Susan Vigland’s Best 20-Mile Northern Michigan Bike Ride

Traverse City road-bike racer Susan Vigland’s best 20-mile Northern Michigan bike ride is one to add to your list. Vigland, Michigan’s number one road-bike racer and member of the Hagerty Cycling Team, shares her favorite 20-miler starting in Traverse City and heading out into Leelanau County.

Starting in Traverse City, park at one of the trailheads for the Leelanau Trail. Bike Leelanau Trail to Lakeview Road (where the paved trail ends). Turn left (west) onto Lakeview Road. Ride up the hill for one of the best views of Lake Leelanau in the county. Especially striking at sunset. Continue north along the east side of Lake Leelanau until you come to a stop sign. Turn right (south) on Lake Leelanau Drive (Route 641) and ride south to Lakeview Road (bright red school house on your left is your landmark) and turn right. The Leelanau Trail is immediately on your left. Ride it south back to town. Easy, flat, scenic ride.

Looking for the Leelanau Trail to get started? Maps available at To create an actual map using Susan’s directions, go to

Read about how Susan Vigland got started in biking and why she stays in it.

Watch the Hagerty cycling team take to the roads of Traverse City and Leelanau County.

This article first appeared in the August, 2010 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Buy the August issue now or subscribe and get the best of life in Up North delivered to your door each month.
Read about Michigan road-bike racing and the joy of Michigan biking in “Susan Vigland, Michigan’s Number One Road-Bike Racer.”

Article Comments

  • brent

    Hey Guys…middle michigander here,lookin’ to get up a little further in the beginning of October with my wife for our 3rd wedding anniversary this year!
    I’ve been a bit crazy with biking this summer and we’d like to have a day of scenic riding that isnt to treachorous.Not sure how far up we want to go, we were thinking of Mac Island, but didnt want to run the risk of the ferry shutting down with the late season currents. We were up at Boyne Mt. in the summer of our wed.engagement and walked to downtown shopping by the lakeshore.
    Is there some ideas you could send our way for a nice 2 day getaway for the week of Oct. 3-10?Maybe somewhere we could lodge for an affordable rate?
    Thanks for you consideration and help!-Brent.

  • Anonymous

    Brent — My experience on road riding is pretty much all Leelanau, since that’s where I live, but I can endorse it as a great place to cycle. For starters, there are lots of back roads that get little traffic and are paved. It’s really a situation where you can’t go wrong. Any route will be beautiful. Not sure how many miles you are up for, but a really nice 25-miler is parking at the river in Cedar, looping up to Lake Leelanau Village on backroads and then back on 643, the road that runs along the west side of Lake Leelanau (the lake itself). Go to, which has decent maps and automatically calculates your route distance when you click on point to point, so you can figure a route with distance you like. One of the busier roads is M-22 (especially avoid on the east side of Leelanau Peninsula)–but even M-22 is not bad from Leland to Northport–lovely road w. wide shoulder for riding and not a ton of traffic 641/Bugai Rd. is also busy w. fast cars. –Jeff Smith, editor