The Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1 Inaugural Ride will bring together cycling enthusiasts for the first time on a 275-mile sightseeing trails adventure from South Haven to Port Huron. Highlighting Michigan’s multi-use trails system and back roads, the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1 Inaugural Ride cyclists will pedal through award-winning scenery in popular tourist destinations and towns off the beaten path. Riders will stay in hotels and inns along the way, flocking to each town during the evening, eager to relax, explore local flavor, culture and eateries.
The ride celebrates the opening of the trail that culminates the unification of 9 counties, 34 municipalities and 42 townships in the state’s first fully-marked destination trail and will help to feature continued national attention on the nation’s leading trail state. The seven-day, 6-night ride begins in the beautiful Lake Michigan beach town, South Haven. The route is connected by 17 individual trails, and these trails go through many popular Michigan destinations, including Kalamazoo, Jackson, Brighton and Rochester Hills. The ride ends in the historical town of Port Huron, with its picturesque views of Lake Huron.
The ride is limited to 150 cyclists.
Included with the Inaugural Ride is:
- Dipping your tire in Lake Michigan and in Lake Huron
- 5 catered breakfasts, 6 catered dinners (includes the ceremonial meals)
- Ribbon-cutting ceremony, police escort
- A pre-registration dinner the night before the tour begins
- A ceremonial breakfast on the beach at the start of the tour
- Free SAG stops, wayfinding and route marking
- Free transporting of cyclist luggage to and from recommended hotels each day
- Free secure overnight bike storage will be available
- The cost of required permits to ride the trails
- A bike maintenance support specialist is available on the route
- First Aid and emergency support services, safety planning
- Extra afternoon activity in the Auburn Hills area
- A finish line ceremony with photo opportunities and dinner in Port Huron
- Being a part of the first historical crossing of Michigan on Route One
- Wonderful SWAG surprises for the cyclists
All routes will be marked with pins and all turns will be clearly indicated. All tour participants will be invited to join our “Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1” event on Ride with GPS, which will allow you to download daily route maps and cue sheets. You will be able to use these daily routes on your mobile device in an off-line mode including turn by turn instructions if desired. Know that routes are tentative as we are tweaking them as we work with the county road commissions and police departments to ensure a great and safe ride.
All registrants will be provided with daily cue sheets with printed routes along with things to see and do along the way. This is primarily a trail ride, with some days where we utilize roads.
We also have a detailed GPS map of the route.
Note: All riders will receive an email update on the daily schedule the week of the Inaugural Ride.
Thursday, September 12th
- Riders provide their own transportation to South Haven
- In-person registration starts Thursday night
- Option to spend Thursday night in South Haven
Friday, September 13th
- Breakfast on the beach in South Haven
- Registration on the beach
- Big kickoff event, police escort
- Ribbon cutting and ride starts at 11 a.m.
- Ride 41 miles to Kalamazoo
- Dinner in Kalamazoo
- Spend the night in Kalamazoo
Saturday, September 14th
- Breakfast in Kalamazoo
- Ride 47 miles to Marshall
- Dinner in Marshall
- Spend the night in Marshall
Sunday, September 15th
- Breakfast in Marshall
- Ride 37 miles to Jackson
- Dinner in Jackson
- Spend the night in Jackson
Monday, September 16th
- Breakfast in Jackson
- Ride 55 miles to Green Oak Township
- Dinner in Green Oak Township
- Spend the night in Green Oak Township
Tuesday, September 17th
- Breakfast in Green Oak Township
- Ride 33 miles to Pontiac
- Afternoon free for extra activities we are planning
- Spend the night in Auburn Hills
Wednesday, September 18th
- Breakfast in Auburn Hills
- Ride 61 miles to Port Huron
- Big ceremonial dinner in Port Huron
- Option to spend the night in Port Huron
Thursday, September 19th
- Breakfast in Port Huron
- Optional charter bus ride back to South Haven for riders and their bikes.
