Our Favorites: 5 Road-Ride Cycling Routes

Nothing is quite like a breezy bike ride on a sunny day. To make it easier for you to get out and pedal Northern Michigan, we gathered ride recommendations from five local cyclists. Enjoy.

Lake Shore Drive, Harbor Springs

Shore Drive (M119) follows the coast of Little Traverse Bay from Harbor Springs to Cross Village and beyond, and makes a beautifully scenic ride. Twenty miles of hilly road separate the two towns, most of it wooded. Try Leg’s Inn in Cross Village for lunch, though the hearty servings may make it hard to get back on the bike afterward. If the hills are too much for you, avoid the worst of them by starting about six miles north of Harbor Springs on Shore Drive before heading up to Cross Village. There are plenty of places on the side of the road to pull off and leave a vehicle.
—Recommendation by Gary Hunter, manager, Bahnhof Sport, Petoskey. 231-347-1040. bahnhof.com.

Old Mission Point Lighthouse

This is a Cherry Capital Cycling Club favorite. Park at Traverse City Central High School (1150 Milliken Drive) and ride north along the east side of Old Mission Peninsula. Enjoy the  views and light traffic as you ride, and make a stop at the Peninsula Market on M-37, about 12 miles into the ride, for some refreshment. Your destination is the park and lighthouse at the north end of the peninsula. After you’re done soaking up the scenery, turn around and start down the west side to complete this 40-mile ride.
—Recommendation by Jason Whittaker, manager, McLain Cycle and Fitness, Traverse City. 231-941-4868, mclaincycle.com.

Glen Lakes

Start your ride at the junction of M-22 and M-109 in downtown Glen Arbor. Follow M-109 west and then south to Welch Rd and turn left. Follow Welch to M-22/C-616 and turn left. Stay on M-22/C-616 to W. McFarlane (C-616) and turn right. W. McFarlane eventually becomes Dunns Farm Rd.; stay on it as you head north along the east side of Glen Lake. When you T into M-22, turn left and head back into Glen Arbor, where you began. The total distance is slightly less than 20 miles. Afterward, take in a beer, a chicken burrito and the atmosphere at Art’s Tavern in Glen Arbor.
—Recommendation by Phil Lang, technician, City Bike Shop, Traverse City. 231-947-1312, citybikeshop.com.

East Torch Lake Drive

This is an easy, scenic ride along Torch Lake, one of the area’s most beautiful lakes. Park at the Eastport Baptist Church, at the north end of Torch Lake, and ride south on East Torch Lake Drive (just off M-88). The small, quiet road makes for a relaxing ride through the cottages that line the east side of the lake. The road is smooth and the terrain flat, so it’s not difficult to maintain speed. Ride about 17 miles to Alden, and break there for coffee and a muffin at one of the local bakeries. When you’re rested enough, start the return trip.
—Recommendation by Ed Wagar, owner, Touring Gear, Harbor Springs. 231-526-7152, touringgearbicycles.com.

Harbor Springs to Mackinaw City Loop

This ride is not for the faint-of-heart cyclist, but if you can handle over 70 miles of riding, it is well worth the effort. The loop begins and ends just outside Harbor Springs, and runs through the center of Emmet County on the way to Mackinaw City and along the Lake Michigan shoreline on the way back. North of Harbor Springs, take Stutsmanville Road east, Pleasantview Road north, Gill Road east, Paradise Trail east and finally Mackinac Highway north into Mackinaw City. Take the opportunity to ride some difficult hills and take in all the area has to offer. For the return trip, Gill Road runs west all the way to M-119, which you will take you south, back to Harbor Springs.—Recommendation by Bill Prall, realtor, Harbor Springs.

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