Happy New Year! Weather is great today on the lakeshore! Temps peaked at 52 degrees and most of the snow melted overnight with the strong south winds. Tomorrow (1-1-11) should also be as nice until the cold front comes through. Take advantage of the nice weather and get out and ride!
The photos shown above were taken on my normal 8 mile ride from home to the North Pier and back.
As you may be aware, Spring Lake Township and Crockery Township are in the process of developing a new regional non-motorized pathway with other municipalities called the North Bank Trail (NBT). The NBT is an 18-mile pathway primarily along the old Grand Trunk Railroad stretching from Spring Lake, MI to Coopersville, MI providing a link between the Grand Rapids area and the Lake Michigan shoreline as well as offering a connection to other established regional trails. Phase 1 of the NBT is a 3.25 mile section from Fruitport Road to 130th Avenue that is scheduled to commence construction in July of 2011 and be completed in October. Once completed, the NBT will provide an alternative mode of transportation to residents of northern Ottawa County, an excellent venue for exercise, safe routes to school, and attract new tourists.
The on-again off-again Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail seems to have come alive again. This trail would serve as an important link between Muskegon and the Hart-Montague Trail. The plan seemed to have died prematurely as matching funds dried up before work could be started. However, they seem to have now secured the Fred Meijer matching funds and construction may start early in 2011. More news here.
There was a very nice article in yesterday's Grand Haven Tribune about Love Inc's bicycle ministry. In addition to giving away reconditioned bikes to those in need, they are also giving away bicycle helmets along with the bikes. Surprisingly, not all recipients want the helmets. Here is the link.
Shown above is the route of US Bicycle Route 35 through Ferrysburg. It comes from the south along Lakeshore Ave. and Sheldon Dr. in Grand Haven, eventually crossing the Grand River next to US 31 on the bike/pedestrian walkway, through Wm. Ferry Park, along Pine St., then left on 3rd St., round the turn onto 174th Ave., then left on Dogwood Dr. just before Leppinks Grocery Store. Dogwood Dr. goes North and eventually merges with 180th Ave., then left on Hickory and past Black Lake towards Muskegon.
The Grand Haven newspaper today had a nice story about how the Ferrysburg City Council supports the interstate bicycle route that goes along the Michigan shoreline, commonly known as Route 35. This route goes only a few blocks from my house. Nifty! For more details on Route 35, follow this link: http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/nbrn/usbikewaysystem.cfm
Colorburst 2010 was nearly perfect. Temperatures in the mid to upper 50's, no winds, clear skies, great food, good friends. What else could you ask for? They put on a fantastic feed. Breakfast was pancakes, blueberry or strawberry syrup, and hot cocoa, OJ or coffee. Joe, Jan and I rode the shorter 17 mile route today. There were a few hills, but the downhill ride was a good reward for the work going up each of them. The trees were nearly at their peak, with lots of reds and yellows. What else can I say?
Bikes are all over Mackinac Island. The tour guide told us that there was a fudge shop in almost every shopping area. I think that there is a bike rental shop in EVERY shopping area - right next to the fudge shop. ;-) There are signs everywhere warning bikes to slow down. The tour guide also told us that the local police had speed traps for cyclists. My guess is that the horses and horse-drawn carriages don' t speed much on the island. Guess what! The police ride bikes too.
The top photo shows the Grand Hotel as seen from our ferry on it's approach to the Island. It is VERY Grand! The second photo shows Gayle and I resting on the front porch of the Grand Hotel after arriving. And the third photo above shows my bike in the largest hotel parking lot on the Island. There are bike racks and bikes all over the Island. You better know where you left your bike or you might have to search through thousands of bikes to find it.
Gayle and I decided to attend a mini-class reunion of her Parchment (MI) High School class on Mackinac Island this past weekend. We stayed in the Grand Hotel for 2 nights, and of course, I brought my bike along, as there are only 3 means of transportation on the Island: walking, horse-drawn carriages and BIKES! The photos above show the Arnold ferry arriving at St. Ignace and my bike on the back of the ferry during the 15 minute crossing. I debated whether to rent an Island bike or bring my own. The Island bikes are either single-speed, 3-speed or mountain bikes. My last experience with a rental wasn't that great, so I decided that $8 for a round trip transportation of my bike was well worth it. Stay tuned for more photos and my commentary on bikes on Mackinac Island.
