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Packed with funny stories, cycling tips, history and dining recommendations, Biking Northern Michigan will have you ready to ride one of the top cycling destinations in the world.
The book includes more than 35 bike routes and 56 maps and illustrations in and around Traverse City, Petoskey and the Mackinac Straits in northwestern lower Michigan.
When it comes to cycling, Michigan is at or near the top of the list in America with 109 rail-trail conversions totaling 1,311 miles.
Blessed with an abundance of rail trails and quiet cycling routes, Northern Michigan is also rich with forests, wildlife, beaches, lakes, quiet roads and some of the state's best cuisine, wineries and brewpubs.
Veteran cyclist and traveler Bob Downes guides you down the region's 'best and safest bike' routes, including:
Getting the most out of Traverse City's TART Trail system and Petoskey's Wheelway Trail.
Epic rides to the Mackinac Straits from Gaylord, Harbor Springs and Alpena.
Beaver Island and Mackinac Island. The backroads of Benzie and Leelanau counties.
The best rides around the big inland lakes: Crystal Lake, Glen Lake, Torch Lake, Walloon Lake, Lake Charlevoix and much more!
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
I love cycling and have had the pleasure of biking in Peru, China, Croatia, Tuscany, Spain, the Pacific Northwest, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Ireland, England and more than 1,000 miles across continental Europe. But mile-for-mile nothing beats Northern Michigan as the best bicycling destination in the world.
We've got it all -- more than 1,000 miles of scenic trails and quiet roads, artsty & fun beach towns, lovely lakes & forests and a superb dining scene -- but even better -- a safe cycling experience that will have you loving life on two wheels.
I've personally ridden every route in "Biking Northern Michigan," some of them hundreds of times, going back to my days as a triathlete cycling 50-100 miles every weekend. Only routes that I've certified as safe as well as interesting and fun have been included inBiking Northern Michigan.
Robert Downes is also the author of "Planet Backpacker" and "Travels With My Wife," both about backpacking around the world.Review:
NEW BIKING BOOK For Road And Rail-to-Trail Cyclists by Mike Terrell - July 14th, 2014 Northern Express Weekly
Did you know Michigan is second in the nation for rail-to-trail conversions in the nation, and that we here in northern Michigan host the largest single day mountain biking event in North America (The Ice Man)?
Much has been written about mountain biking opportunities in both books and news articles in recent years, but there hasn t been much for road cyclists detailing places to ride and new opportunities.
That is until now.
Robert Downes new book, Biking Northern Michigan, details 30 well researched rides across the northern Lower Peninsula that accommodates a variety of bikes. Each ride recommends the type of bike best suited for the ride. Some of the rail-to-trail rides are best suited for hybrids, cruisers and mountain bikes. Eighteen of the rides are on back roads, often between villages or circling around lakes. The rest are rail-to-trail rides and one island, which is Beaver Island, mostly sandy, dirt roads, where you will need a hybrid or mountain bike. The route between Traverse City and Kalkaska follows the Ice Man and a spur of the North Country Trail. You will definitely need a mountain bike.
Downes, who has ridden all over the world and put thousands of miles on his bike in northern Michigan alone, offers not only great maps and descriptions of the rides, but also includes lists of essential gear and a long dialogue about safety issues. Most of it is commonsense garnered through years of riding, but worth noting.
Each ride is accompanied by a well detailed map, which in the case of the TART Trail even includes dangerous intersections to be aware of. Many of the maps include alter native routes to higher traffic routes. Both routes are included on the maps with detailed descriptions in the text.
Each ride includes a quick synopsis including the distance and whether one way or round trip; a recommendation of the types of bikes best suited for the trip; the essentials that detail certain things you need for that ride and potential problems to watch out for along the way; traffic, is it heavy, light or none at all; and difficulty, is it easy, semitough or hard, and challenges.
Ride descriptions include not only the route, but lots of interesting highlights of things you ll see along the route; historical sites, special developments, places to find a great burger and beer, ice cream, great view points and scenic picnic locations.
Although the book is not geared towards mountain biking Downes does offer some big tire options listing nine mountain bike treks in northern Lower Michigan with just a brief description on each one and where it s located. No maps.
