Brushes with Greatness: the 23rd Annual Michigander

28 07 2014

The 23rd Annual Michigander Bicycle Tour showcased some of the greatest trails, back roads and towns of Michigan. We had seven wonderful days of biking on the Pere Marquette State Rail Trail, the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail, the Betsie Valley Rail Trail, Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, Leelanau Trail and TART Trail. Celebrity sightings, wildlife, unbeatable views of cherry tree orchards and Lake Michigan are just a few of the many highlights from this year’s ride.

Throughout the ride, bicyclists were able to explore Pure Michigan on trails and back roads. Lush trees canopied over the trails, providing some much appreciated shade on the sunnier days. Michigander riders conquered steep hills to experience surreal views of miles of cherry orchards, and the cool breeze from Lake Michigan swept along the TART trail. Pedaling through the route, riders were able to meet new friends and reconnect with old pals. The ride has become a tradition for families and friends, who reunite for a week of making new memories and reminiscence.

Riders flocked into each of the picturesque towns at night, eager to absorb local flavor. The towns got a boost in tourism, with riders visiting local eateries, bars, ice cream shops and boutiques. In Leland, we had a brush with fame with a sighting of Tim Allen. Singer Alison Krauss and her band were spotted exploring downtown Traverse City before her concert at Interlochen.

Consistent with the sights and sounds of Northern Michigan, a few riders stumbled upon a brown bear passing over the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail. Their hearts were pounding and adrenaline’s surged with this rare encounter, but were thrilled to have captured it all on camera! Riders were able to catch a glimpse of fish in hidden creeks and the Harrietta Fish Hatchery. Sailboats and kayakers lined the horizons of Lake Michigan and brilliant blue waters glistened alongside the boardwalk in Traverse City.

7-day riders crossing the finish line!

7-day riders crossing the finish line!

Veteran Michigander riders were awed by the improvement of trails, as Michigander’s of past rode the rough and rocky terrain of the Pere Marquette Rail Trail. The improvement of the trail system over the decade has these Michigander riders coming back for more. The recent signing of the Pure Michigan bill by Governor Snyder will translate into more trail improvements, along with towns creating businesses that cater to trail user’s needs. The hospitality of each town we rode through showed the support of the trail system throughout Michigan and the potential opportunities for economic growth.

We are honored to continue the tradition of exploring Michigan from a bicycle seat. Be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s ride, July 11-17. Thank you to everyone who rode the 23rd Annual Michigander Bicycle Tour this year and for supporting the Michigan trail system!

Cherry Trees, Lake Michigan and Hills! Michigander Day 4

16 07 2014

Welcome to #Michigander day 4! Riders were in for incredible weather as they tackled the hills of Leelanau County. The cherry trees were exploding with bright red cherries, and the top of the hills provided impeccable views of the land. Sunny, blue skies and nearly 70 degrees made today’s ride unbeatable.


Cherry orchards were not the only highlight of the ride! SAG stop one was at Tandem Cider, where we were able to taste their goods. Bicyclists were able to ride the Leelanau and TART Trails, which provided views of Lake Michigan and the picturesque towns of Suttons Bay and Traverse City.

Traverse City is bustling with quaint shops, wineries, breweries and, of course, pie! Sail boats lined Lake Michigan despite the colder temperatures. Tomorrow’s ride will take us to Cadillac! Happy Riding!

From Frankfort to Leland we go!

15 07 2014

Riders were in for a cold, rainy day today on #Michigander14! The brave riders ventured out into the wind and rain and cycled their way into Leland. Along the way, SAG stops offer a welcomed break with water and some snacks.

Most of today’s ride was along the back roads, with the exception of the beautiful 10-mile section along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Many riders stopped along the for a hot cup of soup and a hot cup of coffee to warm their souls and legs to finish the ride into the historic Leland.

Riders were troopers and rode into Leland, and were greeted by hot showers and a spaghetti dinner prepared by the Leland High School senior class. Plenty of desserts and hot coffee were offered to riders as well.

#Michigander14 riders are looking forward to exploring the picturesque downtown and the shores of Lake Michigan.

Tomorrow’s route is lined with cherry tree orchards; rolling hills will provide a bit of a challenge for bicyclists. Sunny skies will provide a beautiful ride for riders! Happy riding!

Rain or Shine, We Still Ride!

15 07 2014

We had BEAUTIFUL weather on yesterday’s ride from Mesick to Frankfort. Blue and sunny skies paved the way for a great day for Michigander cyclists. The 45.7 mile ride into Frankfort passed through Crystal Mountain, where cyclists were greeted by the Crystal Mountain staff. Lunch was available. The Alpine Slide down Crystal Mountain was a hit for cyclists, both young and old, whizzed down the mountain.

