Category Archives: Riding

Cable, WI

Staying in a town that has trails nearby is a real treat.  Staying in a yurt that is 25 yards from the largest trail network in the midwest is like winning the treat lottery.  A long weekend took a group of five to Wisconsin’s CAMBA trail system.  With hundreds of miles of possible trails to ride, we ended up staying in a yurt in the middle of the woods, away from everything, but the trail.

The Yurt

Just a few miles out of town (Cable, WI), the county (Bayfield County) put up a yurt for those seeking to experience their beautiful surrounding landscape.  Being on both mountain bike trails and on the Birkie Ski Trail, this Yurt is ready for anyone looking to experience silent sports right out their front door.  20 feet in diameter and room to sleep 6, the yurt has a wood stove to keep the winter or late night chill at bay.  That’s about it.  No electricity, no running water.  Annnnnnnnnnnd that right there is perfect.

Special note on the accommodations, you park at the bottom of a hill and need to hike any and all gear up to the yurt, which is around a 1/3 of a mile into the woods.  Pack smart.

The Trails

The Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA), has dozens and dozens of miles of trails.  Single track in the area is prime and we didn’t have the time to ride any where close to them all.  What we experienced was typical of this area, consistent up and down.  The trail is similar to Greenbush, to provide a local comparison, but much more pronounced.  Meaning you’re going to have to work to get through it, but hey, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.  Make sure you ride the Rock Lake loop, extremely fun trail.  Outside of that, take a long weekend and experience some amazing trails that are right here in Wisconsin, you won’t be disappointed!

Upcoming Tour Trip – High Cliff State Park

OSHKOSH – HIGH CLIFF STATE PARK

Date: June 3-4

WHAT TO EXPECT

We will depart from Winnebago Bicycle at 8:00am on Saturday.  Our route on Saturday morning will follow the WIOUWASH trail to the Friendship Trail.  From here we will navigate through the Appleton/Menasha area and enter the park from the north.  Total ride distance is approximately 39 miles.  Expected time of arrival to the park is 12:00pm.

DAY 1: Northern route around Lake Winnebago. Over 50% on crushed gravel trail.  Approximately 39 miles.

We will setup camp and then feel free to do what you would like.  Stay at the campsite or explore the park.  For those who have not been to High Cliff, there are plenty of trails to hike, we recommend a pair of hiking shoes to pack along for the ride!

Sunday morning will involve a quick breakfast and camp teardown.  We will look to leave High Cliff in the late morning, between 10:00 and 11:00am.  Our trip home will complete the circumnavigation of Lake Winnebago.  Day 2 will total approximately 50 miles of riding with an expected time of arrival to Oshkosh between 3:30-4:30, leaving time for a lunch stop in Fond du Lac.

DAY 2: Southern segment of Lake Winnebago. Over 99% on paved roadway. Approximately 50 miles.

WHAT TO BRING

  • Tent
  • All sleep equipment
  • Food/Hydration for yourself
  • Spare tube(s) for your tire size
  • Anything else you feel necessary for an overnight camp
  • Hiking clothing (highly recommended)

COST

  • $25
    • Includes campsite reservation, guiding, and lunch on Sunday

 

TOURING TRIP HIGHLIGHT – HARTMAN CREEK 2017

Shop led bike packing trip to Hartman Creek State Park in April was loaded with quiet roads, great scenery, and a great crew.  We have more in the works, but here are the highlights from our first bike packing trip.

