Sunday, August 02, 2009

Cycling around Benton Harbor, MI

I took my bike along for our vacation/Sascha-Steelhead-Triathlon. Initial reconnaissance was not promising: no shoulders at all (also no sidewalks), fresh oil and gravel on the road connecting our cottage to everything else, lots of traffic on said road, and a redneck in a Trans-Am honking at me as I tried to go for a run instead. Sascha found a route on Map My Ride for the area, so I decided to give it a try.

The route was actually south of town (we're north) but I figured it couldn't be anything but better than here. Sascha dropped me off south of town while she went to get a pedicure or whatever it is that chicks do.

Interestingly, despite a complete lack of shoulders and sidewalks, there were a lot of people out running and walking, right in the road, and drivers were apparently used to it. Plenty of cyclists too. The route plotted by this ride had a lot of signs indicating some kind of back roads tour for cyclists, with different color-coded options. This also allowed people to get used to cyclists, at least on these routes, and traffic was light. The route went past several wineries on a designated "wine trail" that would presumably allow one to get his swerve on going from one winery to the next.

People were all friendly along this route; lots of waves and smiles. No Trans-Ams (although I did see a bitchin' Camaro). The route itself was great; little traffic, some open and some shady road, a couple of legs on packed dirt for variety (fine for a road bike), a bit of wind but not too bad. The only problem was the end of the route, which had you take Roosevelt over the freeway, except that that Roosevelt ends at the freeway and picks up afterward. I just went back and took Cleveland over the freeway.

A nice ride; 56 miles, 17.6mph, 156bpm, 84rpm. I really don't want to put the cheap training wheels back on the bike now, especially since the "racing" wheels and tires held up just find on the dirt roads.