Welcome to the latest edition of Cycling Routes in the U.S., where we explore the best e-bike routes America has to offer. State by state, we detail the sights to see, tips and tricks, and the best routes specifically for electric bikes. Written by riders, for riders, these articles are meant to give you a spark of inspiration as you plan your next e-bike adventure!
Today we are heading to the Great Lakes state. Known for its huge bodies of freshwater, dazzling array of terrain, and beautiful seasons all year-round, Michigan is an excellent choice for biking. Whether you are from Michigan or visiting, these trails are open to everyone and are a must-see for any outdoor enthusiast.
Home to both a lower and upper peninsula, Michigan made its mark on history during the invention of the automobile, and Detroit quickly became known as the Motor City. Transportation is at the heart of this state, which makes it a perfect location to profile because Himiway is also changing mobility as we know it and ready for the coming challenge. With plenty of sustainable electric bike options, we are sure to have an option that fits your values and your lifestyle. Without further ado, let’s discover the best road cycling routes in Northern Michigan!
Northern Michigan Cycling Routes
We’re going to be relying on the fact that while riding an e-bike in Michigan, all paved motorized roads are available to you. Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes are all regulated by standard bicycles laws while on main roads and must adhere to these laws while riding on roadways. You may not ride an e-bike on any trail designated as “non-motorized” so we are going to stick to the streets. For this reason, you’ll want to ensure you understand the Best Practices for Riding an Electric Bike in Traffic.
Some of the best experiences anywhere in Michigan are found in the northwest region of the Lower Peninsula. Cities like Traverse City, Petoskey, and Charlevoix are all perfect examples of the best Michigan has to offer. Especially during the Summer and Fall, when temperatures are a bit cooler than the rest of the U.S., and the lakefront breeze can relax your worries away.
Charlevoix to Petoskey
Our first suggestion is to visit Charlevoix with plenty of parking, restaurants, and stores to begin your day. You can ride your e-bike around town, taking in the sights, or head northeast on Route 31. You’ll be ensconced in pines, firs, and evergreens as you ride your way past nature preserves and through small shoreline parks on the edge of Little Traverse Bay, an inlet of Lake Michigan.
It’s 17 miles to the cute northern town of Petoskey where you can stop for lunch, shop, and walk around this historic downtown with plenty to do and see. Heading back to Charlevoix is another 17 miles and with a good long-range e-bike, this should pose no problem whatsoever on a single charge.
Traverse City to Suttons Bay
Our second suggestion for Northern Michigan e-biking is to ride M-22 from Traverse City to Suttons Bay. Just like Charlevoix to Petoskey, this route will have traffic so you’ll want to ensure you have a helmet and rear-view mirrors. Wear bright colors to ensure you are seen by motorists.
Traverse City is known for its cherries, wines, and is the largest city in Northern Michigan. With plenty of hotels and restaurants, it’s the ideal place to set up your base. From there, you can head northwest on M-22 which will provide you with unending views of the beautiful waves and blue waters of Grand Traverse Bay. This 17-mile route will take between 1 and 2 hours, with the option to break and checkout the view.
Arriving in Suttons Bay you can visit the marina, tour art galleries, and have a wine tasting. Northern Michigan is famous for their wine because they are on the same geographic parallel as wine country in France. There are lighthouses to check out as well as plenty of events in the summer such as music and art festivals. Head back towards Traverse City in the afternoon to make it back to your hotel or campsite by dinner. Make sure to lock up your e-bike if you are staying overnight.
St. Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie
Our third and final recommendation is not for the faint of heart! While beautiful, this is our longest route and will likely require an overnight stay unless you are a very fit biker. Four hours there and four hours back, the ride from St. Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie will follow 50 miles of traffic along County Road H63 with the same distance on the return trip.
During the winter months, this ride should not be approached. It is in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is therefore subject to harsh winters with ice and snow. But in the summer months, this ride is full of green pines and sunlight as far as the eye can see. The views in both locales are impossible to recreate or do them justice without seeing them for yourself. The sunrises and sunsets cast dramatic and colorful light over the clouds and water. Both cities boast plenty of food and rest options where you can charge your bike and refuel on supplies.
Tips for E-biking in Michigan
- Recreation passports are required to gain entrance with a car to Michigan State Parks. If you intend to ride your e-bike on the roadways in a state park you will need a recreation passport or day passes.
- Your e-bike must have a seat for you to sit on while riding. Thankfully, all Himiway e-bikes come with an approved seat otherwise they wouldn’t be very good e-bikes now, would they?!
- Your e-bike must also have fully operational pedals. While not approved by Himiway, if you ever find yourself needing to stray from the road onto a bike trail, it is imperative that you do not use the throttle of your e-bike, but instead, only use the pedals to ensure the safety of yourself and others.
- Finally, your e-bike in Michigan must not have a motor power of greater than 750 watts. Thankfully, this is a high-end standard motor configuration in most of Himiway’s e-bike models.
- Obey all rules of the roads as if you were in a car.
And, of course, enjoy your next e-biking trip with these fun cycling routes in Michigan!