. The same goes for food. Try to unwrap your gels, bars, and food so you can get to them quickly if you plan on eating on the move. There are a few aid stations, but it’s always smart to plan on being self-sufficient, just in case. Plan on one bottle of water per hour of riding, and try to eat between 40 and 60 grams of carbs per hour as well. Race day isn’t a good time to experiment, so stick to drinks and snacks you’ve had before. 

Look At The Map. Try to identify specific sections of trail to use as landmarks throughout the race. Use wider sections to eat and drink; parts of the Muncie Lake Pathway, Vasa Pathway, and some more open singletrack are the best spots to fuel up. Use mile markers or familiar sections of traill as reminders to eat or drink, check in on how you’re feeling, and see how far into the race you are. NMMBA has route files that you can upload to a Wahoo Elmnt or Garmin Forerunner right here.

Online registration closes Wednesday night, and you can save yourself $10 by getting signed up.

We’ll see you at Ranch Rudolf Saturday for one of the most enjoyable days of the summer!

The Perfect Cycling Weekend In Northern Michigan....

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The ultimate cycling weekend in Northern Michigan is coming up quick! 

This July, there’s one weekend that offers riders of all abilities a chance to get out and experience the diverse offerings for cyclists in our region. On July 19, 20, and 21, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to amazing cycling events. 

It all starts on Friday with the Tour de TART. It’s one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for Traverse Area Recreational Trails, an organization that’s dedicated to offering paved rail-to-trail routes, advocate for non-motorized transportation, and get moving! The ride is a one-way, 17 mile adventure along the Leelanau Trail. Make the most of the numerous food stops, meet new friends, and stick around for a treat at the end before getting a ride home. Proceeds go to support TART programs and projects like the proposed trail to Elk Rapids. 

Save a little something for Saturday, though. Saturday cranks that adventure up to eleven with the Traverse City Trails Festival presented by Short’s Brewing. As we’ve mentioned, it’s a really unique event that offers 40, 25, and 15 mile race routes, as well as the option to tour the 25 and 15 mile courses at your own pace with all your friends. All proceeds go to Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association to support their mission to build, maintain, and protect mountain bike trails across the region. The 40 and 25 mile routes utilize miles of unmarked trails; this is the only day of the year you’ll find them marked and easy to follow! Add new singletrack to your repertoire the rest of the year by learning it on July 20! 

If you can’t make it Saturday or if you’re looking for a fun ride to spin out the legs. Sunday is the Cherry Capital Cycling Club’s Ride Around Torch, one of the most beautiful rides on the Midwest. Take in views of Torch Lake and choose from 20, 40, 60, and 100 mile distances and don’t ride past those food stations; if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you won’t want to pedal by! The ride offers a great mix of flat roads on the 20, 40, and 60 mile routes, with the 100 mile option tying in a few fun climbs to the north and east of Torch Lake. 


Do one, do two, or tackle all three rides and make experience the full menu of riding we have to enjoy here in Northern Michigan. Each event supports programs that help our cycling community thrive, and we all benefit from these organization’s hardwork.

2019 Bike Benzie: A Can't Miss Tour (Or Race!) In Northern Michigan

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There are plenty of events that pop up throughout the summer, but Bike Benzie is one we never miss.

Northern Michigan is home to an endless calendar of fun races and rides. It’s tough to find a weekend without at least one or two really unique events on the agenda, so much so that it’s hard to choose which ones to to hit. One we always show up for is a small little race and tour that gives us a chance to enjoy the roads of Benzie County and the lake shore, plus ample slices of pie. It’s nearly June, and that means it’s Bike Benzie time!

Bike Benzie is a fundraiser for the Benzie Sunrise Rotary. Over the years, the ride has shifted shapes to meet the interests of riders from all over the region. It’s current form offers a little something for everyone; there’s a 100 mile tour, 62 mile tour, 62 mile race, 62 mile team time trial, plus a 30 mile tour to get newer riders out for a stroll. The start and finish at Crystal Mountain Resort puts all over those routes onto some beautiful, low-traffic roads that even locals just don’t get a chance to ride nearly as much as we’d like.

Those 62 mile events are the real favorite. While a lot of riders head on to enjoy a 62 mile tour, there are two chances to get a little competitive, too. The 62 mile race is a grand fondo-type mass start event that suits riders who want to go hard. The team time trial offers teams a unique chance to combine four-man and three-woman teams to take on the same 62 mile course.

No matter if you race or ride, everyone gets a delicious meal once back at Crystal Mountain, complete with live music, plenty of pie and cookies, and a very friendly group of people to relive the action of the day with! With so many great food stops, make sure you leave room for after; they’re going to try to feed you as much as they can!

For more on the Bike Benzie, and all the good work the Benzie Sunrise Rotary does for the community, head here. Online registration ends May 30 at 8 pm, so get you and your pals signed up!

"Silly Ka-Neg-Its" :: City Bike Shop's Wild Wednesday Knights

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"Silly Ka-Neg-Its".

City Bike Shop is certainly a cast of characters, and there’s no better example of that than our Wednesday night team rides. Sometimes on the road, often on the trails, occasionally on the gravel; the rides are decided on a whim and decidedly whimsical. They are always fun. Sometimes, we share Captain Bradferd’s recaps here on the blog, and this one is a can’t miss. Don’t know who he’s talking about? It hardly matters.

