Sandy dunes along Lake Michigan

The Midwest Ride

General Information

SEPTEMBER 6 - 9TH, 2014

NEW RIDE! The first-ever Climate Ride Midwest spans three states and connects two vibrant cities, while exploring some of the best cycling in the country. From the exciting trip start in Grand Rapids, MI – one of Bicycling Magazine’s Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities, home to the world’s largest art competition, and known as the “Beer City” due to its many craft breweries – to the triumphant arrival in Chicago, the new Climate Ride Midwest will challenge, inspire, and surprise you as you pedal and connect with 150 other interesting climate and bicycle heroes.

On Climate Ride Midwest you’ll spend four days cycling through Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois 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 trip, we’ll travel on Michigan’s 2,600 miles of multi-use trails, riding past historic lighthouses, blueberry farms, quaint artist villages, wineries, cider houses, and craft breweries. We’ll also visit Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore before pedaling on paved rail-trails to a bicycle path on Lake Michigan that affords stunning views of Chicago’s dramatic skyline. This last 6-mile stretch leads us straight to Grant Park – known as “Chicago’s Front Yard” – for the ride finale. Evening programs and dynamic speakers combine with world-class cycling to make this charitable event exciting, informative, and fun.

Climate Ride takes care of all the details, so you can focus on riding the 60-80 miles per day of carefully planned routes on back roads that meander through the countryside. It’s challenging yet doable, and you have all day to make it to the next overnight location. The Climate Ride support team is always nearby to assist you, keep you happy and healthy, and make your ride worry-free and unforgettable.

If you would like to book hotels along the route, or bus service to and from the ride, please contact our partner Alpine Cycle Connection. Visit their website to learn more about the hotels and services offered.

Click the tabs above for more about each day. If you're ready to sign up and ride, click below to register!

Day Before the Ride

We will host a Registration and Welcome Reception for the evening of Friday, September 5th from 5 pm to 8 pm at the same location as the Ride Start (to be announced). You can drop off your bike, fill out any last-minute paperwork and join us for our kick-off party. It’s your first chance to meet and network with other Climate Riders, so we highly recommend attending.

The next morning, Saturday, September 6, the ride begins! You should arrive at the start location (to be announced) between 7 am and 8:15 am to drop off your luggage, prep your bike and pack snacks. Give yourself time to get organized before a mandatory 8:15 am safety talk. The ride officially starts at 9:00 am!

Day 1

62 miles

Climate Riders will depart from Grand Rapids, MI on the paved Musketawa Trail, and pedal along the lazy Grand River with a water stop in the village of Ravenna. After another quick 20 miles, we'll enjoy a plentiful picnic in the town of Grand Haven, before hopping on our bikes and pedaling past the many grand homes along 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 just outside the historic Dutch town of Holland, MI. In the evening after a hearty dinner, we'll gather to hear from our first expert speakers of the week.

If you would like to book hotels along the route, or bus service to and from the ride, please contact our partner Alpine Cycle Connection. Visit their website to learn more about the hotels and services offered.

Day 2

84 miles

Today’s exceptional ride showcases “Pure Michigan” with small lakeshore towns, rural farming country, and verdant vineyards. We depart from Holland, and head south on the newly-designated Michigan Bike Route 35 until we reach the incredibly cute village of Saugatuck – a historic harbor town dotted with art galleries, tourist shops, and irresistible eateries. Here we’ll fill up on snacks and water before catching a short ‘chain ferry’ across the harbor to Douglas, MI and ride to South Haven, where another tasty picnic lunch awaits.

After refueling, we head inland toward Michigan’s Wine Country for 21 miles on the epic Kal-Haven Trail past lakes, small streams, fruit orchards, and family farms. After jumping off the trail in Gobles, we’ll ride past idyllic farms and quaint rural houses, with several stops along the way. Then, it’s a quick pedal past verdant vineyards to our home for the night - a summer camp right on a lake, fully-equipped with a mini-golf course, disk golf, and an evening bonfire.

If you would like to book hotels along the route, or bus service to and from the ride, please contact our partner Alpine Cycle Connection. Visit their website to learn more about the hotels and services offered.

Day 3

74 miles

After a hot breakfast, we’ll head out for an exciting day of cycling as we ride back toward Lake Michigan on the Territorial Road – one of three historic pioneer trails that crossed Michigan in the 1800s. The trail ends in Benton Harbor and it’s a quick spin through town to reach the lakeside village of St Joseph – the “Riviera of Lake Michigan” - for a delicious pack lunch at Silver Beach Park – complete with ice cream stand and a carousel. 

We continue from “St. Joe” along the Red Arrow Highway to the artisan community of Three Oaks where we’ll visit a fascinating local bicycle museum (home of the Apple Cider Century), sample libations at the Journeyman Distillery, or enjoy the endless charms of this unique rural town. Then, it’s a flat 7 miles to our lodging for the night at a cozy summer camp tucked in the trees – across the street from Lake Michigan.

If you would like to book hotels along the route, or bus service to and from the ride, please contact our partner Alpine Cycle Connection. Visit their website to learn more about the hotels and services offered.

Day 4

56 or 88 miles

Our final day is a big one! We’ll start out from our retreat in Sawyer MI, and pedal south into Indiana and the Central time zone. Our ride today takes us through Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore where we’ll stop to ponder its panorama of shimmering sands. For the 56-mile option, Climate Riders will shuttle to Indiana Dunes State Park and ride from there. We continue on dedicated bike paths through tunnels of trees and enjoy a delectable pack lunch at a local park.

For the next thirty miles, we roll on more flat, paved bike paths for some ‘big chain-ring’ riding that takes us directly to the start of the Chicago’s Lakefront Trail. Near the classic Museum of Science and Industry, we’ll gather and begin our final, epic 6-mile leg as the “Green Peloton” to the heart of the city for our thrilling arrival in Grant Park.

We will congregate nearby, with the dramatic Chicago skyline in the background, where we’ll make a statement about the need to move the nation toward sustainability and on a path to a renewable energy future.  Our ride concludes near downtown Chicago and after reclaiming our gear, we all say goodbye until the next Climate Ride.

If you would like to book hotels along the route, or bus service to and from the ride, please contact our partner Alpine Cycle Connection. Visit their website to learn more about the hotels and services offered.