Summer time in Michigan is the perfect opportunity to plan an outdoor family vacation. As the warmer weather continues, we planned a mini family vacation. A weekend in the Petoskey area with our toddler and my parents was just what we needed. Our itinerary included visiting Lake Michigan, driving through the Tunnel of Trees, a little shopping, and biking the trails.
Now, I wouldn’t call my parents avid cyclists, but they do enjoy biking; sometimes 20 plus miles. My husband and I are novice cyclists, so to gear up for our trip we dusted off our bikes and “trained” locally. Here are the steps we took to get ready to visit the great outdoors and bike the trails:
Biking Equipment & Accessories
Since our bikes have been in the garage, not in use for some time, we had to buy some accessories and tune-up our equipment.
- Pump up the tires and check for leaks. Alternatively, visit your local bike shop to check your tires, breaks and gears.
- Purchase a child bike carrier. Our toddler needed a safe place to sit while we biked the trails, so we purchased a children’s bike trailer. We loved the Retrospec Rover—it was foldable, sturdy/safe, and comfortable for our toddler.
- Purchase some accessories including helmets and bike shorts. The bike shorts I bought off Amazon were so comfortable and really helped get my booty ready for long trips on a pretty uncomfortable bike seat.
- Find water bottles that fit your bike water holders and make sure your travel bags and mini cooler fit in the back of the child carrier.
The Petoskey area is full of bike trails. Some are very difficult with large hills, and some are a little bit scary near busy main roads. Before we picked the location to ride to and from, we did a lot of research. The Little Traverse Wheelway is a 26-mile bike path running from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs and seems to be the most popular trail. We biked approximately four miles on the Little Traverse Wheelway from downtown Petoskey and on down the beautiful shoreline. Researching before you go helps ease any stress of planning.
The first time I hopped on my bike to practice, I could barely make it one mile around the neighborhood. I’m going to be honest, it was brutal. I was out of breath, sore, and hot.
They say practice makes perfect, so that is what we did. My husband, daughter, and I took mini bike rides multiple times a week before our vacation. We started in our Holt neighborhood, then down Holt Road to get ice cream at Sweet Sensations on Cedar Street, and then continued on a nearby trail.
After living in Holt for almost eight years, we have never explored the Delhi Trails until now. The Ram Trail is near our home and extremely nice. It helped take our training into high gear.
We had a great time on our socially distant family vacation up north. As summer is winding down, this would still be a fantastic plan for a fall getaway to enjoy a color tour! I hope these tips inspire others to not only explore your local trails, but take a much needed break from the day-to-day. It was a breath of fresh air to enjoy the outdoors, family time and some exercise during this very hectic summer.