Grand Rapids to Leelanau, Michigan
September 15-18, 2018
This new 4-day charitable bike ride brings the excitement and impact of Climate Ride back to the Midwest in 2018. The cycling event begins in the bike-friendly city of Grand Rapids, and meanders through Michigan’s northern woods and picturesque farmlands, to the scenic sandy beaches of the Great Lakes and into the heart of the verdant Leelanau Peninsula. Be a part of our new Michigan Ride this September 15-18, 2018.
NEW RIDE! Climate Ride Michigan spans 300 miles and explores Michigan’s lower northern shoreline (known affectionately as the Third Coast) all the way to the scenic Leelanau Peninsula. From the exciting cycling trip start in Grand Rapids – one of Bicycling Magazine’s Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities, home to the world’s largest art competition (ArtPrize), and known as the “Beer City” due to its many craft breweries – to the triumphant arrival near Traverse City, Climate Ride Michigan will challenge, inspire, and surprise you as you cycle and connect with thought leaders, advocates, and like-minded people dedicated to advancing sustainability.
On Climate Ride Michigan you’ll spend four days cycling on a scenic journey that explores the back roads of Lake Michigan. You’ll discover amazing scenery, stay at comfortable retreats and classic summer camps, and experience the thrill of touring by bicycle with a community united by their passion for sustainability, renewable energy, and bicycles - the ultimate carbon-free form of transportation.
During the cycling event, we’ll travel on some of Michigan’s multi-use trails (the state has 2,600 miles of trails!), riding past historic lighthouses, blueberry farms, quaint villages, wineries, cider houses, and craft breweries. We’ll also visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore before pedaling to the tip of Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula to a spectacular lighthouse. Evening programs and dynamic speakers combine with world-class cycling to make this charitable event exciting, informative, and fun.
Our professional Climate Ride staff takes care of all the details, so you can focus on riding the 40-80 miles per day of carefully-planned routes on scenic roads. It’s challenging yet achievable, and you have all day to make it to the next rest stop. Meals, snacks, bike support, luggage transport, and all of the logistics are included when you reach the fundraising commitment. On the road, the Climate Ride support team is always nearby to assist you, keep you happy and healthy, and make your ride worry-free and memorable. Bike rental options are available in Grand Rapids.
Trip Dates: September 15-18, 2018
Start Location: Grand Rapids, MI
End Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Fundraising Commitment: $2,800
Trip Length: 4 days
Total Mileage: ~210 to 296, with multiple daily mileage options
Average Daily Mileage: 53 to 74 miles
Accommodations: Summer Camps with camping optional (Hotel options available every night at additional expense - please request the hotel list)
Maximum Group Size: 85
$500 to be raised by: July 27, 2018
$1400 to be raised by: August 17, 2018
$2800 to be raised by: September 7, 2018
Transfer Deadline: August 24, 2018
Note: If you'd like to register after or near a fundraising deadline, don't worry; we're here to help you get up to speed!
DAY 1 - Bike 60 or 80 Miles
Cyclists will depart from Grand Rapids, Michigan on the paved Musketawa Trail, and cycle along the lazy Grand River with a morning water stop along the way. After another quick 20 miles, we'll enjoy a plentiful picnic in Muskegon, before hopping on our bicycles and pedaling near the shore of Lake Michigan.
Our second water stop brings incredible views of the Lake and our first close-up look at its sandy shores. Small roads and bike paths lead to tonight’s destination – a retreat center on one of Michigan’s many crystal-clear, blue lakes. In the evening after a hearty dinner, we'll gather to hear from our first expert speakers of the week before returning to our cabins for a well-deserved rest.
DAY 2 - Bike 60 or 82 Miles
Today’s exceptional bike ride showcases “Pure Michigan” with small lakeshore towns, rural farming country, and verdant vineyards. We depart from camp, and head north until we reach the villages of Ludington, Pentwater and Manistee– historic harbor towns dotted with galleries, tourist shops, and irresistible eateries. After another tasty picnic lunch, we’ll continue riding north to our classic summer camp for the night – right on the shore of Lake Michigan – a spot known for its incredible sunsets. After a post-dinner ice cream social, we’ll hear from informative speakers about the unique challenges facing the region before settling into sleep at this cozy, inn-style camp.
DAY 3 - Bike 40 or 64 Miles
After a hot breakfast, we’ll head out on our bikes for an exciting day of cycling on and off famed Highway 22 – a portion of Michigan’s Grand Circle Tour and voted the ‘best autumn route in the nation”. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the lush forests, clear inland lakes, ancient glacial phenomena, and the unique flora and fauna that make up the natural world of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. After exploring these spectacular sand dune peaks, we’ll ride our bikes inland to our summer camp for the night, perched on the shores of another picturesque lake. On our final night, we’ll gather to enjoy a special presentation that recaps our epic adventure. But there’s more to come!
