We spent part of Labour Day weekend in our old stomping grounds in Michigan. We used to live in an exurb of Lansing, about eight miles from Michigan State University. I would not often bike in as the main road (Grand River) is a high speed arterial, with a 50 mph limit in a semi rural setting for about the first four miles. However, recently Meridian Township put in an Interurban Pathway that I wanted to check out this time.
On the way to the Pathway, I discovered a couple of quirks about the bike routing suggested by Google Maps that wouldn’t necessarily show up in an urban setting. Firstly, the suggested route doesn’t distinguish between gravel and paved roads. Gravel is OK, but I was reminded of the pleasures of washboard gravel.
I had thought that washboarding arises from a relationship between particle size and the resonant frequency of vehicle suspension, but apparently this is not necessarily so. Not much fun on a small wheeled bike.
Back on pavement, here is a shot of Marsh Road, which is a high speed arterial with no shoulder. Most of the few cyclists that I saw along here were on the sidewalks, which were admittedly very wide and uncrowded.
Google indicated a bike route starting from the Nemoke Trails subdivision, but I wondered why the entrance was not well marked.
I soon found out. The pavement ended fairly soon, and the trail became a dirt path through the woods. Certainly ridable, but not what I was expecting. The path ended at the railbed. and continued on the other side for a little bit, before joining up with the real pathway. Here is the how the trail to Nemoke is marked on the main trail.
You can see a bit of the dirt path in the picture. Apparently Google doesn’t seem to distinguish well between pedestrian trails and bike paths. Lesson learned.
The MSU campus itself was buzzing with activity, with the first week of classes, and everyone anticipating the first home football game of the season. Students have been discouraged to drive and park in the central parts of campus, and so many take buses.
I soon find out the answer to my own question: the bike lane on Farm Lane ends abruptly at the very busy intersection with Shaw Lane. Unaccountably, the bike lane restarts a little past the intersection. I learn later that redoing this intersection, with proper separation between bikes, cars and pedestrians is estimated to cost millions of dollars.
I also dropped by MSU Bikes which runs a full service bike shop. It is run by my good friend Tim. Sorry I didn’t take the time to get a better shot of you, Tim!
I forgot to drop by the dairy store on the way off campus. I’ll have to do it the next time.
I also saw this road marking, which reminded me that this very weekend, thousands of cyclists were on there way up north towards the Mackinac Bridge on DALMAC which is run by the local bike club, TCBA. I’ve written a bit about TCBA and DALMAC before. I just wanted to reiterate how important biking with the club was to me while I lived here.
It is easy to choose a route with very lightly travelled roads, and this early in the morning, there are a reasonable number of runners and bikers out. What few cars and trucks that pass by give us plenty of space. Much more relaxing than my typical bike ride.
The next morning, we were joined by Tim. Tim is on his regular commuter, an old Japanese lugged steel bike with lots of interesting details: moustache bars combined with aero bars, an Air Zound, a fork mounted headlight, and a folding Wald basket. None of this seemed to slow him down much. Danny was also on a bike that was old enough to have a six speed cluster in the back.
Here we are at the highest point in Ingham country on a roadway. Not quite as impressive as these folks. It reminds me about the Moxy Fruvous bit where they quiz the audience on which state has the lowest highest point.