Underground Railroad Bicycle Route gatherings

The second of two maps for the Underground Railroad Detroit Alternative Bicycle Route are now available.

As you may recall, this Adventure Cycling bicycle route begins in Mobile, Alabama and heads north to Oberlin, Ohio. Previously the route only went east, entering Ontario at Buffalo. The Detroit alternative route heads to Toledo, Adrian, Ann Arbor, and Detroit.

“We’re thrilled to offer this new alternate route between Oberlin and Owen Sound. Cyclists can now experience even more landmarks and historically important communities along the Underground Railroad,” said Carla Majernik, Adventure Cycling’s routes and mapping director. “The route also follows the Lake Huron shoreline to Owen Sound, which is an incredibly scenic ride.”

Detroit is an important highlight on the new route for its historic relevance and its contemporary efforts to improve conditions for cyclists,” said Ginny Sullivan, special projects director and lead staff on the UGRR project. “Increasingly the city has invested in bike lanes, greenways, urban agriculture, and natural parks, making it an even more attractive stopover for touring cyclists on the new route.”

Running through many smaller communities in northwestern Ohio, southern Michigan, and southern Ontario, the Detroit Alternate creates a cultural heritage corridor that not only offers education and recreational opportunities for people of all ages, but also promises increased tourism to the communities along this iconic corridor.

Unfortunately bicyclists cannot currently get across the Detroit River without a car, so the route heads north to the ferry service in Marine City, Michigan.

This week’s events

Adventure Cycling’s executive director Jim Sayer is coming to Detroit to help promote the new maps. You’re welcomed to attend these events, but please RSVP as they are starting to fill up.

  • Wednesday, February 22 – Troy, Michigan
    Regional gathering from 7-9 pm at the Troy, MI REI — 766 E Big Beaver Rd. Troy, MI.
  • Thursday, February 23 – Midtown Detroit
    Mixer and regional gathering from 5:30-7:30 pm at Traffic Jam and Snug — 511 W Canfield St. Detroit, MI.

Sayer will also be on the Craig Fahle Show on Thursday as well as (hopefully) many other media outlets, especially with it being Black History Month.

New bike tour loops

Always thinking for new excuses to bike tour, Adventure Cycling blogged about how this new route opens up some tour loop possibilities.

This tour could easily begin in Detroit, cross the border to Windsor, Ontario, ride south to Leamington or Kingsville, take a ferry to Sandusky, Ohio then ride northward to return to Detroit. The fly in the ointment in this idea, hence the Chance label, is that currently there is no way to ride your bicycle across the border between Detroit and Windsor. In order to do so, you’ll have to hire a taxi to take you and your bicycle from one country to the other. Todd Scott, Detroit Greenways Coordinator at the Michigan Trails and Greenway Alliance?suggests, “Another option is to use the Transit Windsor bus. They will allow bikes on the bus under some restrictive rules, however, the bus drivers do have some discretion. If the bus is not crowded and the bike can be secured on board, they may take you. If I were doing the route, I would try my darndest to get to Windsor. I just wouldn’t want to miss out on their UGRR history.” There are plans to add ferry service to this border crossing. When it is implemented, we’ll let you know.

To complete this 270 mile tour you’ll need UGRR Detroit Alternate Sections #1 & #2 maps.

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