With more than 12,500 miles of trails, it’s no wonder Michigan is known as "the Trails State." Whether it's bicycling through paved trails in the parks, mountain biking across rugged terrain or planning a trip through one of the state parks or state forest pathways, Michigan has unique opportunities for bicyclists of all ages, types and skill levels.
"National Bike Month takes place each May and showcases the many benefits of bicycling," said Elissa Buck, a recreation programmer for the DNR. "Bicycling is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors, while taking advantage of all the health and environmental benefits. It's also an opportunity to explore your community and state, such as the extensive statewide trail system, many scenic roads, state parks and much more."
National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, is celebrated each May in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling and encourage more folks to give biking a try. Visit www.bikeleague.org/bikemonth for more information.
Here are just a few of the opportunities that Michigan bicyclists can explore:
- Bikes are allowed on all paved and nonpaved roads in all 102 state parks and recreation areas. Information can be found at www.michigan.gov/stateparks.
- Mountain bikers may want to wind and weave their way through natural soil surfaces, narrower trail widths and changing slopes and gradients on a number of trails. To search for a list of Michigan state parks, recreation areas or state forest campgrounds with designated mountain bike trails, visitwww.michigan.gov/recsearch.
- The William Field Memorial Hart-Montage Trail is a paved, 22-mile trail that passes through rural, forested lands. The beautiful scenic overlooks and picnic areas located along the route make it an excellent trail experience for all outdoor enthusiasts. There will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly repaved trail July 18; however, most of the trail currently is rideable. Information can be found atwww.michigan.gov/recsearch.
- Jump on the Iron Belle Trail, the longest designated state trail in the nation, and bicycle (or hike) your way between Belle Isle Park in Detroit and Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula. Explore pristine forests, pass along cool rivers and visit charming towns all across the state. The 791-mile bicycle route is 64 percent complete and utilizes existing multiuse trails. In the Upper Peninsula, the route follows U.S. 2, a designated national bicycling route. Visit www.michigan.gov/ironbelle to learn more.
- Slow Roll is a group bicycle ride that meets Monday nights in Detroit. Each week, participants meet at different venues and take a unique route throughout the city, exploring neighborhoods, landmarks and many state-operated destinations. The bike ride involves 3,000+ riders each week and is for all ages and skill levels. Learn about the location of future rides at http://slowrolldetroit.com.
Upcoming bicycling events include:
- The Lighthouse Neurological Rehabilitation Center will offer free Adaptive Cycling Clinics at Interlochen State Park in Grand Traverse County June 8, July 13 and Sept. 7. For more information, call 231-263-1350.
- Join the Tri-County Bicycle Association's 27th annual SummerTour July 13-17. The bike tour, a circle route beginning and ending in Petoskey, features great scenery that takes riders through many small towns and tourist areas in the northern Lower Peninsula. Visit www.biketcba.org (click on Club Rides).
A Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry to Michigan state parks and recreation areas. Learn more about how the Recreation Passport gains you access to Michigan state parks and more at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport.