Planet   Backpacker
  "From flying monkey gods and amorous donkeys to tales of a bus caravan speeding through a terrorist-infested desert, Downes puts you right there with him."-- Ben Gohs, Charlevoix Courier
  "From flying monkey gods and amorous donkeys to tales of a bus caravan speeding through a terrorist-infested desert, Downes puts you right there with him."-- Ben Gohs, Charlevoix Courier

Cycling Guide: Biking Northern Michigan

The Best & Safest Routes • Traverse City • Petoskey • Leelanau/Benzie Counties • Lake Michigan Coast & More
funny stories, cycling tips, history and dining recommendations, "Biking Northern Michigan" will have you itching to ride one of the top cycling destinations in the world.
    When it comes to cycling, Michigan is at or near the top of the list in America with 109 rail-trail conversions totaling 1,311 miles.
   But as any cyclist in the state knows, the "best of the best" trails and routes are found in the northern lower peninsula, where the backroads of Traverse City, Petoskey and Leelanau & Benzie County are music to the ears of adventurers on two wheels.
   Blessed with an abundance of rail trails, Northern Michigan is also rich with forests, wildlife, beaches, lakes, quiet roads and some of the state's best cuisine, wineries and brewpubs.
  Veteran cyclist, traveler and award-winning writer Robert Downes guides you down the region's best and safest bike routes, including such offbeat treasures as:
  • Epic rides to the Mackinac Straits from Gaylord, Harbor Springs and Alpena.
  • Beaver Island and Mackinac Island.
  • The backroads of Benzie and Leelanau counties.
  • Getting the best out of Traverse City's TART system and Petoskey's Wheelway… and much more!
funny stories, cycling tips, history and dining recommendations, "Biking Northern Michigan" will have you itching to ride one of the top cycling destinations in the world.
    When it comes to cycling, Michigan is at or near the top of the list in America with 109 rail-trail conversions totaling 1,311 miles.
   But as any cyclist in the state knows, the "best of the best" trails and routes are found in the northern lower peninsula, where the backroads of Traverse City, Petoskey and Leelanau & Benzie County are music to the ears of adventurers on two wheels.
   Blessed with an abundance of rail trails, Northern Michigan is also rich with forests, wildlife, beaches, lakes, quiet roads and some of the state's best cuisine, wineries and brewpubs.
  Veteran cyclist, traveler and award-winning writer Robert Downes guides you down the region's best and safest bike routes, including such offbeat treasures as:
  • Epic rides to the Mackinac Straits from Gaylord, Harbor Springs and Alpena.
  • Beaver Island and Mackinac Island.
  • The backroads of Benzie and Leelanau counties.
  • Getting the best out of Traverse City's TART system and Petoskey's Wheelway… and much more!

   Packed with funny stories, cycling tips, history and dining recommendations, "Biking Northern Michigan" will have you ready to ride one of America's top cycling destinations.
   The updated, second edition includes more than 40 bike routes and 72 maps and photos throughout northern Lower Michigan.  Spend the entire summer bicycling more than 1,400 miles of the routes in the book.

  Veteran cyclist and traveler Bob Downes guides you down the region's 'best and safest bike' routes, including:

  • Traverse City's TART Trail system, the Betsie Valley Trail, Leelanau Trail and Petoskey's Wheelway Trail.
  • Epic rides to the Mackinac Straits from Gaylord, Harbor Springs and Alpena.
  • Beaver Island and Mackinac Island.
  • The backroads of Benzie and Leelanau counties.
  • The best rides around the big inland lakes: Crystal Lake, Glen Lake, Torch Lake, Walloon Lake, Lake Charlevoix  and much more.

  • The 92-mile White Pine Trail from Grand Rapids to Cadillac, plus advice on how to  ride from Cadillac to Traverse City.

  • NEW!  Check out "The Great Northern Loop," a 435-mile figure-8 route which explores the best of the region.

 Packed with funny stories, cycling tips, history and dining recommendations, "Biking Northern Michigan" will have you itching to ride one of the top cycling destinations in the world.
    When it comes to cycling, Michigan is at or near the top of the list in America with 109 rail-trail conversions totaling 1,311 miles.
   But as any cyclist in the state knows, the "best of the best" trails and routes are found in the northern lower peninsula, where the backroads of Traverse City, Petoskey and Leelanau & Benzie County are music to the ears of adventurers on two wheels.
   Blessed with an abundance of rail trails, Northern Michigan is also rich with forests, wildlife, beaches, lakes, quiet roads and some of the state's best cuisine, wineries and brewpubs.
  Veteran cyclist, traveler and award-winning writer Robert Downes guides you down the region's best and safest bike routes, including such offbeat treasures as:
  • Epic rides to the Mackinac Straits from Gaylord, Harbor Springs and Alpena.
  • Beaver Island and Mackinac Island.
  • The backroads of Benzie and Leelanau counties.
  • Getting the best out of Traverse City's TART system and Petoskey's Wheelway… and much more!

Signed copies of the expanded second edition, featuring more than 40 routes and 1,400 miles of cycling.

$14.95

Travels With My Wife

$14.95

Based on more than 30 years of cycling Northern Michigan!
Author Bob Downes
Fellow Cyclists:

  I love cycling and have had the pleasure of biking in in countries around the world, including Peru, China, Croatia, Tuscany, Spain, the Pacific Northwest, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Ireland, England and more than 1,000 miles across continental Europe.  
  But mile-for-mile nothing beats Northern Michigan as one of the best bicycling destination in the world.  
  We've got it all -- more than 1,400 miles of scenic trails and quiet roads, artful beach towns, lovely lakes and forests and a superb dining scene --  but even better -- a safe cycling experience that will have you loving life on two wheels.
  I've personally ridden every route in the book, some of them hundreds of times, going back to my days as a triathlete cycling 50-100 miles every weekend.  Only routes that I've certified as safe as well as interesting and fun have been included in "Biking Northern Michigan."
                         
 -- Your friend in cycling, Robert Downes
Maps that are easy to follow...
The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail winds through the National Lakeshore and is one of the most popular trails in the Midwest.  It includes a stop in the artful beach town of Glen Arbor.  Bring your bathing suit! Map by Robert Downes, www.planetbackpacker.net
Across the Great Plains in eastern Montana. Photo by Robert Downes, www.planetbackpacker.net
  Are you a serious cycle tourist?  My Great Northern Loop offers a 7-10 day cycling adventure that covers the very best of Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula, including the Gold Coast of Lake Michigan, the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, the Tunnel of Trees route north of Petoskey, the majestic Mackinac Straits and the 72-mile forest trail from Cheboygan to Alpena.  Plus, advice on the 140-mile route across the state, only in "Biking Northern Michigan."
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Great Rides in Northern Michigan!