Trails

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.

Gear Up For The Traverse City Trails Festival on July 20!

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We’re a bit partial to the woods. With so many incredible trails, awesome events, and wonderful people to ride with, being a mountain biker in Traverse City is kind of a no-brainer.

We have a lot of people to thank for all those trails and races, but Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association deserves a lot of the credit for giving us so many great places to ride. For over a decade, NMMBA has led the way as our local trail stewards, advocates, and now, race promoters with the third edition of the Traverse City Trails Festival presented by Short’s Brewing.

The TCTF is a special event for a number of reasons. First, it’s the biggest fundraiser of the year for NMMBA, a vital way to support their trail efforts across the region. It also offers rider a chance to ride up to 40 miles of unmarked trails; for 364 days of the year, this singletrack has no signage due to DNR regulations. Just one day a year, you can explore the trails with arrows and a group of friends! And that’s another plus; in addition to 40, 25, and 15 mile races, you can also opt to tour the 25 and 15 mile courses at your own pace with friends, without worrying about competing.

It’s extra special to City Bike Shop because the TCTF is the labor of love of long-time team leader and racer Tom White. Tom has dedicated so many hours of his life to offering others an incredible trail experience. His mountain biking and trail building efforts span over three decades and have served as the basis for nearly every inch of riding we enjoy in Traverse City. His efforts to spearhead the TCTF, on top of his every day trail work, is a massive investment of time and we all owe him a ton. Want to say thanks? It’s as easy as signing up for the TCTF.

This past Saturday, riders took an early look at the 2019 TCTF course, including our own Bryan Warner, John Duby, plus Tom White led the 25 mile ride. The word on the 2019 route is really encouraging. Some of the rougher, newer trails from 2018 are ridden in and much faster, and the way Tom has woven in a great mix of old favorites and new places to ride, like the Strombolis Lake Loop, really make for a fun day in the woods, whether you’re racing, touring, or just rolling around the woods.

To learn more about the TCTF, head here. Make sure you get signed up and we’ll see you on Saturday, July 20!

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.