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Best "Big Three" Southern-Michigan Bike Route?

March 25, 2009

I'm wondering what's the best southern Michigan 50-100 mile route that includes the best roads (dirt, paved or trails), best nature/landscape, best several culture/food stops?

I think we're pretty well set for pleasant roads. But they're not THAT nice. And there's not much to look at besides empty countryside at best. Fields, woodlots, farms, McMansions, jiffy ranches.

My first hunch is that the Waterloo Area contains the prettiest regional roads and landscape.

But the Allegan area might have something.

I like a natural-beauty spot for a picnic, but I also like a cultural landmark where nice people are. I don't mean to be picky or judgemental. It's an open-ended thing. Your fave doesn't have to be mine. But let's share em anyway!

I'm thinking that it's tough to find a bar or convenience store or Dairy Queen or run-down neglected small-burg downtown area that qualifies.

C'mon, I want to go for The Best! Or at least something Pretty Darn Good.

(For instance, the Dairy Hill in Mason is a step up from a usual Dairy Queen. How many steps-up can we get?)

I'd be happy to push some limits. It might require a Really Big Day of riding to pull it off. Or it might require driving a ways away from Lansing to make just the right start. It might even really want to be a Two-Day Ride, with an overnight. (Ideally, the overnight would be via self-supported tenting.)

A good swimmin' hole would be worth stopping at.

A museum out in the country to take a quick tour of and have a quality snack at might apply.

Just lookin' for ideas.

I've always wondered about this kind of thing, but a couple new bike programs have maybe made me think of it more.

Rapha (bike clothes and mag maker) is supposedly searching for Epic Rides in the USA to sponsor and call out.

Rando rider and publisher Jan Heine and friends just started CyclosMountagnards, a new group looking for Challenge Routes of distinction. Then there are the awarded Epic Rides of the IMBA.

Now, in Michigan road riding we have our famous organized tours which aim to use great routes. But these seem to emphasize pleasant paved roads and big enough pleasant lunch areas. Can we go for more?

When I think of a Rapha or CM route in Michigan I tend to consider the NW corner. But maybe there's a sweet sleeper route down in the southern part...

Note, the idea of "best" for this mission might well not qualify for a Rapha or a CM or for a great org group ride. For this challenge, we're focusing on: roads, nature, culture-stops. Let's see how near we can find it to Lansing!

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