Here is a photo of me in front of the Country Dairy north of New Era. Notice that I am wearing last year's Colorburst T-shirt, one of my few long-sleeve cycling tee's. Colorburst was my first organized ride after moving from Nebraska to Michigan last year. It is also one of my favorites, so far. Hope to see everyone at Lowell again this year. Look for the guy wearing the bright red & white NEBRASKA cycling jersey. This weekend Gayle and I are traveling to Mackinac Island, so look for photos from the island soon.
Four of us from our company cycling group endured the cool, wet weather on Saturday morning to ride north from Montague on the Hart-Montague Trail. The photo above shows Pam and Jan stopping on the trail ahead of me between Montague and Rothbury. Three of us met Jamie in Rothbury and cycled farther north to the Country Dairy near New Era. We had a wonderful breakfast then headed back south again. Three of us put in about 23 miles of a very nice underused trail.
There were actually 6 of us in attendance Tuesday evening at the Friends of the North Bank Trail meeting in Nunica. Lucas brought everyone up to date on the status of construction. Apparently there are still a few people and organizations that they are still negotiating with for the right-of-way. Lucas told us that construction to 130th Street will likely begin in late April next year.
This is the current east end of the North Bank Trail in Spring Lake, MI. Apparently, there are grants and easements for the trail to extend a few miles farther east, but nothing is getting done. Perhaps the Friends of the North Bank Trail meeting on Tuesday at 5:30 can shed some light on this.
It is time to sign up for Colorburst 2010! This year's ride is on Saturday, October 9. Check in is from 8 am to 9:30 am in Fallasburg County Park, 2.5 miles north of Lowell, MI. There are 17, 30, 62 and 100 mile route options to choose from. I did 30 last year, but will may do 17 this year if people from work show up and ride. The breakfast is great and they usually have a good lunch afterwards also. Follow this link for more information.
Saturday morning was our scheduled company wellness group Road Ride for August. There are only a couple other road cyclists where I work besides me. However, only Jan showed up for the ride. I rode down from Grand Haven and met her at Kirk Park, on Lakeshore Ave. between Grand Haven and Holland. The two of us cycled south to Tunnel Park, on the north edge of Holland, then turned around and headed back. The top photo above shows the "tunnel" between the parking lot and the beach. It goes through the sand dunes instead of over or around. The bottom photo shows a cute painted pig that someone had next to the road for their property address sign. I ended up with about 39 miles and Jan, about 21 miles.
The "Friends of the North Bank Trail" in Spring Lake, MI are supposed to have a monthly meeting at the Crockery Township Hall on the 4th Tuesday of every month. I showed up promptly at 5:20 pm, about 10 minutes before the scheduled meeting time. There were 2 people there, a lady and a guy who was doing some repair work inside one of the Hall's meeting rooms. There were signs posted for this meeting, and the room was open. However, after chatting with the repair guy for about 20 minutes, no one else showed up. I never saw the lady again after entering the building. Hopefully, this was a rare summer thing, as I will try to attend again next month in September.
June 14, 2010 update: The Township has a purchase option from Forest Lake Estates for an easement for the North Bank Trail bike path extension project. Due to the timely nature of the grants received for the project, the purchase option needs to be acted on.
May 10, 2010 update: Spring Lake Township has an option to acquire an easement through the Forest Lake Estates Mobile Home Park. The option was acquired as part of our efforts to develop our section of the North Bank Trail (from Fruitport Road to 144th Ave). Since the option agreement was signed, the Township has been successful in receiving grant funding to cover 60% of the cost of completing this section of the trail. More information needs to be received before the option is completed.
I have added a couple of new links under Western Michigan Trails on the right side of this blog. One is the Grand River Greenway and the other is the North Bank Trail in Spring Lake Township. Both are new trails in this area of Michigan, just entering the development stages. I hope to add news stories and additional links to these trails as the development progresses. The North Ottawa Weekly newspaper mentions both projects in the July 17-18 edition under the article about City Beach restroom improvements. The MNRTF (Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund) allocated $2.3 million in a grant to fund several projects in Ottawa County earlier this year.
Seems like all I post is boat or lighthouse photos. Well, there are a lot of both of these up here in Michigan. This past weekend I went on a Pier to Pier bike ride, from my house to the end of the South Pier, then all the way around to the end of the North Pier, then back home. This amounts to about 18 miles, mostly because you have to cross the Grand River over the drawbridge next to US 31. On this ride, I also got to see the drawbridge go up and down, and got a video of it from a cyclists perspective.
I went on my usual 8 mile ride to the North Pier and back again after work. It didn't seem foggy until I got right up next to Lake Michigan. The first photo shows the lighthouse on the South Pier across the Grand River channel. You can barely see other walkers on the pier. The bottom photo shows the North Pier almost back to shore. I had to cycle halfway back to shore along the pier to get this shot. From the end of the pier, the shoreline was invisible.
