Bicycle Around Lake Superior!

Day 1:  Day 2:  Day 3:  Day 4:  Day 5:  Day 6:  Day 7:  Day 8:  Day 9:  Day 10:  Day 11:  Day 12:  Day 13 & 14:  Day 15:  Day 16:  Day 17:  Day 18:
 18 Days in 2008
Wednesday August 27- Saturday Sept 13

In summary:

Comments from Connie: We had an exciting time, we saw the Lake from every angle, ate some wonderful meals, and saw many kinds of roads on this 18 day, 1,300 mile trip from August 27th to Sept 13th, 2008.  Not surprisingly, some of the best road side bike paths and Lake level views of the Lake were right here in the Upper Peninsula! (And we can ride with our husbands and family and friends here!)

Would I do it again? Yes, I would love to do the Southern shore of Lake Superior in United States again. Say from Grand Portage on the US-Canada border to Duluth, to Red Cliff, Ashland, Wakefield, Bergland, Silver City, Ontonagon, Houghton, up the Keweenaw and back, L'Anse, Marquette, Munising, Grand Marais, Tahquamenon Falls, Paradise, including North to Whitefish Point to visit the museum and the beautiful sand beach, back to Paradise, then on to my most FAVORITE section of the trip that hugs the Lake Superior shoreline; from Paradise to just South of Sault Ste Marie on the Curley Lewis Road, also called the Lakeshore/Shoreline Road. This would be about a 750 mile trip with mostly nice wide road side bike paths, good for a road bike.

However, I am not so sure I would readily bike the Canadian North shore again with the very narrow road side bike paths.

The Southern shoreline had mostly wide bike paths on the road sides good for road bikes, where as the Northshore road side bike paths were often too small for my comfort. Now, remember, I am more accustomed to mountain bike riding on single track bike paths or old railway paths in the peaceful solitude of the local forest lands. The other gals both have years of experience on road bikes so perhaps they were more comfortable with the minimal road side bike paths and the traffic on roads.

If I did the Northshore again, I would prefer my mountain bike where I could jump off the roadway onto the gravel shoulder with ease when big trucks got too close and could hop onto city sidewalks in the some of the towns when their bike paths disappeared in traffic. If I took my mountain bike, I would change the regular fat, knobby mtn bike tires for slimmer, smoother, more road friendly tires on my bike if I took another trip around the Lake. I would have loved the dual suspension from my mountain bike on some of those cracked and bumpy roads. Perhaps the other cyclers did not notice these cracks and bumps; Julie's bikes were carbon.  Also, I sure could have used the extra easy gears on my mtn bike peddling up those hills!  I would have felt so much safer riding in the rain with the disc brakes on my mtn bike rather than the friction brakes that are on road bikes which don't hold when wet.
Of course, it probably would have taken maybe an hour or longer each day to go the same mileage, since a mtn bike doesn't keep up with a road bike on the flat road. But what is a little extra time if it gives you so many more safety options? Perhaps you could make up for slower mtn bikes because of their disc brakes; that is, a person would ride a mountain bike in light rain, depending on visibility conditions, when the loss of a road bike's friction brakes might keep a road bike off the road in rain.

One friend said after we returned, "I would love to take my family on a bicycle trip around the Lake". To which I answered "not!" Those Northshore roads with little to no road side bike path (2 foot or less wide) are just too dangerous to risk taking light weight riders on who may be totally blown over by the huge mining and logging trucks that whoosh by just inches away from your bike. It takes a heavier rider to keep the bike on the narrow path when the big trucks fly by.  Many of these trucks do not move towards the center of the road when they pass by; some by choice, others because they could be meeting traffic or can't see around a bend in the road and don't move over. And these trucks often are following one after the other, so just as you are trying to recover from one truck's shock wave, another truck is immediately behind that truck, and another!  I don't know how you can get away from that risk until wide bike paths are made. I don't see that happening any time soon as the narrowest road side paths are on high embanked roads with no shoulder room to add a wider path.

I would just love to see a bike-hike path all around the Lake! In Canada, there is the railroad that runs for a long way near the shore line; a path along side that railway would be wonderful... but we would miss all those hills!!! eh?  Have fun on your rides around America folks! And if you find yourselves in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, be sure check out our many bike trails here!
Connie Julien

Comments from Julie: "Would I do it again? YES, but would like to do other bike trips first before I would do the Lake Superior Circle Tour....Reason why I would do it again is because of the beautiful scenery, meeting wonderful people, food were great and the accommodations where we stayed were nice."

Comments from Mary: "Yes, I would do the bike trip again. It was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my life and it was awesome to do it for my 60th. birthday! However, you can't really repeat something in the same way. Our trip was very special because of the spontaneous way it happened; each day being a fresh and new adventure. Doing it the second time would make for expectations because of having "done it" before. The newness wouldn't be there. Of course, that could be the reason for doing it again! Also, we had the best weather ever for Lake Superior! I'd do it again knowing that it wouldn't downpour each day. I guess this is what happens to your thinking about a "redo" when you've had "beyond-expectations" weather for 18 days! Lastly, riding +50-+60-+70 and two +80 mile days every day for 18 days without any injuries was a miracle! I took 2 Advil one day after getting a sore neck from an overstuffed hotel pillow. If we could repeat that feat, I'd redo the ride in a heartbeat! ~!(: ) "

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