"Beware ye that show up to a Joust with a pen knife."  Searching for the West Side Grail required the right bike as was evident when guest leader Tim the Enchanter arrived sitting atop his mountain bike. In fact all Mud Lake residents arrived on them. The quest started out civil enough , at least terrain wise, with a mixture of actual gravel and pave. However, shoot outs began early as Pac Man Jr flexed his muscle on the first climb. Throughout the knight, Pac Man Jr rained hell on all-comers much like Sir Lancelot . Charges were made by Vlad the Impaler ( formerly Vicenzo ), the Dead Pirate , The Admiral, Deano ,Contador, and Tim the Enchanter. Not far off the back, tapping out a steady Tempo, was Cindy Lou Who  and off in the distance Roy silently pulled Steve O and Jeff "Rube" Hall back to the quest Caravan. Speaking of Rube he was no  brave Sir Robin as he suffered intensely throughout the quest.

For approximately 30 miles Tim the Enchanter led flyers, throwing one mile gaps within two mile distances. The logging road from Hell known as " Bad Naughty Zuet" took a serious toll as experienced sand master Steve O was forced to throw it in into a 130 rpm spin at the start. The Admiral was able to throw a flyer in at the end of Bad Naughty Zuet however his valiant effort was thwarted by a neutralized peloton.  The final shoot outs were initiated by Tim the Enchanter; however Jr Pac Man bridged huge gaps to lay siege on the rest of we Ka-Neg-Its. As most of the Ka-Neg-Its laid over at Camelot de Duby for grog, Contador , Rube and Insano made their  way through the forest of 'Ni" as twilight settled in. As fate would have it Rube decided to take his own route back to the lot as we crossed the Spillway of the Black knight and ended up making a horrid Sandy* trip back,,,, one more pineapple for the road.

So Here you go the best Quest players. Special thanks to Tim the Enchanter for kicking our coconuts.

Sadistic Rider-                          Tim the Enchanter  Llama

Masochistic Rider-                    Rube Hall  Llama

High RPM in Sand-                   Steve O  Llama

Team Player-                             Roy  Llama

Agitator-                                    The Admiral  Llama ( a trend is a foot)

Chase Group-                           Dead Pirate  Llama and Deano Llama

White Jersey-                            Contador  Llama

Best Mt Biker-                           Cindy Lou Who Llama

Best Sr Rider-                           Vlad the Impaler Llama

Best Rider-                                Jr. Pack Man  Llama

Backyard Bucket List: Three Places You Need To Ride in Northern Michigan

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It’s finally starting to feel like spring, and with warm temps and superb trail conditions, we’ve got three places you need to ride….and soon!

One of the best parts about riding in northern Michigan is that there’s always someplace new to roll. All over the region, both new trails and old favorites are always improving, adding mileage, and offering new experiences to locals and visitors alike. We’re spoiled, and all these opportunities come thanks to organizations like Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association, Leelanau Conservancy, and Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. We’ve picked one trail from each for you to put your northern Michigan bucket list.

Glacial Hills. NMMBA, the GTRLC, and Antrim County have turned Glacial Hills from a neat network of trail into the destination trail it seemed almost fated to become. Professionally designed and machine built, Glacial Hills offered the region its first glimpse of a unique blend of natural and flow trail. Using the natural terrain of Antrim County, just outside of Bellaire, and retaining the wild, beautiful views, Glacial Hills draw thousands of riders north each and every season. The trail is in peak bloom through May, with a wide array of wildflowers lighting up the trail side.

Open to bikes, hikers, and runners, the trail boasts one of the most dedicated trail crews around. Nearly two dozen volunteers take care of the trail on a bi-weekly basis, responding to downed trees within a few hours, and offering a manicured place to shred no matter what. There are three trailheads to choose from, and you’re going to want to stop by and support one of the trails biggest advocates, Short’s Brewing, after the ride.

Palmer Woods. For years, there just weren’t many trail opportunities in Leelanau County. With the footpaths at the Leelanau State Park off limits, most riders stuck to hot lap at 45 North Winery’s 3 mile trail. All that changed with the addition of Palmer Woods. The Leelanau Conservancy unveiled the first phase last fall, with all machine-built trails, rock gardens, drops, and plenty of beginner-friendly lines as well. It’s a place where riders learn new skills with a massive smile on their faces, and a great way to work a bike ride into your trip to Glen Arbor, the Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore, Leeland, all points north.

Arcadia Dunes. This is really the crown jewel in the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy’s growing collection. Arcadia has been compared to Glacial Hills, and vice versa, thanks to the flowing, ribbon-like quality of both networks. Perhaps Arcadia in particular, it’s the sort of trail that sends riders up over 1,000 feet of elevation 11 mile lap, but you’re never really quite sure where or how, because it never felt that hard. Like Glacial, the Arcadia is awash with wildflowers through May and often into June. It’s also a wonderful place to simple slow down and enjoy the trails. If you come to a stop, you’ll be surrounded by peace and quiet, with the trail often completely to yourself!

Arcadia is also just across the road from Lake Michigan. Take a second after your ride to peek over the bluffs and enjoy some incredible views, and perhaps even catch sight of a freighter or two!

Looking for more places to ride…and a bike to ride them with? Stop by City Bike Shop and we’ll point you in the right direction for the perfect road or trail.