Bay Harbor to Harbor Springs 11/06/09

A Northern trip was in order to shut down the camp site for the winter and take in the sights of the ‘Naked Forest’.  I loaded up the mountain bike and headed north with hopes of checking out the finish of the Ice Man race that Andy and Jim from Beat The Train had entered.  The warm Southern wind greeted me as I stepped out of the suv and into the meadow of wild oats.  Ahhhhh up north once again!  There is something magical about the forest.  I call it an instant snap to the moment.  The energy the silence the clarity!  The Wild Wood Pathway is just 150 yards from our land and as tempting as it was I made a fire and started on with the chores of camp deconstruction.  I finished up around 4:00 and headed into Petoskey and onto the trail head parking lot in Bay Harbor.

During the past few years the folks at Emmett County have spent a small fortune finishing off the improvements and repairs to the old railroad grade trail that runs along Little Traverse Bay.  This evening was my first chance to shred this new pathway over to Harbor Springs and Back.  The trail is breathtaking as it overlooks the bay on one side with a steep embankment on the other.  There are a few parking areas with benches and tables that afford the participants a chance to rest, relax or just take it all in.

Slicing by the water treatment plant the trail jogs a bit and then returns to some fun twisty swizzelineee curves and roundabouts as you make your way over the Bear River on through to the waterside park.  Traveling on the trail becomes a sidewalk that leads along US 31 for most, not for me.  I sniffed out the old railroad grade as it ducks behind Bay view and continues along the edge of the water were I stopped and gave the northern sky 20 proper.  It is grass and more of a trial lawn expanse than a sidewalk, wide and fun.  Making my way behind the Bay View Inn the trail arch’s towards the Petoskey State Park.  On the left there is a little opening/entry and one hell of a sand trap waiting for you as you enter into the back side of the Park.  Curving through the park I made my way back out to the bike path that runs parallel to M-119.

Turning left on beach road I made my way through a winding dark forest area onto Pennsylvania Ave.  Another quick left and I was at the water’s edge looking at the historical homes of Wequetonsing I ripped my way into Harbor Springs feeling a bit cold from the wind.  I stopped at the Bar Harbor.  The owner tells me that a bar had been at this corner as long as the town had been alive.  Presently he has been the owner for some 29 years.  Taking off my layers so that they could dry out I ordered a beer to go with my ice water.  A Harp draft and some rubbing of my face to warm the chilled surface, a fellow asked “Bike Detroit?” “What are you doing way up here?”  I told him that I was enjoying the view and exploring on a Friday night, which seems to have become my pattern now that our organized Thursday night rides were over.  Three beers down to go along with the two Ice waters and I was ready for the return trip back around the Bay.

The return journey was wonderful!  Quite Dark and with the wind it felt like I was soaring even though my two wheels were stuck to the ground.  Made it back to my point of origin loaded up and was on my way. 

Bike Michigan!

J. Meyers bike explorer

Beat the Train Farewell 10/31/09

Two up Mountain Bike Coed Rocket Ship!!!  I will get back to that in a moment.  The Transit Connect Van was perfect for bike bringing just as I had thought!  A perfect family vehicle I must say, especially for those fellow bikers who have lots of gear.

With the wind a howling, (perfect for the howl-in- weenie) 40 plus riders showed up For Andy’s last scheduled ride of the season.  Costumes a few and lots of pictures of the group taken, we started off to the ‘Burial Mound’ located near the river on the Fort Grounds.  Common History suggests that it is an ‘Indian’ Burial Mound; the fact is that this could not be further from the truth.  ‘Burial Mounds’ as they are common referred, are in turn markers of line vortexes, hubs or energy portals.  Sometime they are used to signify a hub of intersecting lines similar to that of the spokes of a bicycle wheel.  There is a lot of History of our region that people simply do not know about, including Ley Line Vortices, or perhaps why the Fort was chosen to be built where it is etc…  A strange factoid that not many people are aware is that Detroit is the only other major US city whose master plan/street plan was designed by Master Masons for the purpose of harnessing and amplifying the regions energy currents and flows. As you probably are aware or have guessed, Washington D.C. is the other city to which I infer.  The St. Claire Family (for which our little great lake was named) was the primary family whose fortune funded the beginnings of the Knights Templar’s!  OK back to the ride…

Exiting out onto Jefferson the group moved with the wind like effortless kites in the breeze Spring March sky.  Through the Darkness the Group slid along well rehearsed paths, finding our way East, back to the city center.  A few fellows broke out away from the group as the temptation of the 25-30 mph tail winds were just too hard to ignore.

The group reassembled in front of the Cobo Roof parking ramp, Andy Staub let out the call and the chase-climb began!  Up around the Helix, people were all flowing up at various rates of speeds and commitments, back down around the slippery when wet slope, Andy called for a second climb to begin, many chose to join in on take two.  As we all paused to catch our breath after the second ascent Andy S. took a moment to thank the group and to share his love for all, a true heartfelt moment, al-be-it 7:00 a.m. in the windy morning and pitch dark.

From there on it was down to the river front for a relaxed peddle over to the Carousel for a bathroom break and a set a pushups while big Mike did some Yoga stretching.  After all were once again assembled we headed off for Belle Isle.  The Posturing began on Jefferson Ave.  Positions were being staged at the entrance onto The Belle Isle access road.  This is where the Coed team on the Tandem Mountain Bike made their first move slicing up to the front group.  At mid way over the bridge people started to build up speed and took what they had back into the wind at the first turn.  A Roadie and the Dynamic Coed Tandem Duo Rocket Ship went first with Andy Erickson making his move as well, the game was afoot!

As I came around the corner the wind hit me like a ton of bricks all most stopping me cold in my tracks, (what I would have given to be 5’8” 160!) As I finally came back around full circle and once again aided by the immense tail wind it took ½ of the overall riverside portion of the Belle Isle boundary road to Catch Andy E.  It happened when he let off his peddles, only for a second, raising his feet up his to go through the puddle that nearly covered the entire road.  Try as I might I simply could not reel in the head riders, (this is the time I usually start thinking about 29” rims verses 26”???).  No matter what the group, what the day or what the event, the dynamic tandem coed duo and the Roadie who went with, could not be caught. 

As we came aback round and into the wind Andy E. said hello as he went back on bye on to join the Roadie who saw him coming, from there on it was a wind fight all the way back to the bridge.  As we came down and stopped at Tim Horton’s big Mike rolled up and said, “let’s get going, I all ready told Andy we would be breaking from the group’.  With that, coupled with the wind fight that was yet in store, we headed off.

The way back to the Fort was as I had thought Laborious.  Grin Bear it, pump it to you stump it.  Back in the Lot, bike up and in we were on our way back home again.  Hats off to Andy S. and the people who we have been privileged to met thus far.  True bike riders, without preconceived notion or fear, true Detroiters!  Bike Detroit.

J. Meyers