Circumnavigating lower Lake Michigan by Metra, bike, ferry and bus


Sunset near Muskegon, MI.

[This piece also ran in Newcity magazine.]

One reason I’m glad I’ve cycled coast-to-coast a couple of times is that I feel like I’ve got nothing to prove when it comes to bike touring. As long as I’ve got my bicycle with me and get a few miles of pedaling in, it doesn’t matter what other non-car transportation modes I use – it’s a bike trip. Or at least a trip worth taking.

Case in point is a circuit of lower Lake Michigan I took a few years ago. While I covered a lot of ground with my bicycle in tow, I didn’t actually ride much more than a hundred miles. But this actually enhanced the experience.

Instead of my usual death-march mileage, the relaxed pace left me time to take walks in the woods and hang out on the beach before hitting the road to the next destination. Of course, a well-disciplined cycle tourist would leave early and get the day’s pedaling done before sightseeing. Maybe next time I’ll do it this way.

This excursion was inspired by a Time Out Chicago issue about Lake Michigan getaways and a yen to escape the big city and catch some sunsets over water. I was also curious to try the high-speed ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon, MI. I’d already ridden the entire perimeter of the lake in stages before so this jaunt was about R & R rather than breaking new ground.

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