New Moon (Downtown Oshkosh) is responsible for powering the bike shop in more ways than one could imagine (caffeine/food) and now helped us with a great start to our trip. Pictured is the ‘Bago Bagel’ (all veggies, sans tomato/black olives, + bacon)
Loaded. Even one night means you need to be prepared. Specialized AWOL, Axiom bags, and Brooks Cambium saddle for the win on this trip.  Total bike weight: around 80lbs.  (I brought too much.  Lesson learned!)
8 riders, packed and ready to tackle the 56 miles to Hartman Creek State Park on Saturday morning.  Temperature was high 50s with a gentle breeze.  Beautiful April morning.
Fuel for the trip powered by Red Bull.
Quiet roads during the day. Looks like it was loud here last night.
Bob pulling a Bob which carried Bob’s things.
On the way out, soaking in the April sun.
Towards the edge of Winnebago County.
From Poy Sippi on, the ride included many stops. Some to rest, but most to be tourists at. Poy Sippi dam, doing what it does.
We decided Poy Sippi was a good spot to take a lunch. Grabbed some snacks at the local gas station and hunkered down by the dam for an hour.
Lunch. Of Bike Packers.
Additional lunch option.
Yeah, lunch was pretty fun.
Saxeville has a bell, which was stolen by soldiers from the south, by the north, during the Civil War.
Horse power meets bike power.
Maybe the coolest ‘stop’ along the trip, this wooden bridge outside of Saxeville was paid for and put up by the residents of Saxeville. The Wisconsin DOT offered to put up a concrete spanned, boring, bridge. People of Saxeville, thank you for this. Such a great feature to come across on our trip. Also, special thank you to Bob, a member of the crew, who showed us around Waushara County like no one else could.
Another view of the Wood Bridge outside of Saxeville. Hint, hint, it’s on ‘Covered Bridge Road’.
Had a great Saturday on the bike, got to Hartman Creek and setup camp. Go by bike = free entry. Plus, show up by bike to camp, they guarantee a site for you. This is a State Park that treats cyclists, year round!
Trees? No problem, here we see a dichotomy between store bought and what was bought in a store decades ago + MacGyver intuition. Additionally, setup time reflected a difference of over 500% on one…Kevin never fell out of his, but he is also ordering a hammock for the next trip…
Kevin testing his ‘creation’ (we were all impressed with his ‘No tent / No sleeping bag’ approach. Kevin won the award for most creative bike packer of the weekend hands down!
So we cheated…a little bit. Amber, (Ben’s wife) ‘happened’ to be camping at the park as well and had veggies, potatoes, and burgers for the crew to snack on. Not only made for a great snack, but gave us the calories to sleep through a 35° night.
Obligatory campfire pic.
The only thing better is planning the next trip.
These were the easy ones to take a pic of, outside of the fence, they move too quick!
Blue sky for days. That speck in the center of the photo is a hawk, looking for breakfast. On our way out of the park, headed back home Sunday morning after a killer breakfast ourselves. Yes, we cheated here again, Amber (Ben’s wife) happened to have bacon and bagels along, which we sampled.
Back at Poy Sippi…lunch of the champs. Crazy what a bag of chips and a Red Bull can do  I swear, I eat well normally!
More quiet Winnebago County with the obvious craziness of the night before left on the tarmac.
So, on top of Liberty School Road, overlooking to the South East of Winnebago County, Oshkosh nearly in our sights, we were tasked with visible sunshine and an invisible to viewers, incredible wind shift that occurred over the course of mere minutes on our trip back home. 2/3 of our way home, with a cruising speed of over 16mph, we encountered an impressive wind shift that went from a tail wind, to a direct head wind out of the east. Wind speed jumped to 15mph and was coupled with a temp drop of 10° over the course of 2 minutes. While this turns into a chore regardless, when you have an additional 50lbs of gear on your bike, and the bags that are holding said gear act like a massive sail, this change of wind turns into an interesting change of pace. Our 16mph dropped to a challenging 8mph. If everything was easy, it wouldn’t be rewarding, right? This was rewarding. Smiles were plentiful at rides end, even with Mother Nature throwing a curve ball! (Please note: Sean’s left hand, middle finger have been edited out of this image)

This was a great trip, we were so happy to have such a fun crew to join us and cannot wait until our next.  Please look forward to 2-3 bike packing trips throughout the year, each year from us.  Interested in jumping on board? Stop down and chat, we will help get you ready for the road!

