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Tour Michigan as Detroit adds new bike lanes

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It's no secret that Detroit, Michigan, has fallen on hard times as of late. Once a large and prosperous city known for its connection to the auto industry, Detroit's residents and government have both battled a number of economic woes.

Improving safety and bringing in more riders
As the Motor City is reshaping itself in the aftermath of the financial crisis, a new mode of transportation has become hugely popular: Cycling. With cycling events that attract massive crowds and old factories being reformed to manufacture bikes, the city has become particularly bike friendly, Translogic explained. 

Detroit is expected to become even more fun for people on two wheels, as officials have recently announced new bike lanes in the city, according to the Detroit Free Press. This new construction project will install the first-ever protected bike lanes in the city, which have a physical barrier separating them from cars. 

The idea for these protected and separated lanes came after a visit from Detroit officials to Copenhagen, Denmark. The Danish capital city is renowned for its cycling network and has influenced Detroit's biking infrastructure going forward.

These new protected lanes will start off only in a small area of the city and likely be expanded afterward. Todd Scott, director of the nonprofit Detroit Greenways Coalition, told the newspaper that these lanes will hopefully entice more riders to explore the city. 

"Detroit will add new protected bike lanes downtown."

"All of the city's current bike lanes have gotten many more Detroiters riding. However many people still feel vulnerable using them," Scott explained. "Building protected bike lanes feel safer and will help us get even more people bicycling in Detroit. These protected bike lanes are a milestone for Detroit and Southeast Michigan. We need to make sure they're done well so they'll become a model for other local communities to emulate in the future."

The Free Press noted that this project will help boost economic development, which the city strongly needs.

Touring Michigan 
Whether you decide to wait for the new bike lanes or not, Detroit and the entire state of Michigan are excellent places to plan a touring trip. The Wolverine State is filled with urban, industrial, suburban and extremely rural areas to ride your bicycle. Whether you want to explore large abandoned structures or ride through the woods and see the sun set over Lake Michigan, the state has it all. Here are a few cycling ideas you may want to incorporate into your custom Michigan touring trip. 

An urban tour 
Detroit and the surrounding region has become a popular destination for European tourists looking to examine industrial structures of the past and present. However, there's much more to the area than old factories. Create a tour that explores some of the best historic factories in the region as well as some of the newest attractions that the city or Detroit has to offer. It isn't your typical touring trip, but it's a great option for amateur photographers and metropolitan enthusiasts. 

Explore Detroit on two wheels.
Explore Detroit on two wheels.

The Michigander 
The Michigander is a multi-day bicycle race. It's been listed among the best in the U.S. and comes in a variety of lengths, from 2-day to 8-day. Consider racing in this event or copying its route for a more relaxed touring trip. The race has been going on for 24 years and has quickly become a can't-miss tradition. 

Northern Lower Michigan 
Michigan is the only state made up of two peninsulas. The locals call these the upper and lower peninsulas. While the lower peninsula is home to many of the state's larger cities, including Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Flint, Detroit and Lansing, there's still plenty of nature to explore. The northern portion of the lower peninsula is significantly less populous than the southern half. Try one of the many on- and off-road trails in the northern part of the mitten to experience woodsy nature. 

Mountain bike touring  
If you really want to get in touch with Michigan nature, you may want to take your panniers off the beaten path. Michigan has a number of mountain biking paths that you can turn into one excellent tour. Look at trails on the Upper Peninsula and along the lakes for the best views. 

For more biking information in the Great Lakes State check out this helpful website

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About Stephane Marchiori

Owner of Cyclocamping.com
Bike touring since 2003, including:
a 5-Year Bicycle Journey Around The World!

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