DAY 4 - Bike 50 or 70 Miles
Our final day is a big one! We’ll start out from our retreat in Lake Ann, MI, and pedal north to the famed Leelanau Peninsula - the ‘pinky finger” of Michigan’s mitten-shaped lower peninsula. Dotted with wineries, farmhouses and endless fruit orchards, the region gets its name from the local Ottawa and Chippewa tribes and translates to “delight of life,” and the area truly is a delight! Our cycling route affords views of the breathtaking shoreline all the way to Leelanau State Park where we’ll enjoy a final picnic near the Grand Traverse Lighthouse. One of most scenic lighthouses in the country, the Grand Traverse has kept ships in Lake Michigan safe since 1858. After refueling, we’ll turn south to the idyllic town of Northport before jumping on the paved Leelanau Trail and visit a winery before meeting up, packing up our gear, and shuttling back to Grand Rapids. There will also be a shuttle to Traverse City. Our bike ride concludes back in downtown Grand Rapids and after reclaiming our gear, we will say goodbye until the next Climate Ride.
We will be staying in cabins and dorm-style rooms at full-service summer camps on this trip with dining halls and conference facilities. At some of the camps, tent camping is optional, and we also have hotel and hotel-style options available at your own cost. Amenities at our overnight locations include hot showers, a first-aid station with 24/7 ice, a merchandise table, clean restrooms, and shared rooms with vinyl mattresses. You should bring a sleeping bag and a fitted sheet.
All dietary restrictions will be accommodated on this trip by our staff and caterers. There will be a variety of hot breakfasts, picnic lunches, hearty dinners and plenty of snacks in between to fuel you for multiple days of bike riding.
On Climate Ride Michigan, we bring together a dynamic community. Each evening after dinner, we’ll gather for our Evening Program which features speakers, roundtable discussions, and other events.
The Ride Start
The charitable bike ride will begin in Grand Rapids, MI on Saturday, September 15th at 8:00 am. The location for the Bike Ride Start, as well as the Registration and Kick-Off events will be announced in the Travel Planner (available in April and after you register).
We will host a Registration and Bike-Drop Off event the evening of Friday, September 14th from 5 pm to 7:30 pm at the same location as the Bike Ride Start. You can drop off your bike, fill out any last-minute paperwork, and then riders will gather at a nearby brewery for some pre-ride revelry. It’s your first chance to meet and network with other Climate Riders, so we highly recommend attending. By registering this evening and dropping off your bicycle, you will save time in the morning and help with our logistics.
The next morning, Saturday, September 15, the big bike ride begins! You should arrive at the start location between 6 am and 7:15 am to drop off your luggage, prep your bike and pack snacks. Give yourself time to get organized before a mandatory 7:15 am safety talk. The ride officially starts at 8:00 am!
Getting to Grand Rapids
We recommend you arrive in Grand Rapids by 6pm on Friday, September 14th (the day before the ride) so you can register and enjoy a kick-off event where you can meet other Climate Riders.
If you’re coming from Chicago or another state, you can take Amtrak. Both Chicago and Grand Rapids have Amtrak stations. Visit the Amtrak website for general information and reservations, or click here for how to bring your bicycle on Amtrak trains. You may also call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL.
Greyhound has bus terminals located in Grand Rapids and Chicago. The cost is $29-34 each way and it’s about a 5 to 6-hour trip between the cities. They accept bicycles as luggage. Visit the Greyhound website for more information.
Taxis are an easy way to get around Grand Rapids. They aren’t as plentiful as they are in big cities, so it’s best to call ahead. Each of the companies listed below has said that their cabs can usually accommodate bicycles as long as you mention it when you book the cab. Request a minivan or SUV, and know that you may need to take the front wheel off to make it fit.
Metro Cab of Grand Rapids 616-827-6500
Yellow Cab 616-459-4646
Dadd's Magic Bus and Limousine 616-235-3233
Calder City Company 616-454-8080
Gerald Ford International Airport (GRR) is the closest airport to the Bike Ride Start and offers many airline options.
It is conveniently located within 25 minutes of downtown Grand Rapids, and within easy access of I-96, M-6, and US-131 freeways. To get to downtown Grand Rapids from GRR, you can take a taxi. Metro Cab (616-827-6500) offers traditional taxicab and luxury sedan service at the curbside), take a luxury sedan service to downtown Grand Rapids (approximately $37), or use the Rapid – the city’s bus system. For more information about GRR ground transportation, visit this website.
If you’re traveling to Michigan for the bike ride, there are bicycle rental options as well as the possibility of shipping your bike straight to the Bike Ride Start location and having it assembled for you. More information will be available in the Travel Planner.
After the Bike Ride
Climate Ride will end near Traverse City, Michigan at approximately 4 pm on Tuesday, September 18, 2018. There, we’ll celebrate the end of the charitable ride with a group photo, before packing up our luggage/gear and departing.
The Climate Ride Shuttle Back to Grand Rapids
At the end of the bike ride near Traverse City, you’ll have access to your gear and we’ll load everything up for the shuttle back to Grand Rapids (or to Traverse City). This bus shuttle is included in the trip and it’s about a 2.5-hour drive back to Grand Rapids. We’ll arrive at the same location as the Trip Start at about 7:30 pm on Tuesday, September 18. We recommend not making flight or travel arrangements from GRR before 9 pm.
Departing the Bike Ride Early
If you need to leave the trip early to travel home for the Yom Kippur holiday, we have several options that will work for you. Please contact us.
Transporting Your Bike
If you are traveling to the ride with Amtrak, you may be able to bring your bike onboard! Learn more here.
More information on traveling with your bike or where to rent a bike for this event will be made available once you have registered.