Trail Highlight – Levis Mounds

Traveling back in time to the edge of a glacier? Nah, just an ice shove on Lake Winnebago, circa 2017.

The last glacial maximum brought rich farmland to our great state, gave us our thousands of lakes scattered throughout the northern half of the state, and altered the landscape in more ways than any other natural event in our areas history.  Ice is an extremely powerful landscaper, slowly inching its way further and further, until finally, after retreating, the land is left with many amazing features that Wisconsin can lay claim to.

This is the most important map of Wisconsin. It is the reason our mountain bike trails are the best around. Please, study.

On the fringe of the ‘Driftless Area’ of the state lies a landscape that takes you out of Wisconsin and transplants you in what feels like the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Levis Mounds was not decimated by glaciers, it was sculpted, altered, and graced by their presence.   Being at the edge of glaciation, Levis underwent a unique transformation.  It’s sandstone bluffs, or monadnocks, were cut out of the earth to provide us with a remarkable terrain for mountain biking today.  Other trail networks can thank glaciers for their work over 10,000 years ago, notably, the Greenbush trail network in the northern Kettle Moraine State Forest, however very few have been implemented in this transition-zone that Levis has.  This terrain leads to radical changes in trail type, you begin riding on what feels like a flatland type of trail that was wiped flat by a massive bulldozer, then suddenly you are climbing and gaining elevation as you pedal upon bluffs that arise out of thin air, bluffs that were just strong enough to withstand the push from the  edge of an immense ice sheet that nearly toppled them millennium in the past.  In addition to  geological processes, good old fashion human power is what puts the trail in as the landscape is but a canvas and we, the artist.

Levis Mounds Trail Center is located in Clark County, just south of Niellsville.  Approximately a 2 hour drive from Oshkosh, Levis is a perfect trail to either take a full day to go and ride at, or plan on camping in the nearby campground to extend the stay and explore the area further.

Regional location.

Local location.

Right where it is.

The trail network consists of 19 miles of singletrack, much of which is part of the ‘IMBA Epic’ loop on the grounds.  The trail has a consitancy of sandy soil, which allows the area to drain quickly and not experience long periods of standing moisture.  (Turns out Levis is usually one of the first trail networks in the state to open for the season due to this as well.)

Sections of sandy soil, and a feather.

As you get further into the trail, you begin to climb and quickly get out of any moisture.  While there is definitely periods of climbing here, the trail is designed to keep you motivated to keep going, throwing in quick periods of downhill and/or flat sections.  Once up in elevation, the trail begins to narrow and tightly hug the clifside.  Some sections require wood bridges to keep you from a tumble while other sections require sure bike handling and confidence.  These trails are marked and if you’re riding with a novice or young rider, be mindful of what’s coming up on the trail.

Trails that need to be checked out when you make your visit are Sidewinder, the Hermosa trilogy, Clifhanger, Clarence (for the vista), and find Plubmer’s Crack.  At the trail head, they also have installed a fun feature loop, letting you hone your skills before venturing out into the wilderness of Levis Mounds.

View off of the trail, ‘Clarence’

 

At the end of ‘Cliffhanger’

 

 

Touring Trip

OSHKOSH – HARTMAN CREEK STATE PARK

April 22-23, 2017

WHAT TO EXPECT

We will depart from Winnebago Bicycle at 9:00am on Saturday.  Our route to Hartman Creek State Park will wind through quiet county roads and pass through villages such as Omro, Poy Sippi, and Saxeville.  Total distance is approximately 52 miles.

Trip will take approximately 5 hours, leaving time for a potential lunch break.  This should put an arrival time of 1:30-2:00 to the park.  Camp setup and other prep can be done right away or at your leisure.  Campfire and dinner will all start early evening.  We will leave Hartman Creek mid to late morning on Sunday for our return trip to Oshkosh.

