As fall colors blaze, head to the Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City to spin the unexpectedly bueno mountain bike trails in the hilly forest.

The cool, brisk mornings of fall are a special time for those who like the outdoors. The crisp air that fills your lungs only entices you to breathe deeper. To live in the moment as you let life’s worries slip away. The colors of autumn are peaking, and when the sun hits them it’s a sight that nothing in our digital world could ever capture. One of the best ways to experience this incredible time of the year is to grab your bike and hit the trails. Doing something active while taking it all in will not only help to boost your mood, but it can boost your metabolism as well.

The crew at Brick Wheels bike shop was kind enough to show me some of their favorite trails in Traverse City. A group of us met behind Pleasanton Bakery in the Grand Traverse Commons to ride some of the forested park trails before work. Matt Mulligan provided insightful tips about the latest gear and gadgets before we headed into the woods.

For an early morning on a warm and sunny weekday, I was surprised to see the trails—close to town and well kept—so vacant. The Commons’ trail network is an incredible resource for anyone who lives and works in the area. The trails go on and on, with a nice mix of easy and more challenging rides. We rode for an hour or so, as the light began to shine brighter and brighter into the colorful forest.

Eventually we had to head back to the cars and to work … but first we started thinking about food and coffee: Pleasanton Bakery, Cuppa Joe’s, and Higher Grounds Coffee all cater to the morning crowds and are right at the Commons.

Mountain Bike Gear Tips!

These gear tips were provided by the professionals at Brick Wheels. A comfortable, light-weight helmet is extremely important. The Giro Feature trail helmet fits that bill for only $75 and is adjustable for all-day riding. A moisture control shirt is paramount for a pleasant riding experience. A Club Ride Protocol Dryspan top will keep you cool when exerting energy, making your ride more enjoyable. Wool socks are perfect for keeping the toes cozy and the feet feeling good—a must have for crisp-weather riding. Brick Wheels Strideline socks are the pair to get.

Daniel Shepler is a Traverse City native whose passion for capturing adventure has taken him all over the world writing and photographing for marketing and editorial projects.

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Photo(s) by Daniel Shepler