Riders hopped on the Betsie Valley Trail and rode into Beulah, where the Betsie Valley Trail Friend Group welcomed riders with baked goods, fruit, water and Gatorade. Crystal Lake provided a beautiful view and break for riders. The trail transitioned into a smooth, paved trail the rest of the way into Frankfort.

The sun shined and the skies were blue for riders as they moved into the campsite in Frankfort. A picturesque downtown and crystal waters awaited to be explored as the sun set. Shopping, saddle boards, kayacking and swimming in Lake Michigan provided be a much needed break for riders after this long day.

Riders woke up to a chilly and rainy morning as they cycled into Leland today. Day three of the ride takes riders to Leland mainly on road, with 10 miles on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Happy Trails!

The 23rd Annual Michigander has begun!

13 07 2014

The 23rd Annual Michigander Bicycle Tour began with 2-day and 7-day riders cycling the Pere Marquette State Rail Trail, making their way from Farwell to Reed City. A beautiful pure Michigan summer night greeted Friday night campers in Farwell.

Saturday Morning came and the ride was smooth sailing on the paved Pere Marquette State Rail Trail. Today’s 35.9 mile ride passed through Evart, where the themed SAG stop was Hoppin’ along the Bunny Trail. Water, Gatorade, salt-water taffies, and bunny galore made a nice rest stop for Michigander riders.

Pere Marquette State Rail Trail

Pere Marquette State Rail Trail

The rain held out until Saturday evening in Reed City, where 6-day riders checked in and went to their safety meetings. Heavy rain continued throughout the night, but cleared up for a beautiful day of riding on Sunday.

On Sunday morning, riders started the nearly 60 mile trek to Mesick with cooler temperatures, riding along the White Pine Trail and finishing up the ride on back roads. The Harrietta Garden Club provided riders with delicious baked goods and fun at the Harrietta Fish Hatchery.


After dinner, showers and a riders meeting, Mary Adams from the International Headlands Dark Sky Park showed riders the constellations of the high sky, with entertaining and fascinating storytelling.

Tomorrow, riders tackle the 45.7 mile trek to Frankfort on the Betsie Valley Trail! Happy riding!

Michigander Registration ends 7/7

23 06 2014

Are you looking for an unforgettable summer getaway? The 2014 Michigander Bicycle Tour is the perfect vacation for bicyclists, adventurers, trail-lovers and more, as we explore the magnificent summers that Michigan offers.

This July 12-18, bicyclists will tour pure Michigan from two wheels, choosing between 2-, 6- and 7-day ride options. The family friendly 2-day ride and 7-day tour takes off in Farwell on the paved Pere Marquette Trail, while the 6-day ride continues to the Fred Meijer White Pine State Park, the Betsie Valley Trail, Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, Leelanau Trail, and Tart Trail. The ride includes baggage transport, snack and water stops, two meals a day and evening entertainment at campsites.

Steve_Dennis Pics 295

Courtesy of MTGA.


Riders will pedal through award-winning scenery, including Leland, voted second “Best Place to Watch a Sunset” by USA Today and Sleeping Bear Dunes, winner of Good Morning America’s “The Most Beautiful Place in America”.

This year’s “True North” bicycle tour will showcase some of the most popular towns in Michigan. Thousands travel to Traverse City and Leland during all four seasons–they are both well-known for their restaurants, wineries, breweries, boutiques and beaches. Cadillac is home to nearly 500,000 acres of state and national forests, whose residents take pride in the natural wonders that their home offers. Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Michigan and is rich in history and breathtaking views.

Are you ready to ride with us? Registration ends on July 7. You won’t want to miss this beautiful ride!

Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers- “Enter the Pampered Zone”

12 06 2014

If you don’t have your own tent, Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers is the way to go! “Enter the Pampered Zone” and Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers will take ALL of the work out of setting up camp for the night!

Kick up your feet after a long day of riding in his comfortable chairs in the “Pamper Zone”. Bubba and his team will take care of your bags every morning and night, and set up and take down the tent he provides throughout the ride. A fresh towel each day will greet you at your tent, along with snacks and ice cold beverages.

What’s included in his pampering?
– Top quality tent with daily set-up and take-down
– Air mattress
– Fresh bath towel and wash cloth every day
– Baggage transportation
– “The PAMPERED Zone”
– Cold drinks and snacks after riding
– Deluxe camp chair
– Cell phone charging
– Bicycle floor pump
– Bicycle work stand
– Lots of laughs
– Bubba!

Courtesy of: Bubba's Pampered Pedalers

Courtesy of: Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers

Bubba and his team do everything for you but pedal your bike, and his charisma will keep you entertained throughout the week. Check out Bubba’s services for your awesome #Michigander14 experience!