WHAT TO BRING

  • Tent
  • All sleep equiptment
  • Food/Hydration for yourself
  • Cash for site rental
  • Spare tube(s) for your tire size

WHAT WE WILL COVER

  • Fire starting
  • Bicycle related tools (please note, if your bike requires any special tools for repair, please bring)

Bike Packing – YOU, YOUR BIKE, & THE ROAD FOR DAYS

Give to me the life I love,

Let the lave go by me,

Give the jolly heaven above

And the byway nigh me.

Bed in the bush with stars to see,

Bread I dip in the river –

There’s the life for a man like me,

There’s the life for ever.

 

by Robert Louis Stevenson

from Songs of Travel and Other Verses

 

Bike: Niner RLT Steel Bags: Revelate Designs

The Great Outdoors: our first home. From simple pastime, to centering our mental focus, to healing the weary heart of the wayward traveler, enjoying the wonder of nature serves many purposes in our lives. Some chose to experience it from the comfort of their RV, some seek temporary residence in their family cabin (“Glam-ping”), while others take to the trails by foot and hike their way through the wilderness. Personally, for us here at ‘Bago, the more rugged the experience, the better! Despite being the most rugged form of outdoor travel, hiking/backpacking can be limited by the distance one can traverse on foot when carrying a pack loaded with gear. However, when one removes that heavy pack and loads the gear onto a bike, more ground can be covered offering up new possibilities for your outing.

Bikepacking was born out of the long tradition of bicycle touring, where cyclists use racks and panniers for storage of their gear on the bike. Touring with this setup has advantages—namely, being able to carry a lot of gear. More gear means longer trips supplied by more food and water, more tools and repair parts, and potentially sturdier sleeping accommodations. It is not, though, without its flaws. Firstly, more gear means more weight. For shorter trips, this weight only serves to slow one’s speed and turn climbs into grueling grinds. Secondly, the added weight can adversely affect how the bike handles on gravel, B-roads, and especially singletrack. Although the weight can be loaded so as to lower the center of gravity, the panniers distribute the weight away from the midline of the bike, which can make the bike unruly to maneuver sometimes. Thirdly, noise. Nothing more needs to be said about that…

As a response to the growing popularity of minimalist backpacking, BIKEpacking has proven to be a suitable alternative to rack-and-pannier touring by addressing some of the aforementioned drawbacks. Without the metal racks and internal frames within the panniers, bikepacking packs are a significantly lighter option for storing and hauling gear. Less weight = more speed, especially when accelerating and climbing. The frame bags also keep a tighter front profile, improving handling on rougher terrain. Furthermore, with the bags being more pliable, gear can be “creatively stored”—stuffed—onto the bike and be more easily accessed. And… no noise!

Bikepacking lends itself well to an ultralight style of camping. This means that where it may be easy to carry a large tent, down sleeping bag, and ground mat, one may want to opt for smaller options, including bivy sacks or hammocks. Tarps can be replaced by lightweight shelter footprints, or even and sheet of Tyvek! As for other gear, one must sometimes get creative in finding ways to cover needs while reducing weight and volume of gear to fit into the smaller-volume frame bags.

If you find yourself interested in exploring the outdoors by bike for extended periods, stop by Winnebago Bicycle and talk with us about your plans. We can offer advice on bikes for bikepacking, gear, clothing, and even opportunities to join us for a weekend expedition to test the waters of bikepacking. Let us share our passion of outdoor adventure with you!

ARTICLE: cycling infrastructure

From ‘MOMENTUM MAG’:

Memphis, Tennessee

Broad Avenue, the original main street of a long-abandoned railroad town, slowly fell into disrepair after it was annexed by Memphis in 1919. By the 1990s, Broad Avenue was all but abandoned. A few struggling art galleries here and there taking advantage of the rock-bottom rents in the nation’s poorest major metro area, but mostly boarded up storefronts along a desolate street.