All riders must make their own hotel reservations. All registrants will be emailed a list of recommended hotels. We have arranged for discounted rates, evening transportation and services to pick up your luggage daily. By staying at the recommended hotels, we will make your bike tour easy and enjoyable for you. Let us handle your luggage and extra transportation to activities.
Each cyclist on the Tour is permitted to bring one duffle bag. Keep your bag light (under 40lbs) to ensure you can carry it back and forth between the truck and your hotel. We provide trucks for you to load your gear onto each morning. Our drivers will proceed to the next community, unload all the luggage and you just find your bag and check into your room.
Handy things to bring if you have room: sunscreen, extra sunglasses, and an extra smartphone charging cable and plug.
Hydration is everything. Stay hydrated throughout the day and plan accordingly. There will be designated rest stops approximately every 10-15 miles with fresh water to fill your water bottle or CamelBak. Always have enough water and food appropriate to your body’s needs.
What Type of Bicycle Should I Bring on the Great Lake-to-Lake Ride?
The Great Lake-to-Lake Trail includes a wide range of surfaces including asphalt, crushed limestone, powdered limestone, and natural surfaces. While the majority of the ride, about 60% is paved, due to the variety of surfaces you may encounter on our ride we recommend using a bike equipped with wider tires such as: 28 – 32mm tires for 700c wheels and 1.25 – 1.75 tires for 26-inch wheels. A wider tire allows for lower tire pressure, which gives the tire a larger footprint, and provides better traction on loose surfaces. Lower tire pressure also provides a smoother ride by better absorbing small bumps.
If you only have one bike, and it has narrow tires and an aggressive riding position, consider putting the widest tire the frame and fork will accommodate, and possibly a stem that provides a more relaxed, upright riding position.
Pack a small toolkit and disposable gloves for small repairs on the trails. *Tip: good old-fashioned sunblock with an SPF 30 or 40 rating also helps remove grease!
Our Tour veterans like CamelBak backpacks as they are light and allow storage for everything you might need during the day. Using a backpack keeps extra things from hanging off of your bike. We recommend packing water bottles or a CamelBak water system, a portable, lightweight pump for flat tires, your bike toolkit, gloves, bike headlights/taillights as it’s Michigan law to have lights on your bike while riding at night. If you have specific riding shoes, pack a pair of sandals/shower shoes or another pair of shoes to wear off the bike.
Get your bike tuned up before the ride.
We do have a Mobile Bike Repair Service operated by Diane Ruggles on the ride should you need repairs. Diane is the best in the tour business. She keeps regular hours on the ride to tend to bicycles for a fee. She is also out on the road with us in the event of breakdowns and repair emergencies, so don’t worry.
Touring by Bicycle
We move your gear, you move yourself and your bike. It’s that easy. Gear is transported in trucks to and from each community location for you. We do provide complimentary luggage tags, which will be in your registration materials.
Cyclists should carry their ID, cash/credit cards, sunscreen, lip balm, bug spray and rain gear (if the weather looks inclement).
We do recommend tagging your bags.
The Great Lake-to-Lake Inaugural Bicycle Tour has gone to great lengths to assure your safety, and that includes having a Ride Doctor with a First Aid Team. Our veteran volunteer physician, Dr. Dick Nivala will provide emergency medical support on the route each day. Radio-equipped staff members will patrol the route.
While we hope it doesn’t, emergencies can happen back home and your family may need to reach you on the ride. If your family has an emergency message for you during The Great Lake-to-Lake and are unable to reach you on your cell, they can leave a message with us by calling or texting the Road Line at 872-529-7241. Messages will be checked periodically from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily. Know that this is not a personal message center, but a service exclusively for emergencies only.
All messages will be left at the Information Hub during staffed hours. If there is an emergency that requires your immediate attention, we will do our best to find you via our SAG Stop Volunteers while on the ride, otherwise, you may pick up any messages between 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each evening at the Information Hub.
