5 Quiet routes for road cycling in Northern Michigan

We checked in with some of Northern Michigan’s favorite cyclists to get their recommendations for scenic, low-traffic backroad cycling routes in the Northwest Lower P. Here’s what they shared.

1. Harbor Springs: A not-too-tough 42-mile loop in the terrain north of Harbor Springs. Route recommendation courtesy Ed Wager, Touring Gear bike shop, Harbor Springs.

Start downtown in the heart of Harbor Springs for this quaint road ride. Head north on State Road, make a right on Stutsmanville Road. Then turn left on South Larks Lake Road, right onto East Robinson Road, left on North Larks Lake Road, which turns into Van Road and continues back on as North Larks Lake road. Take that to West Levering road, which leads you right into one of the oldest settlements in Michigan, Cross Village. Enjoy this smooth, easy ride, which traces about 42 miles of pure, country road bliss. Stop at Touring Gear before your travels and rent a bike for $30 to $40 per day. Pick up a Touring Gear map of this ride and other secret trail tips courtesy of owner Ed Wager. 231-526-7152, www.touringgearbicycles.com.

2. Cadillac: A route traveling 39 miles through fresh Up North countryside north and west of Cadillac. Route recommendation courtesy Bob McLain, McLain Cycle.

For plush landscape that will take your breath away, begin in downtown Cadillac and head north on 131 a couple of (busy, but brief) miles  to Boon Road. Head west on Boon. Travel to the village of Harrietta. Explore the storefronts on the main street, or simply relax in the area’s serene beauty, then retrace the route. If 39 miles isn’t long enough, continue heading south from Henrietta toward Caberfae Ski Resort. A great place to start your trip is McLain Cycle, where you can rent a road bike, comfort bike or mountain bike from $10 to $40 per day (check out their other location in Traverse City). 231-775-6161, mclaincycle.com.

3. Traverse City: A 30-mile loop from Traverse City to Maple City and back. A favorite route of TC’s homegrown cyclists. Another route recommendation courtesy Bob McLain, McLain Cycle.

For a route known for its picturesque beauty, try traveling from downtown Traverse City to Maple City and back to TC. Experience rolling hills and a canopy of trees along the way. From the corner of M-22/M-72 at West Bay, Head north on M-22 to Grand View Road and turn left. Follow Grand View to Hoxie road, which turns into 616. Take 616 right into Cedar and follow it west (left at the blinker light in downtown Cedar) into Maple City. From Maple City, retrace this beautiful route. Twisty roads and a few big climbs make this one a must for performance riders.

4. Boyne City: Expect to work on this short-but-sweet route tracing the hills outside Boyne City. Route recommendation courtesy John McClorey, Bike Fix Cycling Center.

From downtown Boyne City, head east on State Street and make a left at Park. Turn right at Wildwood Harbor Road, which turns into Shadow Trails. Take that to South Shore and follow the lake to Washburn, turn right. You’ll reach Old State Road, which turns into 75, and brings you back into Boyne. Enjoy this 11-mile hilly ride with a beautiful background.  Be sure to make your way into Bike Fix Cycling Center for custom bikes with all the bells and whistles, or without, as the store tailors to individual customer’s needs. 321-582-6622, bikefixcyclingcenter.com.

5. Grayling: A relaxing 25-mile loop east of Grayling—quiet and scenic. Route recommendation courtesy Tim Tubbs, The Bike Shop.

Enjoy a peaceful ride around town as you start on Old U.S. 27 and head north to M-93 (Hartwick Pines Road). Take that up to 612 and turn left. This will take you into Frederic. In Frederic, turn south on Old U.S. 27 and follow it into Grayling. This 25-mile loop offers beautiful tree-lined backroads, quiet farmland and hardwood forest. Check out The Bike Shop, in downtown Grayling, 989-348-6868, www.thebicycleshopmi.com.

More of our favorite rides…

Our Favorites: Mountain Bike Trails

Our Favorites: 5 Road-Ride Cycling Routes

Quick Links to More Fun in the Traverse City region

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