In the mid-2000s, some Memphis residents developed an interest in the downtown street, and what happened next is one of the most inspiring and unusual cases of community-led urban development seen in the US. Livable Streets Memphis approached Broad Avenue businesses about a vision to build a protected bike lane along the forgotten street, connecting a popular multi-use trail to the city’s largest park. With the support of the city and the surrounding businesses, they rolled out the idea with dramatic flair. Painting a temporary bike lane on to the street and temporarily closing it off to traffic, they held a one-day celebration with art, food, live music, and family-friendly activities that drew a crowd in the area of 15,000 people. The event was such a success that it begot the promise of permanent infrastructure, leading to $6 million in private investment in the area, the opening of new businesses and the renovating of many more. Today the Broad Avenue Arts District is one of the most popular shopping, arts, and entertainment areas in downtown Memphis.

new york bike lane

Parking-protected bike lane in NYC. Photo by Eric Fischer.

New York City, New York

Between 2007 and 2013, largely under the leadership of urban planning visionary Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City’s Department of Transportation installed over 400 miles of bike lanes and 35 miles of protected bike lanes, converted Times Square into a pedestrian plaza, and oversaw the introduction of the CitiBike bike share.

Sadik-Khan has been quoted as saying that they “fought for every inch” of space converted into bike and pedestrian-friendly places. The street transformation was hotly contested, polarizing, and a nonstop subject of emotional debate in the media, government offices, in businesses, and on the street. When all was said and done, it was also wildly successful.

The installation of the US’ first protected bike lanes, on Manhattan’s 8th and 9th avenues, resulted in a 49% increase in retail sales along the bike lane, compared to only 3% borough-wide. The redesign of Union Square North to include a protected bike lane, a pedestrian plaza, and simplified intersections resulted in the area seeing 49% fewer commercial vacancies, compared to 5% more borough-wide. Protected bike lanes on First and Second Avenues saw 47% fewer commercial vacancies, compared to 2% more borough-wide.

The city’s transformation has also resulted in a multitude of other improvements such as markedly increased bike ridership, increased bus ridership, decreased speeding but increased median travel times, and a significant reduction in traffic crashes and injury.

Fort Worth, Texas

Forth Worth’s Magnolia Street has long been its neighborhood’s most active and well-known street, but for decades its four lanes of fast-moving auto traffic made it unappealing (or impossible) for anyone traveling outside of a car. In 2008, the city undertook a dramatic street redesign, narrowing the four car lanes down to one in either direction, with an added lane for bicycles. Bike racks were installed in front of every business, providing parking for 160 bikes.

The result? Restaurant revenues along the popular street went up a combined total of 179%. While correlation doesn’t imply causation, there was certainly no drop in business due to the bike lane. In the immediate years after the redesign, a local coffee shop whose business was boosted by the new infrastructure found that the city-provided bike racks weren’t sufficient, and installed their own rows of bike parking, to the tune of double, to keep up with the growing customer demand.

Seattle, Washington

A few years back, Seattle announced a plan to remove 12 parking spaces to install a bike lane along a section of 65th street. Local business owners were not pleased, and much fuss was made about the looming loss of revenue that would surely befall them once the bike lane was constructed. Wondering if all of the fuss was about nothing, University of Washington researcher Kyle Rowe began collecting retail sales tax data from local businesses before the bike lane’s installation, and again afterwards. What he discovered was surprising, to say the least. Local businesses along the 65th street corridor where the bike lane was installed experienced growth of 400 percent in their sales index. Four hundred percent. Other businesses in the surrounding area experienced growth of less than 10%.

Rowe didn’t have experimental controls to conclude that the bike lane caused the growth, so to make sure his results weren’t a fluke, he conducted the same research for a new bike lane in the nearby Greenwood district. Somewhat anti-climactically, those businesses saw a growth which was on par with the rest of the neighhorhood. In the end Rowe concluded that the bike lanes had, optimistically, a positive impact, and if nothing else, no negative impacts.

