traverse city

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.

The Top Secret Tip To Avoiding Summer Construction? A Bike.

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Summer construction is coming. Be ready.

Traverse City’s roads are getting a much-needed remake over the next few months, and it’s going to cause some headaches. First up is a complete closure of Eighth Street, now slated to start in mid-May. That means the project will be underway for Memorial Day Weekend, the Cherry Festival, and possibly the TC Film Fest as well. As a major cross-town artery, it’s going to push cars onto the Grandview Parkway and all sort of side streets just as we greet tens of thousands of additional tourists and seasonal residents.

This summer is the perfect chance to commit to the commute. Whenever possible, park the car and get around by bike! A backpack and a lock is really all you need, but we have found that using a dedicated commuter bike makes getting around easier. There are a few things to consider when either adapting your current bike to town duty, or for picking out something new.

Fenders. If you’re committed to parking the car, you’re going to find yourself riding in light rain or on wet roads plenty of times this spring. Fenders are a simply way to show up to work dry, and as a relatively inexpensive accessory, they’re a no brainer for most riders. When possible, buy a bike that comes with fenders; they’re already installed typically built into the price to save you a little money, and you KNOW they fit perfectly.

Racks. Especially once the temperatures get really warm, having a rear rack for books, computers, even a quick stop at the grocery store makes life easy. You’ll be able to decide between panniers, bags that sit on either side of your rear wheel on a rear rack, or a bag that will sit on top of your rear tire. Consider what you would like to carry every day, but also what sorts of errands you usually run on the way home from work. Panniers are often enough for stopping at the store for staples, especially if you have bags on both sides.

Lights. These days, even the racer-types ride with daytime blinking lights for getting around the roads a bit more safely. If you’re making the dash across town, investing in a set of lights will help you be seen by hurried, harried motorists. We recommend riding with a rear light at all times, ideally set to blink rapidly to draw drivers’ attention. It’s the most simple thing you can do to be a few degrees safer besides wearing a helmet.

Lock. You need one. While we’re lucky to live in a place with low bike theft issues, if someone sees a bike unlocked, they will take it. Defeat the opportunist’s theft by using a combination lock that runs through the frame. If you’re locking up for a long time, every day, it may also be worth adding a U-lock for a bit more security.

Giant and LIV offer a number of commuter and fitness bikes that are relatively inexpensive to buy and maintain, which means you can leave your race rig safe in the garage where it won’t fall victim to crime or be exposed to the elements. Stop by to see the Giant Escape City and LIV Alight 2 City.

Skip the stress, the stopped traffic, and the wasted time and build a little extra physical activity into your day! Stop by and see what’s new at City Bike Shop.