The Michigander Bicycle Tour, put on by the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, is in its 20th year, with the 2011 event taking place from July 16th through the 22nd. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure travels along the back roads and trails of picturesque western Michigan. The two-day option is perfect for families and beginners who want to get their feet wet in the world of Michigan biking. There is also a week-long tour for those wishing to extend their fun, while challenging themselves in the process.
The featured trails on the tour this year are Lakeshore Trail, Lakeside Trail, Musketawa Trail, Fred Meijer White Pine Trail, Grand River Valley Trail, Portland River Trail, Paul Henry Thornapple Trail and the Kal-Haven State Park Trail. This is Michigan biking at its finest. The days will range from 35 to 55 miles, allowing for ample time to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the countryside. The course in entirely paved for typical road bikes, but there are also opportunities for hard-core riders to test their skills on their mountain or hybrid bikes.
This event is suitable for people of all ages, but it will take a little preparation if you plan to participate in the week-long tour. Prior to the event, riders should build up endurance and stamina, by putting in as many saddle hours as they can. This usually equates to one extensive ride each week, accompanied by many shorter ones. A long ride should be about two hours in the beginning, and working up to four or five as the event nears.
Any hybrid, mountain or road bike is acceptable, as long as it is in working order. An approved helmet must also be worn by riders at all times.
Camping facilities with showers will be provided, with riders having to furnish their own sleeping bag and tent. Hotel arrangements can be made if so desired, but should be reserved well in advance.
General food is provided at breakfast and dinner, with vegetarian options available through an option in the application process. Riders are responsible for their own lunch, and it is available in many towns along the route.
Biker’s gear will travel from each overnight stop by baggage truck. Riders are encouraged to carry only emergency information and personal items as they ride.
The deadline for registration forms to be received is July 8, 2011, and they can be accessed here.