It must be summer! Tourists invaded Grand Haven this weekend for the annual kite festival. The beach must have had several thousand college kids. It looked like Spring Break in Florida or Texas! Gayle and I drove past the beach after church on Sunday just to see a few of the kites. We snapped a few shots out the car window as we weren't going to find any parking within 10 blocks of the beach and boardwalk. Later Sunday afternoon I went for a bike ride to the North Pier and shot a few more photos toward the South Pier and beach.
After work yesterday, I cycled over to Spring Lake Central Park, where the local Ride of Silence was to begin at 7 pm. I met my colleague Jeremy and his fiance, Misti, at the park. Spring Lake's ride was one of 32 across the state of Michigan, and one of over 300 across the country. This was the 4th year in Spring Lake. They had a very nice turnout, with 87 registered cyclists, including a couple bike cops. We had police block the major intersections along the route, and everyone was very quiet during the entire 7.5 mile route.
I went for a 15.5 mile ride this afternoon after Gayle and I did some shopping in Muskegon and Grand Haven. I wanted to inspect the Spring Lake Trail again before tomorrow's "Family Ride". Didn't see any problems. I went out to State Road and up 148th to Fruitport Road, then back down along Fruitport Road into Spring Lake again. The top photo is crossing over Pettys Bayou near the Spring Lake Country Club. The second and third photos are near the Village Cove Marina and Barrett Boat Works in Spring Lake. I was thinking of Photo-Shopping "Go Big Red" where it says "Go Blue" on the boat. The last photo shows where the trail cuts in through the Holiday Inn parking lot and the North Boardwalk under the Spring Lake bridge (where I took the photo). The trail actually squeezes past the round picnic table on the boardwalk near the bow of the large boat.
We visited my mother for her 90th birthday last month. While we were in Manitowoc, WI we drove around a bit to see the sights. One interesting statue outside of their local museum was this old-time cyclist. Cool!
Here are a couple photos from my bike ride on March 16. The weather was just starting to warm up during the week, and with Daylight Savings time there was plenty of time in the evening after work.
These photos were taken at PJ Hoffmaster State Park, just to the north of us about 7 miles. It is an easy ride there and back and there were actual hills within the park. (sand hills - but they still count).
Here are a couple photos of the trail conditions in Grand Haven. The top photo is near Chinook Pier in the downtown area of Grand Haven. It looks like whoever plowed this trail was drunk or just not very observant. You can see that the trail curves to the right, while the plow went straight through on the grass. The lower photo is on Harbor Island and shows much better conditions.
Yes, there is still snow on the ground, but the roads are clear and "most" of the bike trails are also clear. By most, I mean that some of the trails and sidewalks in the city limits have been plowed - sort of. The trail/sidewalks in Grand Haven township are another story altogether. There is probably 6 to 8 inches of snow still on the E-W sidewalk/trail along Comstock St. in south Grand Haven (in the township, not the city). Michigan is sorta weird about townships. All they were good for back in Nebraska was a place to vote. Up here they have different zoning laws and elected officials in each township. They also have counties, but it doesn't seem like counties are as important as townships.
The photo above was taken in William Ferry Park, just north of the drawbridge across the Grand River, and next to Spring Lake. To get from Ferrysburg, where I live, to Grand Haven, you HAVE to take the bike path over the drawbridge. It's not too bad - just a little narrow. If you see bikes coming across from the other side, you can time yourself so that you meet them in the wide spots on either side of the drawbridge proper.
I was able to get out in the neighborhood Thursday evening and got in 2.5 miles. Saturday, I did 9.2 miles, and today (Sunday) I did 7.8 miles. I have many more photos to post so check back later.
It's that time of year! Most of us are snowed-in, just dreaming about warmer summer weather and cycling without a heavy coat or tights. However, it is time to think about sending in your registration for one of the popular multi-day rides this summer. In fact it is too late now to register for PALM (Pedal Across Lower Michigan). They already have their limit of 700 riders. It is getting late for the Michigander Ride, but I think that this is still open. The Michigander looks very nice this year, with routes to Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island.
I doubt if I will take in either of these rides. Since I have started a new job, I only have 2 weeks of vacation this year. My first choice is likely the NUMB Ride (Nebraska United Methodist Bike ride for Hunger) in late June. A lot of my old friends are riding in this, and the route is in eastern Nebraska, which is much better than out in the panhandle. I still have to coordinate this with Gayle, and figure out whether I am driving or flying back to Nebraska.