May 26, 2012

Biking the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail

Last year while looking around for a good biking route for testing out a triathlon at the in-law's cottage on the lake, I stumbled upon the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail. I happened to have the 'bike trails' option still selected on Google Maps when I looked at the roads in mid-Michigan around the cottage. To my surprise there was a big long line through the whole map.

It was a bike trail. And good golly it went all the way to Grand Rapids! I did a little more investigation and found out that it was the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail, an old CSX rail line that was turned into a bike path. That was the good news, but the bad news was that it wasn't all paved. The section near the in-laws cottage was still gravel for several miles. But, I was thrilled to find out it would be paved last fall. Just in time for winter. Great. This weekend was our first time back at the cottage since the winter, so the wife and I brought the bikes and investigated the trail.

The scenery was very nice and the trail was amazingly flat. It was so flat that one could feel like superman on a bike. The hills that did exist were so gradual that you didn't even notice them. The trail cut through woodland, scrubland, marshes, farmland, and a few very small towns.

We went out around 8am and found lots of wildlife.

There's a deer in this picture, I swear.

Is that a turtle?!


Occasionally the trail would intersect with a road. Most of them were dirt roads like this.

Since it rained before we started we got a little dirty along the way.

We only did 30 miles on the trail, so we saw just a small bit of it. But what we did see we liked very much and I know I can't wait to put several more miles on that trail this summer.

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