For planning a trip or just looking for a new area to ride in our northern region of the state this book offers the rider who likes roads and rail-to-trails a good selection of choices packed with information. --Northern Express Weekly
GREATEST BIKE RIDES IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN
By Ellen Creager, Detroit Free Press
Bicycling in northern Michigan sounds relaxing, and it is if you take the scenic route.
"Biking Northern Michigan: The Best & Safest Routes in the Lower Peninsula" by Robert Downes (Wandering Press, $13.95) has 35 cycling routes geared to recreational and avid cyclists. The routes keep you off major highways and route you onto back roads and non-motorized trails, where you can enjoy the ride instead of worrying about safety.
Each ride has a map and description of length, difficulty, places to stop and rider tips. From the well-known family-style Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail to a 58-mile sojourn around Torch Lake, it all looks like wheeled fun. This book is a good addition to your Up North cottage library. --Detroit Free Press
Traverse City author gives tips for exploring Northern Michigan by bicycle
By BILL CASTANIER
Robert Downes, author of Biking Northern Michigan, had two requirements for the more than 35 bike routes he details in his book.
They had to be safe and scenic, he said in a phone conversation from his Traverse City-area home.
Out of the many bicycling routes Downes writes about, he said that the M-22 Frankfort to Glen Arbor tour and the Glen Lake tour are a couple of his favorites.
The M-22 route is a little over 30 miles one way. He said the route has a wide bike path, and its course takes you through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to Glen Arbor.
The Sleeping Bear route alone counted 350,000 cycling trips last year, and it s estimated that tens of thousands of bicyclists head (to Northern Michigan) each year for a biking adventure, he said.
The Glen Lake tour, which is 17 miles long, circumnavigates both Big and Little Glen Lakes. Glen Lake, he writes, Like Torch Lake to the northeast, claims the sobriquet of being one of the top 10 most beautiful lakes in the world.
He writes that along the way there are spectacular views of the lakes, Manitou Island and Alligator Hill. (Who knew Michigan had alligators?)
Hemingway buffs will enjoy the 43-mile tour around Walloon Lake. This route takes you through the center of Hemingway country, with stops at Horton Bay, Bay Harbor, Petoskey, Walloon Lake and Boyne City. A stop at Petoskey s Little Traverse Historical Museum is a must for Hemingway fans.
Downes doesn t just send you out without directions; each tour is accompanied with easy to read maps and written instructions. He is also quick to suggest dining places where hungry bicyclists can refuel.
The author also takes you to two of Michigan s most popular islands: Beaver and Mackinac. Mackinac Island s flat, eightmile course around the island is scenic and great for families with young children. For those more adventurous, head up the steep climbs to the center of the island where the views are incredible.
The Beaver Island tour comes with a caution: Beware of poor road conditions. The Beaver Island and Mackinac Island trips both require a ferry crossing. Historic Mackinac Island, of course, has absolutely zero automobile traffic, and Beaver Island traffic is extremely light. You are more likely to see a deer than a car on Beaver Island.
Downes cycling experience began more than 30 years ago, when he began training for triathlons. Even though he has logged innumerable miles on bikes across the world, he still prefers Northern Michigan for his cycling. Most of the cycling has been uneventful, he said, except for a time he writes about in the book when he rolled up on a brown bear 30 yards away. (By the way, the bear sighting was not in Michigan.)
He writes that Michigan arguably holds the title of America s Trail State, citing figures about rail-to- trail conversions and noting that Michigan is one of only two states to require funding for non-motorized transportation.
The book is well written and filled with humorous asides, reflecting Downes previous career as editor, co-publisher and founder of Traverse City s Northern Express weekly newspaper.
In addition to the beautiful rides around Michigan s largest inland lakes, Downes has several rides which he classifies as epic.
One is the Tunnel of Trees, which stretches from Petoskey to Good Hart to Cross Village and dead-ends in Mackinaw City, some 51 miles from the start.
In the food suggestions for this route, he recommends a stop at the historic Legs Inn in Cro --City Pulse, Lansing
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