- All riders must make their own hotel reservations. All registrants will be emailed a list of recommended hotels. We have arranged for discounted rates, evening transportation and services to pick up your luggage daily. By staying at the recommended hotels, we will make your bike tour easy and enjoyable for you. Let us handle your luggage and extra transportation to activities.
- Cyclist must wear a helmet. No exceptions.
- All cyclist must sign a waiver (signed in person during registration).
- Please have your bike in good condition.
- Pack a spare tube –it is safer to put on a new tube then to patch a tire. A bike repair specialist will be riding with the cyclists. Supplies and labor will be available to purchase on route if necessary.
- Remember to pack water bottle(s) and sun protection.
- Use a backpack or bike rack to carry rain gear and other items. Trying to bungie stuff on a rack can be dangerous. We recommend a backpack. You need to have one or the other so you can carry your rain gear and supplies while you’re riding.
- A rearview mirror is an excellent safety feature to have on your bike.
- A bike lock is necessary for lunch breaks and overnight stops.
- Pack money for lunch, sundries and bike repair services.
- NO: headphones, texting or talking on phones while riding.
- Wear a bicycle helmet when riding, no exceptions.
- Carry ID and relevant medical information.
- Rules of the road apply; same rights and duties as the driver of any other vehicle, obey all traffic signals.
- Ride single file where necessary, maximum of two abreast when conditions allow, do not impede traffic.
- Ride as far right as is safe.
- Do not blindly follow those in front of you at crossings, look both ways before proceeding every time.
- Pass on the left only, announce “on your left” when approaching others.
- Use hand signals to indicate road hazards, stopping, slowing, right and left turns.
- Prepare properly – sudden changes in the weather can occur, and good nutrition, hydration, training and sun protection is essential.
- Respect others always.
We suggest you bring bicycle shorts to help prevent chafing. We know some people think that they look silly in those tight-fitting biker shorts, but if you haven’t tried them, we encourage you to do so. Yes, they are meant to be worn without underpants. We acknowledge the fact that there are people who bike forever with their own favorite shorts rather than bike shorts and they’re perfectly happy. For longer trips, we suggest bringing 3 pairs of whatever shorts you choose so you can rinse them out a night and give them time to dry or save them up to do laundry mid-trip. If there’s a chance that you will have chilly weather, include tights or long pants or leg warmers.
Bicycle jerseys. Bike Jerseys for the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Inaugural Ride will be available to purchase closer to the tour date. We like them because they tend to be more comfortable and wick the moisture away from your skin better than regular shirts. They also take up less room in your luggage than heavier t-shirts. But anything you are comfortable riding in is fine. Think about the weather possibilities when you decide whether you want long sleeves, short sleeves, no sleeves or a mix. Falls in Michigan are often unpredictable.
Cycle gloves – without the fingertips if it’s warm.
Helmet – A helmet must be worn when cycling.
A windbreaker or rain gear. We understand you can still find yourself soaked if it really rains – sometimes from the rain coming through the material and sometimes from the sweat inside it. But we still recommend some form of rain gear. Your rain jacket may also be your windbreaker.
Most nights you’ll likely want to shower and change before we gather for our social hour and dinner. We choose restaurants for their good food, and the dress code is always casual. Our trips are more about fun than fashion, so don’t fret about wearing something different each night.
Luggage & Bag Limits
Maximum number of bags per rider is 2
Be mindful when packing. Your luggage will be loaded and unloaded at each stop along our tour. This means you’ll be taking it to/from your room to our vehicle every evening/morning. You’ll likely want a main bag and a smaller bag. Keeping immediate necessities in the smaller bag will allow you to carry less throughout the course of the trip. Packing this way is also to your advantage for those situations where you may encounter stairways to second-floor guest rooms.
- August 9: Final day to preorder Ride Jersey, Tanks, T-Shirts or Hoodies
- August 31: Registration closes
- August 31: Last day for refund
- September 12-19: Enjoy and have fun on the Great Lake-to-Lake Inaugural Ride