Grand Rapids to Chicago
September 27-30, 2015
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 100 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 to downtown Chicago's lakefront - for the ride end. 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.
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 Saturday, September 26th from 5 pm to 8 pm at the Spoke Folks in Grand Rapids. 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, Sunday, September 27th, the ride begins! You should arrive at the Spoke Folks 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 at an historic farm. After another quick 15 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.
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 before riding 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.
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.
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 Chicago.
With the dramatic Chicago skyline in the background, we’ll make a statement about the need to move the nation toward sustainability and on a path to a renewable energy future. After reclaiming our gear, we all say goodbye until the next Climate Ride.
Climate Ride Midwest 2015 is a 3-night, 4-day cycling trip along Lake Michigan’s scenic coast to Chicago. Imagine staying at classic summer camps and retreats after an amazing day of cycling. At camp, we take care of all the details so you’re free to relax and connect with other Climate Riders.
Amenities in camp include hot showers, a first aid station with 24/7 ice, a merchandise table, clean restrooms, massage (extra charge), and shared accommodations in cabins and bunkhouses.
Breakfasts and dinners are handled by the staff at our overnight stops. Think hot breakfasts with lots of options and coffee, and nourishing, tasty dinners with delicious desserts. Picnic lunches are prepared by our amazing food crew and include lunch meats, veggie options, salads, and all the fixings. Our morning snack table will have items to-go to keep you energized all day while riding.
On Climate Ride Midwest, camp becomes a travelling village and dynamic community. Each evening after dinner, we’ll gather for our Evening Program which features speakers, workshops, and other events. Cycling doesn’t get better than on Climate Ride!
If you’re coming from Chicago or another state, the best option is to take Amtrak. Both Chicago and Grand Rapids have Amtrak stations. The new Amtrak station (Vern Ehlers Station) in Grand Rapids is only a half a block from the Registration event at The Spoke Folks. Visit the Amtrak website for general information and reservations, or click here for how to bring your bicycle on Amtrak trains. 1-800-USA-RAIL
NOTE: Make sure you check with Amtrak about rules regarding travel with your bicycle. It may need to be boxed and checked as baggage, and some trains don’t allow checked bagged. Visit www.amtrak.com for more information.
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
Transporting Your Bike
Many first-time riders have big questions about getting their bike to the event. While it may seem complicated, it's not. You have a few options for getting your bike to and from Climate Ride. The best option will depend on your itinerary, timing, and budget. Plan on spending a little time to research which option works best for you.
SHIPPING YOUR BIKE WITH BIKE FLIGHTS
Bike Flights offers great rates and insurance for your shipping your bicycle. Disassemble and pack your bike in a cardboard bike box or a hard sided bike shell. You can also have a local bike shop pack your bike for you. Once your bike is boxed, book online at www.bikeflights.com. Here you will enter the weight, dimensions and shipping location of your bike. If you are shipping to Spoke Folks (only if you're paying them to build your bike and have contacted them ahead of time!) , enter your first and last name, followed by the The Spoke Folks in the “company name” field as well as the bicycle shop’s address and phone number. The address for the Spoke Folks is 221 Logan St. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Their phone number is (616)-666-3708.
When shipping your bike to the ride, you have the option to either have it picked up or you can drop it off at a local UPS, Fedex or DHL location.
Flying with your bike (boxing required)
If you fly with your bike, all airlines have handling fees for checking bikes, payable at the ticket counter. When making your airline reservations, please check the rate and any restrictions for checking your bike.
DISASSEMBLING AND BOXING YOUR BIKE:
Disassembly: If you need to ship your bike, most likely you will need to disassemble it. This means removing the pedals, seat, front and rear wheels, and handlebars, and deflating the tires. Each part should be wrapped separately in bubble wrap. You can do this yourself, or most bike shops will do it for you for a cost of approximately $50-100.
Boxing: Most bike shops offer boxes, but you should reserve one early as they may be in demand. There is usually a small charge of about $10 for the box. If you are boxing your bike in a hard-shell or plastic bike box, please email email@example.com to inquire about space for transporting it in the luggage truck. We can carry only a certain number of plastic bike boxes in our luggage truck; if there is space, we will carry it for you. We can transport cardboard bike boxes during Climate Ride for you to re-use at the end.
Shipping your Bike Home:
If you’d like to ship your bike home after the ride from Chicago, we recommend Kozy’s located at 811 S Desplaines St, Chicago, IL . The cost is $50 and they’ll pack up your bike in your bike box and ship it home to you (with pre-paid label). PLEASE NOTE: you MUST have a Pre-Paid Shipping Label to ship from Kozy'z. You can get print your label from www.bikeflights.com.
More details are available in the Travel Planner, which is emailed to participants once registered.
Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org at any time if you have questions.