Michigan's UP: A Bike Overnight on the Keweenaw Peninsula

We left early for a 30-mile ride to our camp site on the east shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula, did a day ride the next day, and returned home with slight change to our route for a 35-mile day.

When: June 2–4, 2017, Bike Travel Weekend!

Bicycle Adventurers: One gutsy newbie rider, Beth, joined me for the “whole enchilada.” Also, numerous friends joined us at their convenience. We had a total of 10 women, some for just the day ride, and others for one night.

Accommodations: Tent camping with the use of a friend’s cottage on the shores of Lake Superior off of Hermit’s Cove Road, a couple miles south of Gay, Michigan.

Distance: I did 102 miles total. Beth did 92. Others on the day ride did 12, 20, and 36.

Bonus tip for this adventure: Ah, enjoy beautiful Keweenaw scenery and incredible Lake Superior. Denali Restaurant in Lake Linden can fuel you up for breakfast coming and going. And you’ll see remnants of mining history all the way along with eagles and sandhill cranes.

Day One

I met Beth near my house and found her indiscriminately chucking extra weight from her Burley trailer into her husband’s waiting truck whom she had just called.

Our first stop was the local cycle commuters Friday morning coffee meetup down by the Houghton/Hancock Bridge at 8:30 — an entertaining and fun start to our day. Beth confessed later she didn’t know what she could do from moment to moment, like how to cross the bridge and how far she could lug that trailer with a mountain bike, but she did it all, even if she did walk and push that rig up one tough hill on Gay Lac La Belle Road.

Day Two

Even though we slept in tents, it was super to have the cottage for water, sitting around visiting, eating, and playing music without the gobs of mosquitos and black flies. Also it was very chilly, but some of us rode north for a day ride up the east shore, some as far as Haven Falls on Lac La Belle.

Day Three

Beth slept well, but the thunderstorm kept me awake, wondering if that bright lightning would strike a nearby tree. And the waves crashed loudly compared to the soothing sounds the night before. Of course the 2 women in the cottage didn't hear a thing! It proved to be a beautiful day to ride home though. We turned south off Gay Lac La Belle Road to head for Traverse Bay and Rice Lake before heading in to Lake Linden for breakfast, then our ride home.

Your favorite local bike shop? We have three good shops in our area, though I seem to use Down Wind Sports in Houghton, Michigan the most.

Bike overnight tips and tricks?

  • Motivating my friends was hard. Beth didn’t know yet what it took, and is very adventurous and will try anything once. I think she will do it again!
  • I weighed my gear to keep it around 25# including Jetboil portable stove, tools, and water, so not much clothing, just the basics to keep warm. I hope to learn how to eat good meals with just a Jetboil.
  • I think a few of us are very motivated to do shorter trips with just one overnight this summer and fall — looking forward to them.
  • I like my solar light. 

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HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your own bike overnight adventure!

2 responses so far ↓

Erin Snow - Nov 27, 2017 at 7:13 PM

What a great little adventure! For those of us who haven't done an overnight yet, this shows how you made it doable for yourselves. (And a big thumbs-up to Beth for just jumping right in!) Thanks for sharing this!

Beth Jukuri - Dec 1, 2017 at 8:13 PM

Thanks so much Judy for taking me on my first bike overnight adventure. I certainly will be doing this again! I did do some more camping this summer with hiking and biking; but not carrying/pulling it along! I felt badass for daring to do this overnight ride with women I did not know! Thanks so much!!

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