The Chainlink

Hey All,

I will be traveling with 2 other people from Chicago to Detroit heading through Michigan City, IN; Goshen, IN; Kalamazoo, MI; Jackson, MI; and Ypsilanti, MI along the way. These are the stops we picked because this is where we found places to stay through warmshowers.org (plus a friend in Ypsi and my grandparents in Goshen). I am finalizing the route with little help. I was wondering if there was anybody who can share any advice navigating between these cities/towns.

The first day will be pretty easy because we're starting in South Chicago and from there we can jump on the Burnham Greenway to the Pennsy Greenway to the Erie Lackawanna Trail, etc. It's a fun ride and I did the first half of it and turned back not too long ago.

Any advice on routes for any of the other legs? Otherwise I'll pretty much be following cues from google maps (and a little advice from friends and folks from warm showers). In any case, I'll let you all know how it goes.

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Oh my.  I want to go.  But this takes so much planning and I need a few days.  Epic.  Good luck!

Looks awesome. You'll have a blast.

Unfortunately I have no advice but from experience on other trips I think it is well worth putting in some hours looking at Google Street View to help decide whether Google's default suggestions are ideal or whether some other routes may be more hospitable to biking. A little time consuming but well worth it.

I like the League of Michigan Bicyclists route across the state, but that runs south of your route. Here's info on a route that a few dozen people took on the way to the US Social Forum in 2010:

http://spokenheartcollective.org/?page_id=272

Have fun! 

It's a little south-east of Kalamazoo, but Falling Waters trail starts in Concord and goes to Jackson(turning into Inner-City Trail). Worth a view/ride if you're passing by there.

From the Indiana border to Kalamazoo you have two choices;  either take the shorter(10-!5 miles)route through Dowagiac and the farm country up to Kalamazoo which can be tedious because it has little to no services along the way, or along the lake shore (USBR 35) taking Red Arrow Hghway to S. Haven then the Kal-Haven trail to Kalamazoo.  That is a very scenic, pleasant, although longer route.  From Kalamazoo there are a couple of choices depending on where you stay, but after the KRVT terminates in Comstock, you can follow MIchigan Ave to Battle Creek and beyond to Marshall.  Once in Marshall pick a route on the county roads (they are all pretty nice rides) to Concord and take the aforementioned Falling Waters Trail through Jackson, then the Ann Arbor Road is not a bad trip into Ann Arbor. I'm done there.

Get or download the MDOT maps for the Southwest region and the "Metro Southeast" region, they have each road in the state color coded for its desirability:http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,1607,7-151-9615_11223-146053--,00.html

Shoot me an e-mail when you are traveling, I'll help escort if I'm around.

Marc

Brilliant! :-)

Marc A. Irwin said:

From the Indiana border to Kalamazoo you have two choices;  either take the shorter(10-!5 miles)route through Dowagiac and the farm country up to Kalamazoo which can be tedious because it has little to no services along the way, or along the lake shore (USBR 35) taking Red Arrow Hghway to S. Haven then the Kal-Haven trail to Kalamazoo.  That is a very scenic, pleasant, although longer route.  From Kalamazoo there are a couple of choices depending on where you stay, but after the KRVT terminates in Comstock, you can follow MIchigan Ave to Battle Creek and beyond to Marshall.  Once in Marshall pick a route on the county roads (they are all pretty nice rides) to Concord and take the aforementioned Falling Waters Trail through Jackson, then the Ann Arbor Road is not a bad trip into Ann Arbor. I'm done there.

Get or download the MDOT maps for the Southwest region and the "Metro Southeast" region, they have each road in the state color coded for its desirability:http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,1607,7-151-9615_11223-146053--,00.html

Shoot me an e-mail when you are traveling, I'll help escort if I'm around.

Marc

Thanks for the maps and the rest of the tips. Much of it lines up with my plans so seems like I'm on the right track! I'd definitely like to meet up along the way Marc. Where about do you live?

I'm in Kalamazoo.  You'd be welcome to crash here for a night if I am around.  I am gone for the next few days for the Waterfront Film Fest in S. Haven, I'm camping at the Van Buren State park until Saturday.  I expect to be home and available from Sunday on. Let me know when you are coming through.

Marc

For the most part this ride was really great. We rode about 55-70 miles each day totaling about 350 miles over 6 days. I would definitely recommend the route through northern IN through South Bend to Goshen and then up to Portage MI via the Pumpkinvine Trail. One town I would suggest skipping is Chelsea MI. 3 people either yelled at us or harassed us in their vehicles when we were doing nothing wrong. Many other people gave us very little room and seemed to disdain our presence generally. Otherwise it was a great ride. I'd be happy to share more details with anybody who is interested.

It's funny that you ran into that reception in Chelsea.   Chelsea plays host to one of the biggest charity rides in the state, One Helluva Ride.  It will be held July 12th this year.

Marc

Well technically it wasn't in Chelsea, but a little north on Waterloo Rd.

I am organizing a fundraising ride that goes from Chicago to Three Rivers, MI (30 miles south of Kzoo). Here is the route we take http://www.mapmyride.com/us/hammond-in/tour-l-tavor-route-66565020. I can't offer much advice about anything after that except once you get to Ann Arbor/Dexter area you will want to take Huron River Drive and stop at Hudson Mills Metropark and the Dexter Cider Mill if it's open for fresh cider and doughnuts.

Sounds like a great ride!

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