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The 10 Best Roads for Bicycling in Michigan

Here's what you need to know...
  • Cycling is an easy way to get around and stay in shape
  • Using bicycles for transportation is environmentally friendly
  • Michigan offers many scenic routes for cyclists
  • Insurance comparison shopping is a good way to find the best deals

The quest for good health and fitness is an ongoing one for most people.

More than ever, the busy pace of modern life can make it challenging for people to find the time to get their daily doses of exercise. The good news is, there is an easy way to get from place to place and stay supremely fit at the same time, and it’s known as cycling.

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What makes bicycles so popular?

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There have been many inventions and fads over the years that seem to have melted out of existence. Not so with the venerable bicycle, which has enjoyed immense popularity with each new generation of people.

Cycling brings many benefits to the table, and having a closer look at these perks makes it easy to understand why bicycles and cycling have maintained such a high reputation.

Physical Health Benefits

There are several health benefits associated with cycling:

  • Low impact – Riding a bicycle for exercise is, as described by Harvard Health, a low impact activity. Other than swimming, there are few other exercise regimens that can deliver the combination of high-caloric output and limited impact that characterizes cycling.
  • Cardio health – Riding a bicycle rather than driving puts the cardiovascular system into overdrive. This activity gives the heart, veins, and arteries a thorough workout, and can significantly lower the risks of future heart disease.
  • Transitional activity – Cycling can be a good way for people who may not have exercised for a while to get back into the groove. Since riders can always stop pedaling, individuals who are on the comeback trail can tailor their workouts to their personal fitness levels.
  • Challenging workout – Even though this is the case, cycling can also provide individuals with one of the best possible workouts. By selecting challenging routes that include hilly terrain, people looking to get into peak shape can quickly make this goal a reality.
  • Weight loss tool – When it comes to losing weight, bike riding is a well-known shortcut to a svelte physique. Not only does cycling enable riders to burn large quantities of extra calories, but it also provides the large muscle groups of the body with a deep workout.

Other Benefits of Cycling

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3Gm2GDMMs0

Additional benefits of cycling include:

– Environmentally Friendly

Using bicycles for transportation is zero emission, and requires no intrusive, habitat killing drilling operations. It is quiet, thus fighting the effects of noise pollution. It is also resource friendly, as a well-maintained bike can stay in good working condition for literally decades.

– Easy on the Wallet

Data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that in recent years the average American household that makes around $50,000 per year will end up paying close to $10,000 in transportation costs.

In contrast, individuals who make cycling their primary mode of transportation stand to save tens of thousands of dollars in car-related costs over their lifetimes.

– Good for the Community

As anyone who lives in a larger city knows, cars can cause many problems for communities.

Many municipalities suffer routine traffic jams during every rush hour that can cause delays, promote congestion, and magnify pollution. Biking for transportation and exercise causes none of these problems and solves all of them.

What makes for a good bicycle road?

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Even though cycling can be a very enjoyable pastime, not every road or route that the cyclist may use is the same. To truly get the most physical and psychological benefits out of biking, cyclists will want to seek out the best possible routes for their journeys.

  • Beautiful Scenery – Taking a leisurely trip through attractive terrain is one of the great joys of riding. Whether a given cyclist is making their way along an alpine road or spinning silently through a dense forest, the scenery of the selected route has the potential to be truly inspiring.
  • Low Traffic – Any cyclist who has spent time riding through a big city can attest to how stressful this can be. Individuals who want to get the most out of their rides would do well to carefully pre-plan their proposed routes.
  • Climbs and Descents – In the same vein, itineraries that include a good climb provide a bit of challenge for riders. At the same time, few sensations are as exhilarating as riding a speeding cycle down a steep slope.

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10 Best Roads for Bicycles

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#1 – Pentagram Loop

Length: 23 miles
Best Feature: Stunning lakefront views

Located in Grosse Pointe Park, Pentagram Loop offers cyclists 23 miles of flat fast territory. About half of this route runs along a lakefront park, providing riders with unique and stunning views as they hum along.

#2 – Holt-Williamston Route

Length: 28 miles
Best Feature: Flat terrain with little traffic

This route is located in Lansing and East Lansing and runs for 28 miles. The terrain is either flat or gently rolling, providing riders with a fast and relatively easy ride. It includes secondary roadways, which means that cyclists can worry less about traffic and more about enjoying every moment of their trip.

#3 – Montague-Muskegon State Park Loop

Length: 36 miles
Best Feature: A steep climb

This scenic route lies near the boundaries of Lake Michigan, Muskegon Lake, and White Lake. It spans a good 36 miles of mostly flat terrain with one steep climb on Scenic Drive. This route provides riders with a lot to see and experience along the way, including attractions like Michigan Adventures Theme Park.

#4 – East Frankenmuth Loop

Length: 26 miles
Best Feature: Lightly rolling terrain

This flat and light rolling cycling route runs for 26 miles between Frankenmuth and the small community of Columbiaville. This trail features lightly traveled secondary roads and includes sections that parallel the beautiful Cass River.

