The Insider’s Guide to the Best Biking Near Traverse City

Traverse City is a biking paradise, with miles upon miles of roads and trails worth exploring. We asked Tim Brick, owner of popular local bike shop, Brick Wheels, for his top picks for where to go when you’re in town.

If you’re a beginner: Any of the more than 60 miles of regional trails known as TART, or Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation, are ideal for beginners.

“For beginners, TART is an excellent way to go,” Brick said.

If you want a leisurely ride with plenty of great stops along the way: Ride the 10.5-mile paved TART Trail from Traverse City to Acme Township. The trail connects you to lots of resorts, shops and restaurants, as well as recreation areas and other trails along the way.

If you want spectacular views: “Everybody loves to ride Old Mission Peninsula,” Brick said. To cover the entire peninsula, it’s about a 40-mile round trip out and back, but Brick said there are many crossover roads that can cut the distance to something more manageable. He warns, however, that those crossover roads happen to be uphill. He advises turning back while you’re still having fun, not when you’re already sore.

If you have kids in tow: The 17-mile Leelanau Trail, part of the TART system, will take you from Traverse City to Suttons Bay. It follows former railroad corridors, with forests, farms, vineyards, lakes and ponds along the way, perfect for observing nature with the family. Because it’s on a rail bed, the maximum grade is only four percent, so it’s very flat. The Bay Area Transit Authority (BATA) has outfitted their busses with bike racks and offer trips to or from Suttons Bay, so if you get there and the return trip seems too daunting, just hop on the bus! (BATA also has bike-n-ride services to Empire and Glen Arbor.)

“Kids would have a good time on that,” Brick said.

Young riders would also find the Boardman Lake Trail ideal for its natural beauty and relatively short and easy distance.

If you’re looking to catch some air: If you’re into mountain biking, Brick said there are some decent trails in the wooded area behind the old state hospital, which has been redeveloped as The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. The Vasa Trail and Arcadia Dunes are also popular mountain biking destinations in Traverse City. Drive a little farther to experience Glacial Hills in Bellaire, another good spot.

Where’s your favorite biking spot in Michigan? Share your favorite destinations in the comments!

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Photo credit: Sheffield Tiger




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