Salt Lake City, Utah

When Salt Lake City announced plans to install a protected bike lane along 9 blocks of a busy downtown street, local business owners were worried. The bike lane would require a road diet of five general travel lanes to three, and a 30 percent reduction in parking spaces. How was the dramatic reduction in parking going to affect their business? Two years later, it would prove that the bike lane – and its accompanying streetscape improvements such as planters and public art – did affect their business, but not in the way they’d imagined.

Salt Lake City conducted an in-house analysis of their 300 South street redesign to determine its economic impact on local business. They compared sales tax data from early 2013, prior to the bike lane’s installation, to early 2015, after it was completed. They recorded an 8.79% increase in Sales Tax Gross Receipts along the lane corridor pre-project to post-project, compared to a 7% increase citywide. Anecdotally, they noted that 79% of businesses along the lane corridor reported business as being “good” after the installation of the bike lane, with an additional 16% reporting that business is “up” or “setting records.”

As for usage, the corridor saw a 30% increase in cycling rates, with that figure jumping to 89% on concert series nights, and an observed increase in family and casual cyclists.

Indianapolis cultural trail.

Ample space for people moving in the Indianapolis cultural trail. Photo by Jun Wang.

Indianapolis, Indiana

In 2008, the city of Indianapolis set to work building a world-class bike and pedestrian trail that would stretch across 8 miles of their downtown core. By 2013, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail was complete, and residents and visitors had a new opportunity to bike and walk safely through six Cultural Districts of the midwestern city.

The result? Properties within one block of the trail increased in value by 148% between 2008 and 2015 – a $1 billion increase in assessed property value from the $63 million public and private investment it took to build the trail. Over half of the business owners along the trail reported an increase in customers and 48 percent reported an increase in revenue, figures which in reality could be higher or lower since the data is self-reported. However, around 40-50 full-time positions were added to businesses along the trail to keep up with growth, as well as 50 part-time positions.

The city’s in-house analysis of the trail’s impact report that it is “well-liked and utilized,” and has enormous potential for further growth.

Vancouver, British Columbia

In 2010, Vancouver’s city council forged ahead with the construction of protected bike lanes on two of downtown’s busiest streets, to the very vocal disapproval of local business leaders. The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, on behalf its members, expressed palpable anger about how the loss of parking would impact their businesses. Six years later, the BIA has changed its tune, with its leader claiming that most business have seen moderate improvements in their bottom line, and appreciate that the new bike lanes are well used and bring more people downtown.

Local coffee shop company JJ Bean, which has a location along one of the new lanes, was encouraged by local cycling advocacy group HUB to go one step further and sacrifice two of their parking spots for a row of bike racks. After a little deliberation, they went ahead with the idea and installed the bike racks on their own dollar. “We think it has been great, definitely a positive decision!” said JJ Bean Vancouver retail leader Jesse Neate. “The biggest value add we see is a greater sense of community. It adds an element of safety for people hanging out on sidewalks as it causes cars to be more cautious. We also love the ease of access, it helps people to be environmentally conscious.”

On-street bike parking

Portland, Oregon

In 2004, the City of Portland began a program to increase the city’s bicycle parking capacity with the modest installation of a single bike corral – protected on-street bike parking – outside Fresh Pot Coffee Shop on N Mississippi Avenue. The bike corral consisted of a number of bike racks permanently installed across what was formerly two parking spaces, protected from traffic by a short buffer. Critics laughed and some business owners grumbled, but the city went ahead with the plan nonetheless. The “doomed” experiment turned out to be such a success that, by 2013, there were 97 corrals across Portland and a long waiting list of businesses chomping at the bit to get their own bike corral.

A 2015 study by Drew Meisel at Portland State University looked at the benefits of the bike corrals to local businesses. Based on web-based surveys, local business data analysis, and a basic land use inventory, Meisel found overwhelming support from local businesses for the corrals. The top 5 effects of the increased bicycle parking, as reported by the businesses, were promotion of sustainability, enhancing the street and neighborhood identity, increasing transportation options for employees and patrons, increasing foot and bike traffic, and increasing the visibility of the businesses from the front.