#5 – St. Ignace Route

Length: 30 miles
Best Feature: Beautiful views of Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Mackinac Island

This 30-mile trail begins in St. Ignace and features flat terrain with one reasonably small hill to spice things up. Cyclists are treated with views of Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Mackinac Island as they negotiate this scenic bike trail.

#6 – East Tawas Loop

Length: 35 to 45 miles
Best Feature: Flat or gently rolling hills

This route begins either in Au Sable or East Tawas and proceeds to run for 35 to 45 miles, depending on the specific roads that are chosen.

The terrain includes flat to gently rolling secondary roads that can enable speed lovers to turn up the heat. This trail includes head-turning attractions that include the Lake Huron shoreline, the Au Sable River, Tawas Point State Park, and Tawas Point Lighthouse.

#7 – Old Mission Peninsula Loop

Length: 24 to 41 miles
Best Feature: Coastal views

Located in Traverse City, the Old Mission Peninsula Loop provides riders with 24 to 41 miles of breathtaking coastal riding.

The easy rolling or flat terrain is free of steep climbs, making it appropriate for the majority of riders.

Even though the roads along the route can sometimes be busy, places of interest like the Mission Point Lighthouse, Museum, and Winery make up for any traffic issues.

#8 – The Charx

Length: 43 miles
Best Feature: Rolling hills with light traffic

This route starts either in Boyne City or Charlevoix. It runs for 43 miles around Lake Charlevoix and offers rolling, flat, and hilly terrain. Roadways are secondary and tend to host only lighter traffic levels.

#9 – The Roscommon Loop

Length: 34 miles
Best Feature: Beautiful views

This bike trail begins in central Roscommon and runs through 34 miles of flat to slightly rolling terrain. There are many points of rest and interest along the way, including Forest Dunes Golf Course, Au Sable River, Huron Forest, and of course Roscommon itself.

#10 – Rogers City Route

Length: 23 miles
Best Feature: A challenging climb

This route starts in Rogers City near the Lakeside Park Pavilion and forms a 23-mile loop that takes riders around the community.

This trail features rolling terrain, with one 10 percent grade climb that some riders may find challenging. The good news is, cyclists who make it to the top will be rewarded with stunning views of Lake Huron.

Safety Tips for Riding Bicycles

Before you choose to ride your bike, make yourself aware of some basic safety tips:

  • Obey traffic laws – Motorists expect other vehicles on the road to behave in certain ways. By adhering to the traffic laws in their area, cyclists can avoid surprising vehicle operators with unexpected maneuvers that can result in tragic accidents.
  • Use the right gear – Safety equipment should be used whenever possible. This can span from items like proper headgear to making use of toe clips.
  • Maintain bicycles regularly – Bikes may be low maintenance, but the do require some level of care. By staying on top of minor repairs and replacements, riders can avoid the dangers of catastrophic equipment failures.
  • Ride Defensively – Unlike a car, cyclists have no protective outer shell. If they collide with a vehicle, the car will always win. Because of this, it’s key for riders to make use of defensive riding techniques that keep them as far from traffic as possible.

Considerations for Drivers on Road Regularly Used by Cyclists

In addition to riders applying safe cycling rules, it’s important for vehicle operators to be especially vigilant on roads that are frequented by cyclists. Keeping some of the following points in mind can enhance safety on both sides.

  • Respect riders – Even though bikes are much smaller than cars, cyclists have just as much of a right to be on the road. Drivers should recognize this, and act accordingly.
  • Signal before turning – Some cyclists get injured by the so-called “right hook” maneuver that involves a car racing to get ahead of a bike and then taking a sharp right turn at an approaching intersection. For many obvious reasons, this is a bad idea.
  • Give riders enough clearance when passing – Some drivers seem to be intent on seeing how close they can get to cyclists without hitting them as they pass by. This is unwise, rude, and usually illegal. Rather, drivers should always try to give riders at least three feet of clearance at all times.

Having the Right Insurance Coverage in Case of Accidents

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If the worst happens, having the right kind of insurance can make a world of difference. At the minimum, drivers will want to have some level of liability insurance.

In addition to this, bodily injury and collision coverage can cover drivers who strike cyclists by mistake.

While making the decision of which combination of insurance is right, it’s essential for drivers to shop around. Only by gaining information about various companies and their prices can consumers turn the tables on insurance companies, forcing them to compete for the vehicle owner.

As you can see, there are many great routes in Michigan for cyclists. Riders and drivers alike who take the information in this article to heart will be helping to ensure that no matter where they end up going, they will have a great chance of making it home safely.

