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West Michigan blessed with fabulous network of bike paths and trails

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West Michigan blessed with fabulous community of motorcycle paths and trails

Editor’s notice: This column is a part of a collection that includes Lakeshore residents sharing their tales.

Must you encounter me on a motorbike path, you’ll realize it’s me — I seem like a touring circus. Reflectors, flags, lights, bells, and high-visibility jerseys are the calling playing cards of many recumbent trikers. We journey low and — usually — sluggish, so we have to stand out, be seen, ensure you discover us. 

Avid bike owner Betsy Cech on her recumbent triker along with her canine, Clara, in tow. Whereas a few of us do pedal our odd contraptions on the roads, we’re most frequently discovered on these superb ribbons of asphalt often known as bike paths, multi-use paths, or trails. We’re blessed with a superb community of trails right here in Ottawa County, and I ought to know, I’ve cycled 4,000 miles on them thus far this yr.

I haven’t at all times been an aficionado of motorcycle paths. They had been one thing I “found” when vertigo and stability points made me quit my street bike for my first recumbent trike. I’m by no means going to be zippy on my trike, however the trade-off for shedding pace is gaining journey. Taking the time to discover the fabulous native parks, trails, and sights has been an surprising advantage of triking.

Many locals don’t understand that West Michigan is a well-liked vacation spot for biking teams from throughout the nation. Our trails and paths join Saugatuck, Holland, Zeeland, the Tri-Cities, Muskegon, Hart, Kent County … even as much as Cadillac. Inside this community of trails, one can journey for hours simply round Holland and Zeeland or within the Tri-Cities areas with out ever leaving the paths.

Thrilling initiatives

With all these paths, there are at present three Ottawa County initiatives that I discover very thrilling. Ottawa County’s Parks & Recreation Division has the objective to attach Grand Haven to the Kent County Path System through 30 miles of multi-use path operating alongside the south aspect of the Grand River. Proponents are making nice progress, with sections accomplished in each Robinson and Georgetown townships. 

Only a quick distance away, The North Financial institution Path out of Spring Lake will finally meet up with the Musketawa Path and the White Pine Connector Path, which ends up in Kent County. 

At present underneath development, the second part of the Spoonville Path in the midst of the county will join these two paths. Sooner or later, one will be capable of journey on paved trails from Grand Haven to Grand Rapids and again on both aspect of the Grand River with a protected river crossing on the M-231 bridge within the center.

That is all by the superb cooperation between Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Fee, cities, townships, and organizations just like the West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition. West Michigan Trails & Greenways has an formidable plan to sometime join Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, South Haven, Ludington, Cadillac, and again to Grand Rapids with multi-use paths.

Strategies for enchancment

But, even because the path choices proceed to extend — as somebody who usually makes use of biking not solely as train, but additionally as transportation — I see a number of areas that would use enchancment. 

At present, the one steady north-south biking paths are within the western a part of Ottawa County, alongside Butternut and Lakeshore drives. It will be great to sometime see a path extending immediately north from the jap Holland/ Zeeland space to both the Spoonville Path or to Allendale. 

I might additionally prefer to see accessible paved bike and pedestrian crossings at U.S. 31 between Holland and Grand Haven. These Michigan turns aren’t enjoyable on a motorbike. The choice is to maneuver the weeds and ditches within the median. Each choices are horrifying on a recumbent.

Websites to get pleasure from

Despite the fact that there are areas that want enchancment, there already are many nice locations to cease, sights to see, and actions to get pleasure from all alongside our West Michigan paths. Whether or not you discover Lake Shore Drive in Ottawa County with its many beachfront parks, or the Grand River with its quiet parks and their assorted wildlife, there’s at all times one thing to see. A motorcycle tour of the Tri-Cities or Holland will provide up quite a few nice locations to sightsee and dine. 

The Grand Rapids space gives every little thing from city bike lanes — the place one can pedal to eating places, museums, retailers, and extra — to quiet trails in Millennium Park, the place you’ll be able to see wildlife and luxuriate in nature inside the metropolis. For these extra adventurous, plan a tenting journey by staying at any of our fabulous state parks, lots of that are linked by bike paths or the U.S. Bicycle Route System.

Need to study extra about our space’s multi-use paths and trails? Discover web sites like that of the West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition, decide up a duplicate of Michigan Trails Journal, or just open Google Maps and click on the biking icon. 

Whether or not you run, stroll, canine stroll, rollerblade, bike, trike, or unicycle, I promise you’ll discover a West Michigan path to your liking. And while you see me, don’t overlook to say howdy to the triker gal who appears to be like like a touring circus!

Along with being an avid bike owner, Grand Haven resident Betsy Cech enjoys native historical past, family tree, watching wildlife, and discovering bizarre treasures at storage gross sales.

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