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Australian researchers Alison Lee and Alan March, influenced by the intensifying debate over the best allocation of public space, undertook a study to determine the economic benefits of car parking lots compared to infrastructure for other modes of transit. In the auto-centric world of Australian urban design, what they discovered surprised many.

Using the case of study of the retail-dense Lygon Street in Melbourne, Lee and March concluded that bicycle parking had a greater return on the investment of space than car parking. Though customers who arrived by car spent more per hour than those who arrived by bike, the comparatively smaller space it takes to park a bicycle means more customers, and thus more money. As they wrote in their report, “The small area of public space required for bike parking means that each square metre allocated to bike parking generated $31 per hour, compared to $6 generated for each square metre used for a car parking space.”

Riding in the UP – MARQUETTE

Favorite Trail: Southern Cross

Bike Choice / Rating: Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Elite 29   4 of 5

Favorite Restaurant / Rating: The Vierling   5 of 5

Favorite Beer / Rating: Blackrocks IPA   4 of 5

A few weeks back I had the privilege of visiting and riding one of IMBA’s (International Mountain Bike Association) newest ride centers. Marquette, Michigan has just recently been added to a very select list through IMBA, coming in with a Bronze ranking. With my trusty Stumpjumper at my side, we got a good feel for Marquette; the following is a quick rundown.

The Trails

Marquette is home to around 100 miles of singletrack, some of which in better condition and easier to get to than others. During the trip we rode 35 miles of the South Trails, of which, most tend to be of the better marked and more visitor friendly. Getting to a trail is simple, a 2 mile warm-up ride on the in-town paved trail takes you to the start of a few runs and from there you are in the midst of some of the Midwest’s best man-made (Gorge-ous) and machine built trails (Down Dogger). With miles of trails, you can ride the entire weekend and not have time to hit them all. With another network to the north of town (simply called the North Trails) there is always a new trail to be tamed.

The trails that I rode varied from beginner to advanced and this gives the opportunity for any level of rider to get out and have a great experience. The terrain differs a great deal from what we locally have surrounding the Fox Valley and this allows for some length to the downhills and in turn, a few long climbs. Benson’s Grade is a lung-pumping mile of near 12% grade that you must stay focused on in order to pick your line through the melon-sized rocks that form the trail bed.

Stop by the shop to discuss more, to plan your first trip or to compare notes from your experiences up there.

 

The Town

This is in my view, what sets Marquette apart from other notable ride meccas in the area. Having a lively town to experience in addition to a fantastic trail network allows for a great balance through the weekend. With plenty of options for lodging, like the Hampton Inn which happens to be both right on Lake Superior and the town trail that leads to and from the Southern Trail Network, dining, and shopping, Marquette offers both riders and riders significant others plenty to be excited about. Between my Saturday morning and afternoon rides, I had the opportunity to check out a place called The Vierling. Great food and a nice beer selection made this an awesome mid-day stop. Later in the evening, the group of us headed over to Capers Restaurant, located on the main floor of the Landmark Hotel. After riding 35 miles over the course of the day, the food and the beer was extra great.

As a self-proclaimed beer-snob, the Upper Peninsula has much to offer. A few blocks walk from dinner and the hotel, is a brewery that has taken the UP by storm. Blackrocks Brewery has it, from an outstanding beer selection to a great atmosphere; it is definitely worth a stop if you are in need of an adult refreshment. (Hint hint, a growler, 6-pack, or single can of anything from this brewery could also make a fantastic tip to your favorite mechanics at your favorite bike shop.)

Nice spots to keep you going while not riding, makes Marquette a perfect spot to checkout for a weekend of all sorts of fun. While you’re up there, don’t forget to check out Lakeshore Bike, they’ll get you setup if you forgot something and let you know what trails you have to hit.