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References:
  1. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-top-5-benefits%20%20-of-cycling
  2. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesan.nr0.htm
  3. http://www.lmb.org/images/stories/Maps/Library/Pentagram%20Loop.pdf
  4. http://www.lmb.org/images/stories/Maps/Library/Holt-Williamston%20Route.pdf
  5. https://www.flickr.com/photos/kayoticblue/804011140/in/photolist-2e3Lv3-2fg7L7-9qV5gU-fekHpo-fdfPvX-WhhBP-6PLq8J-hLGRV-4ZFkVS-FZbBHy-rb7CmQ-ajN2E4-oBqQZc-cY7yt1-3JzfnK-3nmTaA-o3vFrU-RTT5SM-oc8nog-9qS4UZ-poE3AY-jRixS-kMSW68-pyH8y6-hLGT3-af6tk4-af9gmb-9Pwe9i-4oA6yZ-hLGUb-9qS6M4-oohRBB-9qS7GB-bbrDe8-a3vNhJ-71pYqu-S2Vv15-FK9Q8P-FZbASf-8Cy7KC-nPFDXq-fQbf94-KaHBpd-Q1C2rB-9qV71m-ph2tci-9qV7p7-8hkFmG-9qS61c-roxFeT
  6. http://www.lmb.org/images/stories/Maps/Library/Montague-Muskegon%20State%20Park%20Route.pdf
  7. http://www.lmb.org/images/stories/Maps/Library/East_Frankenmuth.pdf
  8. https://www.flickr.com/photos/marada/2782496093/in/photolist-5eT29z-5eT3fD-aN3j8T-bznJfs-baGiZp-b8cHST-5eT5wP-aFFLpD-bzKzQ1-afkWxx-bjUepa-8FFbAj-5eT62V-bw81j5-b6Zsqi-bn9Hnd-b6ZikV-by9emY-bbonqM-9fE9yT-9fE9Ba-9fE9BV-bjMGgk-c6TZJq-6AxjET-btNJFk-8FBVjZ-bjKoP6-bw5qnX-bTMjQ2-kWQug-bm4Uj5-bZ3A4h-bK7VhB-bK7UDF-bR5xjR-bD5NKg-afr6VQ-brssV5-cgxQSu-cZiDYu-bj62u2-9fE9Bv-afmUjB-5eTgve-8FFbnf-8FBY9P-8FFary-8FFaAQ-8FFaXo
  9. http://www.lmb.org/images/stories/Maps/Library/St.%20Ignace%20Route.pdf
  10. http://www.lmb.org/images/stories/Maps/Library/East%20Tawas%20Loop.pdf
  11. http://www.lmb.org/images/stories/Maps/Library/Traverse%20City-Old%20Mission%20Route.pdf
  12. https://www.flickr.com/photos/grongar/974098306/in/photolist-2u5vuo-eVyist-9ZrGvC-9ZoLxT-ov1Vrk-otgh2Y-agPApg-3beuWC-af12de-6NMxdF-2o9YWP-8nNv8N-b2c9wg-6NMwHR-coDk5A-coDms1-hYP1J-a4kfH3-coDjDh-6NMwAX-a4k9db-coDnJ3-coDmRo-6NMvN6-8nJZUM-5MuPDu-foFiTy-ax5u6B-coD9iQ-ziony4-Ae6yQm-yk8SPM-2Y2Fj3-Hd3x8-auReJi-kxAfqw-HziovH-mwerpV-afJuR1-afFHv8-kxsN84-af1oLv-32MjqW-8KLocm-a4hqPV-33nbEY-33cxQa-HG3Esv-5dhTCd-xsETB
  13. http://www.lmb.org/images/stories/Maps/Library/The%20Charx.pdf
  14. http://www.lmb.org/images/stories/Maps/Library/Roscommon%20Loop.pdf
  15. http://www.lmb.org/images/stories/Maps/Library/Rogers%20City%20Route.pdf
  16. https://www.flickr.com/photos/kayoticblue/804011140/in/photolist-2e3Lv3-2fg7L7-9qV5gU-fekHpo-fdfPvX-WhhBP-6PLq8J-hLGRV-4ZFkVS-FZbBHy-rb7CmQ-ajN2E4-oBqQZc-cY7yt1-3JzfnK-3nmTaA-o3vFrU-RTT5SM-oc8nog-9qS4UZ-poE3AY-jRixS-kMSW68-pyH8y6-hLGT3-af6tk4-af9gmb-9Pw…
  17. https://www.flickr.com/photos/marada/2782496093/in/photolist-5eT29z-5eT3fD-aN3j8T-bznJfs-baGiZp-b8cHST-5eT5wP-aFFLpD-bzKzQ1-afkWxx-bjUepa-8FFbAj-5eT62V-bw81j5-b6Zsqi-bn9Hnd-b6ZikV-by9emY-bbonqM-9fE9yT-9fE9Ba-9fE9BV-bjMGgk-c6TZJq-6AxjET-btNJFk-8FBVjZ-bjK…
  18. https://www.flickr.com/photos/grongar/974098306/in/photolist-2u5vuo-eVyist-9ZrGvC-9ZoLxT-ov1Vrk-otgh2Y-agPApg-3beuWC-af12de-6NMxdF-2o9YWP-8nNv8N-b2c9wg-6NMwHR-coDk5A-coDms1-hYP1J-a4kfH3-coDjDh-6NMwAX-a4k9db-coDnJ3-coDmRo-6NMvN6-8nJZUM-5MuPDu-foFiTy-ax5u…

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